RightPundits brings you the South Carolina primary results and exit polls, just as we will for every state in the nation. This is a live-blogging open thread, so bookmark and return for discussion of the South Carolina Republican primary and all others to come.
Democrat exit polls and results are here.
John McCain and Mike Huckabee enter this contest neck and neck. If McCain loses the South Carolina primary and also loses the Nevada caucus, he is finished as a Republican candidate. He is not favored in Nevada but he will be in most western states until something fundamentally changes in the Republican presidential contest. If McCain sweep South Carolina and Nevada, he will have all the momentum.
See the latest breaking polls.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has been making quiet noise lately. He has managed to finish 1st or 2nd in each contest, although his performance in his home state of Michigan was somewhat overwhelming. If he pulls an upset in either South Carolina, people will be talking about him on Monday, but he is running 3rd in South Carolina and really has no chance.
Fred Thompson really needs a win badly. Like the Alamo, he is rallying his troops in South Carolina for a last stand. If he manages to win then his future becomes mildly interesting. However, if he loses as expected he is finished as a candidate. Try harder next time.
It is hard to know what to say about Mike Huckabee in South Carolina, except that the old political saw applies. When your name is “outsider,” you will do well in the polls. When you have a real name, like Mike Huckabee has a name, what you say begins to matter as much as the baggage you carry. And Mike Huckabee has said a lot of stupid things lately and carries a lot of baggage. He has a name and face now, and the voters are underwhelmingly in support. He is even money to win in South Carolina, which would get a lot of new attention. But beyond “I have a bible, so let’s spend your money” he will need to find a message that resonates with a disgruntled Republican base outside the deep south.
And where is Rudi Giuliani? In Florida for some reason, clinging to a big state strategy when he was once the odds-on favorite for the nomination. The problem is that enough little states are happening before the big states that Florida won’t really matter that much for him. He is done.
Ron Paul? Okay stop it already.
Exit polls will be below as soon as available, as will the winners and losers. Stay tuned for the primary results below!
McCain and Huckabee in a tough race. McCain leads 35-30% with 14% counted. Thompson has 15% and Romney running 4th with 14%. Paul ahead of Giuliani for last. McCain’s lead is consistent with the exit polls which showed him just ahead 32%-28%.
McCain had a slight lead in the exit polls. Approximate:
These results mirror the early returns. Looks like McCain wins by a half-length. Paul supporters got themselves over-polled again.
McCain is extending his lead a couple of points, enough to call McCain the winner of the South Carolina primary with 25% counted. Huckabee gave it a good run. McCain wins.
Full exit polls are here.