Diary

Calm Down: Rubio Will Survive NH Detour

Let’s dispel with this fiction that it’s too late for another Republican besides Donald Trump or Ted Cruz to be the nominee, due to the crowding of the so called “establishment” lane, the most overused word in the political world.  That other candidate will be Marco Rubio.

Two South Carolina projections, one an internal poll, and another a projection by Nate Silver, would have the effect of winnowing the field to a 3-man race, between Trump, Rubio, and Cruz:

Silver’s prediction:

DT 33, MR 23, TC 19, JB 12, BC 6, JK5

http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-2016/primary-forecast/south-carolina-republican/

The internal Poll:

DT: 32, TC 26, MR 20, JB 10, BC 7, JK 2

South Carolina Republican Presidential Poll: Trump 32, Cruz 26, Rubio 20, Bush 10

Either one of these projections would force Jeb! and Kasich out of the race, and I believe these forecasts will come to fruition because Rubio has the backing of Senator Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy, two of the most popular conservative Republicans in the state.

After Nevada, which all of the top-3 candidates should run strong in (I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump finished third there, his base of support is an arc that travels through the deep south, up through appalachia, and through the northeast/yankeedom), it will be on to Super Tuesday on March 1st:

Look for this breakdown:

Alabama (Trump or Cruz)

Alaska Caucus (Cruz or Rubio)

Arkansas (Cruz or Trump)

Colorado (Rubio)

Georgia (Probably Cruz but all 3 Competitive)

Massachusetts (Trump)

Minnesota (Rubio)

Oklahoma (Cruz or Rubio, despite current polls Rubio has Inhoffe’s endorsement and Cruz has regional/evangelical stregnth)

Tennessee (Trump)

Texas (Cruz)

Vermont (Trump)

 Virginia (Rubio)
At this stage all three candidates will have amassed a lot of delegates because these states are proportional; the order will PROBABLY be Cruz-Trump-Rubio because of the size of Texas.  BUT, Cruz will have basically played his last “home games,” and the remaining contests will play out among Rubio (and lesser so) Trump territory.
Since the “Trump/Cruz” vote does not generally exceed 50% outside the deep south (it has been 49% so far), Rubio will be the favorite down the stretch.  I believe he’ll win Romney and Kasich’s endorsements and win in the winner-take-all states, Florida and Ohio, on March 15, and go on to win the nomination without a contested convention.  If Florida and Ohio split then we are likely to have a contested convention.