The Republican presidential race moves from South Carolina to a pit stop Tuesday night in Nevada—also known as the land of the political unknown.
Donald Trump is once again the favorite in the Silver State caucuses. After two consecutive double-digit victories, how could he not be? But because of its caucus process and its relatively recent entry into the early voting rotation, Nevada is a graveyard for polling. Only two surveys on the Republican race have been publicly released in the last month, according to RealClearPolitics, and while Trump has led them both comfortably, a victory for the front-runner is far less assured than it was in New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Marco Rubio has undeniably captured some momentum in the days since his second-place finish in South Carolina. He has won a slew of endorsements following the withdrawal of Jeb Bush from the race—from national Republican figures like Bob Dole and Tim Pawlenty, from a number of current U.S. senators, and, perhaps most importantly for Tuesday night, from Nevada Senator Dean Heller and two of the state’s congressmen. Rubio now has the support of the state’s entire Republican congressional delegation. And the Florida senator already had the deepest Nevada roots of any of the GOP contenders: His family lived in Las Vegas for six years when Rubio was a child, and they briefly joined the Mormon church. (One quarter of Republican caucusgoers in Nevada in 2012 were Mormon, according to entrance polls.)