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Those New South Carolina Numbers

My eyes are beginning to glaze over at the sight of polls, but some new numbers out in South Carolina are worth mentioning. I am generally skeptical of SurveyUSA's data, but Mike Huckabee's lead in their new poll can't go unmentioned. He leads Romney by 17 points, 36% to 19%. Giuliani is all the way down at fifth place with 9%. Perhaps even more embarrassingly, Fred Thompson is in 4th place with 11%. He's done.

On the Democratic side, Obama is up 20 (Rasmussen has him ahead by 12). Assuming Hillary Clinton loses substantially tomorrow, it will be interesting to see whether she even decides to campaign there. Joe Scarborough (who, I should add, has somehow become one of the smartest and most engaging analysts on cable television) was arguing that Clinton should completely give up on the state and not make Rudy Giuliani's mistake of investing only partially in tough places. This makes some sense, although a ubiquitous Democratic operative (whose name eludes me) pointed out that this could enrage prominent African Americans in the party. 

Regardles, the state means nothing but trouble for Clinton, who would undoubtedly like to go between now and February 5th without more voting. Each state's primaries or caucuses give Obama huge media attention, fundraising boosts, and momentum. She'll have eleven days between now and Nevada's January 19th caucuses; it's probably her only window in which to turn this thing around.

--Isaac Chotiner