Well the third state contest is in the books and history has been made.  We have never had a different winner for each of the first three contests.  Typically South Carolina picks between the Iowa or the New Hampshire winners so now that model has been broken.

Here’s the state map below:

South Carolina Primary Map
Red = Gingrich, Yellow = Romney

This was an absolute blowout for Newt Gingrich.  Here are the final results below with 100% of the precincts reporting in:

  1. Newt Gingrich – 40.4% (243,153)
  2. Mitt Romney – 27.8% (167,279)
  3. Rick Santorum – 17.0% (102,055)
  4. Ron Paul – 13% (77,993)
  5. Herman Cain – 1.1% (6,324)
  6. Rick Perry – 0.4% (2,494)
  7. Jon Huntsman – 0.2% (1,161)
  8. Michele Bachmann – 0.1% (494)

It always amazes me how people vote for candidates that have dropped out.  Do you not pay attention or are you in denial?

I’m not surprised that Gingrich won, but I am surprised by the margin.  Looking at the map above I’m also surprised by how it looks.  I expected a lot of red upstate, but more yellow in the Low Country – not the case.  Romney performed well in the population centers of Columbia and Charleston, but didn’t do well any where else.  Gingrich appealed to rural voters, Romney didn’t – similar to how he performed in Iowa.  In fact in a number of upstate counties Romney was third with three counties coming in behind Santorum, and one county coming in behind Paul.

What happened to Romney?  Early in the week last week he was leading every poll by anywhere from 10-14 points.

Two debates happened, and Romney was savaged in both.  CBS exit polling showed that 2/3 of those polled said the debates mattered.  Gingrich had phenomenal debate performances with two standing ovations.  Romney’s weaknesses were highlighted.  Santorum had excellent debates as well, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to overcome Gingrich’s momentum.

Two weeks of Romney being declared the winner of Iowa and New Hampshire also took away some momentum that Santorum could have had.  Santorum because of his performance in Iowa was sucked into New Hampshire, and now Monday morning quarterbacking it probably should have gone straight to South Carolina.

Santorum had no money to overcome the negative advertising and robocalls being made against him by the Romney and Paul campaigns and SuperPACs.  Again, if he were declared the winner of the Iowa Caucus fundraising may have gone even better, though he did see a bump.  The endorsements he received came too late and they weren’t accompanied with money and volunteers.  So though he had a list of impressive endorsements they were rendered meaningless.

AP also had some interesting exit polling.  A majority of voters were late deciders and they favored Gingrich by 22%.  He also led among evangelicals and self-described born-again Christians.  So they were able to overlook his marital history.  45% of voters said electability was an important factor and they favored Gingrich.  This is a change from Iowa and New Hampshire.  Among the third that had a negative opinion of Romney’s time as a venture capitalist, he only won 3% of the vote.  Voters concerned about the economy also tilted toward Gingrich.

Gingrich also led among Tea Party voters according to a CBS exit poll.  ABC-Washington Post exit polling shows Gingrich winning both men and women, winning every age group except the 18-29 year-old voting block.  Ron Paul won that by 3%.  A little over two-thirds of voters identified themselves as very conservative (Romney finished third behind Santorum) and somewhat conservative – Gingrich won both groups with 48% and 41% respectively.  Romney won the moderate/liberal vote 34% to 31%.   Just an interesting note that Santorum finished third among evangelicals and Catholics two bases that he really needed to turn out for him.

What happens for here.  Right now with the latest polling Romney has a strong lead in Florida.  Gingrich will likely see a boost there.  Santorum has said he will go onto to Florida, but unlike Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina you can’t retail politic there as well.  It’s a big state… Santorum will need a lot of money to compete well there since there are 10 media markets in Florida.  Ron Paul is skipping Florida (he’s only polling with an RCP average of 9%) to look for delegates elsewhere.  Santorum may want to consider doing likewise, or at least invest as little as possible.

Whatever happens, South Carolina has shaken things up.

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3 comments
  1. Dear Evangelical Leaders,

    With all due respect, I am a pastors kid, my dad and grandpa were conservative evangelical pastors How much mileage did Michelle Bachmann get from the cluster of Pastors that endorsed her in Iowa?How much mileage did the Pastors get from endorsing Santorum in South Carolina?
    Santorum 17%
    Ron Paul 13%

    Pastors/Leaders, please read “The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin by Stephen Mansfield and David 
    Holland!!!!.”   
    Vid 4 book.

  2. Just an interesting note that Santorum finished third among evangelicals and Catholics two bases that he really needed to turn out for him.

    Just as we saw in NH, I think many of these can be considered “evangelicals lite” and “Catholics lite.”  🙂   It’s a bit amusing to me how SC is always deemed to be so conservative.  Funny how the data don’t actually seem to support that hypothesis.From the SC exit polls:

    1) Among four categories for most important quality in a candidate:     

    a) strong moral character  
    b) true conservative  
    c) can defeat Obama  
    d) right experience

    How many chose a)?  Only 18%.  However, of those 18%, 42% voted for Santorum.2) Among four categories for most important issue:      a) budget deficit   b) economy   c) abortion   d) illegal immigrationHow many chose c)?  Only 8%.  However, of those 8%, 51% voted for Santorum.It’s interesting that Santorum could only manage 17% in a state supposedly filled with values voters. I would agree that they are “values” voters, but I would disagree that their values have much to do with social conservatism.  😉  A large percentage of these folks may attend church multiple times a week, but isn’t their “religion” a bit worthless if it can’t translate into intelligent voting at the polls?  I do commend the 17%, however, for their responsible voting.  If a large portion of the voters in SC truly cared about issues important to social conservatism, it seems Santorum would’ve cleaned house.        A few odds ‘n’ ends:1) Two excellent articles from the last couple days worth checking out:          a) “America Hates Newt Gingrich” by Conn Carroll    b) “The Theater of Newt” at NROIt seems that Newt’s unfavorability rating is extremely high.  I’m honestly not sure he could win the general election.2) Interesting tweet from Erick Erickson:EWErickson: Evangelical Leader tells me they’ll go all in for Santorum now to stop Newt b/c with Newt as nominee, limited “family values” talk.  3) Some disturbing commentary from Yahoo! News:Newt Gingrich has fired back at his ex-wife Marianne Gingrich after her allegations of open marriages and cheating, according to Christian Science Monitor. Anyone who supports gay marriage should consider voting for Gingrich as he is the candidate who would give the best chance of battling two of the popular arguments against gay marriage. How can people argue that the LGBT community could damage the values and sanctity of marriage when they vote for a straight man who has done it on his own?Many people are saying that electing Newt would be the death knell for “family values” (even more so than electing Romney), and I’m starting to agree.  Newt has so many problems that, in spite of Romney’s huge negatives, I’m starting to think that, at least in the long haul, we might be better off with Romney.  I know that may sound crazy, but it shows how serious Newt’s problems are.  Why should anyone ever take the “family values” arguments seriously again if Newt becomes our standard bearer.  The good thing is that this election is still wide open.  I predict that Newt’s momentum will fade–not suddenly, but gradually, as folks try to coalesce under the “Not-Newt.”  (I’ve heard that the GOP establishment will probably try to go all out now to defeat him.)  And all the potshots between Gingrich and Romney may actually end up helping Santorum, who at this point is kind of under the radar.  I have no idea who’s going to be the nominee, but I’m not ruling anything out.  We’ve only finished the third inning of the baseball game, and Santorum is still very much alive.           Incidentally, apparently Santorum has decided that he needs a theme song to help give his campaign some electricity.  So, what did he and his team come up with after some serious deliberation?  “Treat Me Right” by Pat Benatar  😉

  3. [Hi Shane. The following, seen on the web, may explain what’s behind the scenes.]

             Mormonism’s DIRTY Little Secret

                       by Aaronita Smith

         
    Non-Mormon scholars as well as Mormon ones are aware of a hard-core
    pornographic drawing in the “Book of Abraham” which is Mormon-approved
    scripture.
         This Book is part of the “Pearl of Great Price”
    which, along with the “Book of Mormon” and the “Doctrine and Covenants,”
    make up the LDS church’s “triple combination” in one volume.
        
    The porn is found in Fig. 7 of Facsimile 2 in the “Book of Abraham”
    which shows two beings facing each other, which were described by Joseph
    Smith as representing the “Holy Ghost” and “God sitting upon his
    throne,” the latter clearly showing an aroused male sex organ.
        
    After Smith published this sketch in his newspaper in 1842, which
    offended Mormon sensibilities, the phallic portion was whited out for
    more than a century until the “restored” LDS church decided in 1981 to
    restore what had long been censored!
         Equally shocking was the
    discovery that the “Book of Abraham” had nothing to do with Abraham or
    his God but was actually based on ancient Egyptian funeral documents
    depicting occultic obscene practices – and the original sketches showed
    an erotic phallus on both beings including the one Smith blasphemously
    claimed was the Holy Ghost!
         For further information see “Book
    of Abraham” (Wikipedia). Also see Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s “Mormonism –
    Shadow or Reality?” which on 76 pages reproduces the original Egyptian
    X-rated drawings and shows how Smith altered them and created one of his
    many frauds. Highlights in the classic Tanner work can be seen by
    typing “Facts From Mormons (By a Utah Resident)” and “What LDS Leaders
    Say” on Yahoo.

    (Mitt Romney did NOT approve of this message!)

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