Check out this Times article
on South Carolina as the pivotal state in the GOP nomination process. It seems more than likely
that Mitt Romney will win Iowa and New Hampshire. Nothing is for certain; but his leads there are substantial and consistent. But South Carolina is where the white evangelicals -- en masse -- come into play. If Rudy can't win there, the importance of his strong plurality showings on the national level probably fade quickly, both as an indicator and as a reality, since Romney will likely pick up the support of others who throw in the towel. If Rudy can win there it probably means the lifers will trade their principles on abortion for beefed up aggression abroad.
Of course, none of these developments may mean any such thing. But that's my read as of now.
paints it as a four-way contest with McCain and Thompson. I'd discount those two -- McCain as a collapsed candidacy, Thompson's as a joke waiting for its punch line.
And for those of you interested in such things, here are the latest Intrade prediction markets
charts for Rudy (at 42.1) and Romney (25.8) ...
That's the race.