Posted: 7:09 am Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
From Gilbert, South Carolina
When you poke around a crowd at a campaign event, you run into people who have made up their mind along with a number of others who are undecided, all of them – along with reporters – trying to make some sense of the political events unfolding before them in real time.
“I wanted to be a little bit more informed,” said Darrell Briggs of Gilbert of why he came to see Marco Rubio.
“I’m undecided,” Briggs said with a smile on his face.
Asked what intrigued him about Rubio, Briggs said he felt the Florida Senator “seems more logical than the rest.”
A row back and a few seats down, Taylor Craig was already on board with Rubio.
“He isn’t a candidate that is going to get on stage and target the other candidates,” Craig told me, referring to the bitter battle between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in South Carolina.
@jamiedupree so nice to talk with you at the Rubio event in Lexington, SC tonight. Looking forward to hearing your coverage!
— Taylor Craig (@taymcraig) February 16, 2016
“I never looked at Trump,” Craig said when asked about the rest of the GOP field. “And Cruz didn’t stick out to me.”
Cruz had also not impressed Briggs, the undecided voter.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Briggs said, explaining that he’ll likely wait to make his decision, “until the very last minute.”
How those type of undecided voters break has been an important part of the results in both Iowa and New Hampshire – so what are we seeing in the polls?
The last six polls in South Carolina – all done in the last week – have shown Donald Trump with a lead between 14 and 22 points; Trump has almost a 19 point lead on Ted Cruz, and over 20 on Marco Rubio in the Real Clear Politics poll average.
The polls show a slight drop for Donald Trump, a drop as well for Cruz, with a bubbling up for Rubio and John Kasich, though Kasich still trails Cruz and Rubio.
“I need your vote,” Rubio said to swelling applause on Monday night, a day in which he saw several big audiences; this one was around 900 people, 30 minutes to the west of Columbia.
We have seen Rubio gather momentum two times now – once in Iowa, and again in New Hampshire – before his bad debate in the Granite State.
Rubio has also tried to stay out of the increasingly acidic fight between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, which has featured daily accusations that the other is a liar and worse.
We’ll see who that helps this week in the Palmetto State, as we search for answers before Saturday’s GOP primary.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.