Despite bad weather in the interior sections of the state which contained some of the most favorable territory for Gingrich, the Georgia Republican overcame a massive, well financed, campaign effort for Mitt Romney that was led by South Carolina’s own Governor, Nikki Haley and upset the perceived frontrunner for the nomination and has gone a long way in establishing himself as the long sought after, undisputed conservative to Mitt Romney.
Early exit polls indicate that Gingrich did surprises well among most all demographics, including women, an important and significant voting bloc which many felt would be problematic for Newt because of two divorces and a history of marital indefinite. This problem was compounded by a recent ABC Nightline News interview with Gingrich’s second wife Marianne Gingrich
One factor that cannot be ignored here is that these results were influenced not just by Republicans. South Carolina has an open primary, which means that Independents can vote in the Republican nomination contest. By all rights, such open primaries benefit Ron Paul’s more than any of the others. Those Independent voters were largely responsible for the numbers that helped Ron Paul a third place finish in Iowa and a second place showing in New Hampshire.
Clearly, they did not boost Ron Paul’s fortunes in South Carolina but if they went to Newt and helped form his winning coalition in the palmetto State, it could be a sign that Newt may be a much better general election candidate than some have suggested to this point.
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