Nate Silver’s forecasts give Newt an 82% chance of winning in South Carolina, with an 8 point margin over Romney.
Much of the reason for the relatively clear lead for Mr. Gingrich is that he has very clear momentum in the race. In a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, for instance, Mr. Gingrich led Mr. Romney by 4 percentage points in interviews conducted on Wednesday night, based on a detailed break-out of nightly results provided to FiveThirtyEight by Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling. But Mr. Gingrich’s lead expanded to 6 points in interviews conducted on Thursday. And Mr. Gingrich led by 14 points in about 700 interviews conducted on Friday night, which postdated the Thursday night debate in North Charleston, and the interview given to ABC News by one of Mr. Gingrich’s ex-wives.
In primaries, especially in the early-voting states, momentum is a strong predictor of the results, and it is usually correct to give considerable weight to the most recent data.
In other words, there’s a good chance that Newt could crush Romney in South Carolina. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see Newt win most of the Southern primaries. No one else in the field can bitch slap reporters like the former Speaker, and he has no peer in race baiting. Plus, he’s not a Mormon.