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January 19, 2008

South Carolina Live Blog

I just returned home, a few minutes before the polls close in South Carolina, and I'll be posting my thoughts on the primary results today in real time. Entries will be posted in reverse chronological order, and I'm following both CNN and Fox for results.

8:33 - So McCain wins another one, and Huckabee loses a Southern state. This is a bit of a surprise, and not a good one for Huckabee. Thompson will probably stick around through February 5th, but 15% here isn't the kind of momentum he needed to make the sale for the upcoming primaries. Florida will wind up being a three-man race between Romney,.McCain, and Giuliani.

8:21 - Horry County gave George Bush 50,700 votes in 2004. My guess was pretty good.

8:18 - Fox and AP finally call it for McCain. 82% of the precincts in, and McCain leads by 3%.

8:15 - Horry County population stats: 238,493 people, 79% adults, 74% native US citizens. That's about 170,000 potential voters, and using national stats, maybe 52,000 Republicans. In order to make up that kind of difference, Huckabee would have to win at least half of them all. It seems a rather tall order.

8:12 - With 79% reporting, will Horry County really make that big of a difference? McCain has a 13,000 vote lead over Huckabee. It can't be that big.

8:02 - Why aren't the broadcasters calling the race? Horry County hasn't reported yet, and it's significant for voting.

7:58 - With 65% in, McCain back up by five.

7:51 - It suddenly got tighter with 58% reporting -- McCain only leads by three.

7:41 - 49% of the precincts in, and McCain still leads by five point, but no one's willing to call it yet.

7:32 - More on Fred; Thompson may be preparing to exit, according to Fox. He did sound as though he was considering an end to the campaign.

7:27 - Fox News is reporting that the early precincts are not as indicative of the race as we might think. Neither Fox nor CNN will call it for McCain yet. He's still got a six-point lead with 32% of the vote in the books.

7:20 - I'm on with Rick and Sister Toldjah on the BTR show now (link down in the post).

7:12 - With 21% in, it looks pretty consistently to be McCain's night. He's up by eight again, 36%-28%, and Thompson's in third at 15%. That may be the only real suspense left in the race.

7:03 - The race is tightening with 12% reporting. McCain leads 34%-30%, and Fred just slipped ahead of Mitt Romney, 15%-14%.

6:56 - "We will always be bound by a special bond ...." Sounds like a valediction. Hmmm.

6:55 - Fred's speaking as the reports now have begun to pick up. With 5% reporting, McCain has a 36%-28% lead over Huckabee; Fred's still in fourth at 13% and doesn't appear to be budging.

6:49 - OK, 2% reporting now, and McCain has a ten-point lead over Huckabee, 37%-27%. Fred's back at 12%. Not a good moment for Fredheads.

6:47 - That Hertz commercial with Kevin Farley, the late Chris Farley's brother, are a little ... disturbing. Jim Belushi has his own style, but Kevin looks to be doing an impersonation of his brother.

6:41 - Still less than 1% of the precincts reporting.

6:35 - Poll results are very slow to come in from South Carolina. More tidbits from CNN's exit poll -- McCain won strong pluralities in the 45-older age groups, Huckabee won more slender pluralities in the younger groups. This also favors McCain, because those voters account for two-thirds of everyone who went to the polls.

6:24 - First few votes coming in favor McCain, but way too few to make a judgment.

6:22 - Here's the opportunity for another Democratic meltdown: Obama may get more delegates from Nevada than Hillary Clinton, even though she won the overall caucus vote. Calling Al Gore! Calling Lawrence Tribe! Let's sue ... ourselves?

6:16 - Interesting breakdown on ideology in the CNN exit poll. 69% identify as conservatives, and Mike Huckabee wins 32% of those votes. McCain gets 26%, Romney 19%, and Fred Thompson only 17%. That does not bode well for Fred. McCain wins strong pluralities among moderates and liberals, which account for 31% of the vote. Interestingly, Fred got 17% of the liberal vote, but only 8% of the moderates.

6:13 - I'm looking at the exit polling at CNN, and I'm guessing McCain won this one. No results so far, but the breakdowns throughout the poll shows mostly advantages for McCain. We'll see soon enough.

6:08 - Romney's giving a victory speech regarding Nevada, where he won an outright majority of the caucus votes. He's telling a cute story about how he met his wife -- when she was out on a date with someone else.

6:02 - Polls are now closing in South Carolina. CNN's exit polling shows 71% of all primary voters were 45 years of age or older, similar to Nevada Democrats today. Who does that help?

5:58 - Power Line posts the exit polling results from Fox, which shows a virtual tie between McCain and Huckabee and a distant finish for Fred Thompson. If so, Fred may have some problems convincing people to stick with him for much longer.

5:56 - Ron Paul won second place in Nevada, just beating John McCain by a handful of votes. That will keep the Ronulans going for another couple of weeks.

5:54 - Rick Moran will have a special edition of his BlogTalkRadio show tonight at 7 pm CT, with Sister Toldjah as his co-host.

5:51 PM CT - I hear Duncan Hunter dropped out. Too bad, although not unexpected. It's almost impossible to win a nomination from the House, but Hunter had a lot more going for him than other House contenders.


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