First, South Carolina — then the nation?
Donald Trump seems to think so.
The New York businessman and Republican front-runner is poised to win the South Carolina primary on Saturday, and he says a big victory in the Palmetto State will open the road for him to take the GOP presidential nomination. “If we win in South Carolina, we feel we could run the table,” Trump told a crowd of cheering supporters in Walterboro, a line he has repeated throughout the state this week.
Some political analysts are skeptical, as are Trump’s Republican primary rivals: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson. All are chasing Trump across South Carolina and the country, each hoping for an eventual one-on-one showdown with the front-runner, starting with a surprise showing in South Carolina.
While Trump leads Palmetto State polls and most national surveys by wide margins, opponents point to evidence that his support could be softening. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out Wednesday gave Cruz a slight lead over Trump among Republicans nationally, 28% to 26%. Rubio was third at 17%, followed by Kasich (11%), Carson (10%) and Bush (4%).