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South Carolina

South Carolina, unlike New Hampshire, does not have independent stalwarts shifting the balance of power to the center. With 25% identifying as “Independent or something else” and a strong 71% identifying as “Republican,” moderates did not stand a chance to win the state. A 68% “conservative” ideology versus 32% “moderate/liberal” would have normally pushed favor towards Speaker Gingrich without the independent vote being considered. An unusually strong showing for Gingrich among independents (he won 32% of the independent vote, the highest in the field) pushed the win even further in his column. Romney took home 25% of independents while Paul once again saw the strongest turnout among as a percentage of political identification among supporters from those who identified as independents with 23% of all independents. While Romney still makes made a strong showing among independents, South Carolina showed that he would need to make a showing among conservative Republicans if he would like to win the nomination.

CBS News Exit Poll

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