GOP Primary Update: South Carolina
I am still waiting to see some polling out of South Carolina that was conducted after the debate, but here's where we stand as far as I can tell.
Trump was rising after his New Hampshire win. He will likely win South Carolina unless his debate performance hurts him substantially.
Carson's top advisor Chicken Little has informed him "our numbers are falling" as Carson's polls take a massive dive. Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Bush, and Kasich all benefit from the implosion of Carson's campaign. It's only a matter of time.
Cruz will survive South Carolina with 2nd or 3rd. To win momentum he would need a close 2nd or a win. That would help confirm his narrative on being the only viable alternative to defeat Trump.
Rubio really needs to get 3rd just to stay in the race and 2nd to win back some momentum. 2nd would mean he outperformed expectations and beat Cruz in a southern state which would help prove Rubio can win. He's being dramatically weighed down by Bush and Kasich. He would become a much stronger contender if he can get one or both out of the race after South Carolina. Rubio would then need to immediately pivot to attacking Trump. Time is running out to accomplish this task.
Bush has done an excellent job thus far if he were running as a Democrat whose only mission was to take out Rubio. I like Jeb and W. has hit the campaign trail with higher favorables then any candidate in the race. I still don't think it will be enough. Jeb messed up his relationship with Rubio and probably won't endorse him. His voters will go to Kasich and Rubio when he drops out.
Kasich will not come in first anywhere else, and probably won't come in second anywhere either. He would be lucky to swing 3rd in any of the upcoming states. New Hampshire was a fluke and only served to make Kasich more insufferable then he already is. His voters will go to Bush and Rubio. Mailman everywhere salute John Kasich.
I have intentionally ignored the effects of Justice Scalia's passing. Until he is laid to rest and a respectful amount of time has passed I won't comment on the political ramifications. I encourage others to do the same.