A decisive victory by the charismatic Illinois senator would not come as a complete surprise. Obama, along with fellow candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Edwards, spent a great deal of time and money trying to sway South Carolina voters over the past few months. Droves of supporters filled Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia in early December to hear Obama deliver a message filled with promises of change, hope and unity. Of course, it didn't hurt that media mogul Oprah Winfrey joined him on stage.
As of Monday, polls showed Obama and Clinton in a dead heat among South Carolina voters. Edwards was a not to distant third. With Obama's strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, those numbers could change in the coming weeks.
The former First Lady expected a close race in Iowa, but not a third place finish. She was able to rally the troops and claim slim victory over Obama in New Hampshire.
Edwards' campaign is in dire strait after a pair of third place showings. A strong showing in South Carolina will not be enough. He needs a victory to validate his candidacy. Anything less would effectively place a void stamp on the political aspirations of the South Carolina.
It seems that all three candidates knew months ago that the decision of South Carolina voters would prove pivotal. All the stumping in the The Palmetto State will prove worthwhile for one candidate.
Will it be Obama? Clinton? Edwards? It's your choice. On Jan. 26, the voice of South Carolina voters will be heard and the rest of the nation will be listening.
Heading into the state's Jan. 19 GOP primary, Mike Huckabee holds a sizeable lead in the polls over second place Mitt Romney. Sen. John McCain, Tuesday's winner in New Hampshire, Sen. Fred Thompson and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani find themselves trailing Huckabee by considerable margins.
For the most part, don't expect the primary results to be any different.
Not surprisingly, Huckbee appears to have strong hold on the state's Christian conservatives. McCain's strong showing New Hampshire may catapult him to second behind Huckabee. South Carolinians Republicans seems to approve of the former Arkansas governor's ultra-conservative views. After Jan. 19, it may very well be a two-man race for the GOP nomination.
Romney has not seen the millions he has spent on media advertising translate into success at the polls. Thompson, who entered the race late in hopes of creating a firestorm of attention, has not fared well. For all his success in inspiring New Yorkers after 9/11, Giuliani simply has not been able to capture the nation's attention.
It's seems the liberal media is paying much more attention to the Democratic race. This may be due to the fact that no GOP candidate has separated himself from the field.
South Carolina may offer Huckabee that opportunity.