South Carolina Huck-pectations

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A couple hours before Republicans debate here in Myrtle Beach, Mike Huckabee got up on the back of a red pickup truck (take that Fred Thompson) and set the bar high for his campaign here. “We’ve got to win South Carolina,” he said, before about a hundred supporters, many of them dressed in white Fair Tax sweatshirts. “And you are going to help me do it.”

There is not a political observer who would disagree. Huckabee has to win, and today’s poll shows a clear bump for John McCain here that should be cause for concern. In recent weeks, Huckabee has led by double digits in some polls. The Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll out today has McCain with a seven-point lead over Huckabee–25 to 17 percent. It captures a moment in time, one day after McCain’s victory in New Hampshire, but it confirms that South Carolina is sure to be contested until the end.

“If you are a praying person pray hard for tonight,” Huckabee continued from the back of the truck, referring to the coming debate. “And if you are not a praying person, now would be a good time to start.”