Well, not to be outdone by other states, South Carolina has moved its primary, from February 2 to January 19. This is going to prompt a move by New Hampshire – which is required by law – likely to January 8. Iowa is also going to have to move, probably to the seventh, or even earlier – possibly into December. That means our new primary schedule is going to look like this:
Before 1/8 – Iowa
January 8 – New Hampshire
January 19 – Nevada, South Carolina
January 22- Wyoming
January 29 – Michigan, Florida
February 1-3 – Maine
Who is helped and hurt by the change is up for debate. The big loser is probably McCain, who is going to foucs on only the early states. The tight schedule gives him less time to campaign in NH and SC. Another loser could be Thompson, who’s best hope in the early states is SC. Until today, that primary was later, much closer to Super Tuesday. Now, rather than getting the last headines before Super Tuesday, what could be his only early win will come right in the middle, meaning he will not be as fresh in people’s minds.
The big winner could be Romney. While Romney is doing well in almost every early state, his two problem states were South Carolina and Florida. Both these states were at the end of the early primary, which could have given the appearance that Romeny was loosing momentum going into Super Tuesday. Now, with Florida sharing with Michigan (where Romney is doing well), and South Carolina falling early, Romney will no longer look weak going into the big day. As for Maine, Rudy is in the lead, but Romney is not doing badly, polling similar to his national numbers.
I’ll let you know if we see any other changes. Florida may now try to move up, which could trigger a move by Michigan or Nevada.