Is McCain becoming unstoppable?
With the next big battle in the GOP race taking place in the Michigan primary tomorrow new national polls have reported leads of 8% and 15% for John McCain – the 71 year old who in the run up to Christmas looked as though he was finished. He’s now the 1.38/1 favourite to take the prize.
Tomorrow all eyes will be focussed on Michigan which is really the last big chance for Mitt Romney to make an impact. His family are from the state and, indeed, his father was Governor. Two polls yesterday put him ahead with leads of 5% and 8%. Another survey had McCain in the lead by just one point.
There is a Democratic primary taking place tomorrow but it is not being rated as being very important. The state is holding the election in defiance of the time-table that the party nationally has tried to impose with sanctions. At the moment the vote will have no impact on the overall national decision because those delegates that are elected will not be able to take part in the national convention.
Sanctions were also threatened against any contender who campaigned in the state with the result that Obama and Edwards are not on the ballot. Hillary is there alongside names who are no longer important. Voters can register a vote against Hillary by opting to be “undecided”.
After that we have the Nevada caucuses on Saturday but the really big battle that everybody is looking towards is South Carolina, also on Saturday, where more than half the voters are black. This will be a big test for both Huckabee and Thompson in the GOP contest – both of whom need to chalk up victories there to maintain a momentum.
The Democratic contest in the state, a week later, could be crucial for Obama and a furious fight is developing between him and Hillary. There been a big slanging match about suggestions that the Clinton camp sought to diminish both the memory of Martin Luther King and Obama himself.
All the US betting markets are here.