22 January 2012

Whither South Carolina?


Enough polling has come in over the last three days to indicate quite clearly that Newt Gingrich will likely win the SC primary.

But in a week as volatile as this last week was, a person would be foolish to make a 100% prediction in this race.

You can see some, but not all, of the end polling results here at RCP.

It is to be noted that since the SC primary came into existence in 1980, every Republican candidate who won in SC went on to win the nomination and since 1992, the same has held for the Democrats. More exact information about this is HERE in Wikipedia.

From the GREEN PAPERS, here the poll-times and the delegate distribution:

"As regards the South Carolina Republican Winner-Take-Most Presidential Primary:
  • Polling hours are 7:00a EST (1200 UTC) to 7:00p EST (0000 UTC).
  • 14 district delegates are allocated to presidential contenders based on the primary results in each of the state's 7 congressional districts: each congressional district is assigned 2 National Convention delegates and the presidential contender receiving the greatest number of votes in that district receives that district's National Convention delegates.
  • 11 at-large delegates are allocated to the presidential contender receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary statewide.
South Carolina has been sanctioned- losing approximately half of its original delegate allocation- for holding its Primary too early re: Party rules..."
More data:

SC has 2,804,321 registered voters. It has 46 counties and 2,126 precincts.

You can also follow the election returns for the GOP here at POLITICOTPM or  the South Carolina State Election CommissionAll three of these sites are excellent.

Politico is listing 6 counties to watch as the voting comes in.

Nate Silver has done an outstanding analysis of the Romney "benchmarks" from his race there in 2008.
Here the exact numeric results from the 2008 SC primary. In 2008, Romney came in 4th place with 15.30% of the vote, behind John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. So, it is likely that even if Romney loses in SC, he will improve upon his results from 2008.

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Facit: Many Republicans are unhappy that Newt Gingrich is about to win SC, for that can only mean one of two things:

a.) Romney will eventually win the nomination, but it will take longer and he will have a bloody nose afterward.

-or-

b.) SC loses it's historical place as the "make or break" primary in the GOP world.

Just one week ago, no one thought Gingrich was going to win SC; now it looks very much like he will.

Are the pundits just as wrong about Florida, coming up next week? Is the Anti-Romney wall bigger and stronger than people thought? I can't really imagine that GOP voters are as pro-Gingrich as they are simply anti-Romney.

My gut tells me that if Santorum pulls out of the race after this weekend, then all bets are off for Florida and this really could become a dogfight between Romney and Gingrich, with Paul collecting enough delegates in between to play "Kingmaker" at the convention.

Suddenly, the entire "Romney is going to sew-up the nomination" meme has disappeared. Even if Romney does win FL in one week, the thing is still not sewed-up, because FL also lost half of it's delegates.

And all you have to do is to surf the internet some to see who is HAPPY about a Gingrich win in SC, and who is not.

And it is interesting to note that even Rasmussen Polling has put out a write-up by Geoffrey Skilley comparing 2012 to the very contentious 1976 GOP nomination race.

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