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If McCain Wins Nomination, Give Huckabee and Rudy Some Credit (or Blame) ...

In a multi-candidate race, it's not surprising that around 60 percent of the voters last night cast their vote for someone other than John McCain

But the real question going forward is: 

How many Republicans merely voted for someone else last night, versus how many Republicans voted against John McCain last night ...

In other words, how many Republicans would never vote for John McCain no matter what?

In the long run, that is a very important question ... 

But in the short run, it is clear that McCain has benefitted greatly from the field.  If John McCain goes on to win the nomination, he very well may owe it to Mike Huckabee. 

After all, he deprived Mitt Romney of a win in Iowa, which set up McCain's win in New Hampshire.  Then in South Carolina, Huckabee took enough votes away from Romney to allow McCain to win the Palmetto state.  Going into Tsunami Tuesday, Mike Huckabee has a good shot at winning some of the southern states.  But even if he doesn't win, he will likely take a lot of votes away from Romney.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani's collapse -- even if he doesn't endorse McCain (which he is rumored to do) -- has benefitted McCain.  It is now likely McCain will win delegate-rich states like New York on Tuesday.

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