South Carolina GOP Race:

  1. Donald Trump has to win by at least 15 points, anything else is a failure and will raise questions about his viability going forward into Super Tuesday. If he wins all 50 delegates, he can start talking about inevitably winning the nomination. Trump doesn’t play by everyone else’s rules and he won’t be going away anytime soon, but the expectations are set.
  2. Ted Cruz must finish at least 2nd and with 20%+ of the vote. If he finishes behind Rubio, Kasich or Bush- what is his purpose in this campaign? He can get away with 2nd for now, but he will need to win several Super Tuesday states to remain viable. A win here would knock Trump down a few pegs and give Cruz momentum going forward.
  3. Marco Rubio can survive a 3rd place showing, but it has to be close to Cruz. A 3 or 4 man race at this point is all about winning delegates, not endorsements. If Rubio finishes behind Bush or Kasich, he will have a tough time going forward, even if he can win the Nevada caucuses, and those endorsements will start going elsewhere. If Rubio can finish 2nd or even win, it will provide a huge momentum swing going forward and mortally wound Cruz.
  4. Jeb Bush’s campaign is listing badly, and even with reset expectations, it’s hard to see where he goes from here. There’s little chance of him winning, but beating out Rubio and Kasich would give him enough boost to keep this going through Florida. If Bush finishes 4th or 5th behind those two “establishment” rivals, his continued presence in the race just boosts Cruz and Trump. It’s doubtful he’ll drop out since sinking Rubio seems to be his raison d’être at this point.
  5. John Kasich needs a strong 2nd or 3rd place showing or he will continued to be relegated to the sidelines as a New Hampshire Wonder who had no plan going forward. The calendar does not favor his campaign and he has already signaled his expectations by not choosing the appear in South Carolina on election day. A low single digit showing or finishing sixth behind Ben Carson would be devestating.
  6. Ben Carson has the resources to campaign as long as he wants. He will not be the GOP nominee this summer and his campaign appears to be more of a fundraising scheme than anything else, but as long as he pulls in5–10% of the vote,he hurts Ted Cruz. After Iowa, that might be reason enough.

Prediction: Trump 37%, Cruz 19%, Rubio 17%, Bush 11%, Kasich 10%, Carson 6% and Trump takes all 50 delegates.

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