Today is the South Carolina primary, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is looking to defeat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the top spot.
The latest polls show Gingrich surging ahead, but the contest is still up for the taking. Historically, the GOP candidate who has won S.C. has gone on to become the GOP nominee.
Throughout the day, PolicyMic pundits will be submitting live updates for the latest developments in the Palmetto State.
7:50 p.m. Jake Horowitz – With all the polls closed, CNN projects Newt Gingrich will win the South Carolina GOP primary. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are in a battle for second.
7:35 p.m. Jake Horowitz – CNN exit polls show Gingrich with 37% (341 votes) and Romney with 36% (339 votes). It's a dead-tie, with less than 5% of districts reporting.
6:44 p.m. Jake Horowitz – Exit polls show that a majority of voters in the first-in-the-South contest said they decided on a candidate in the last few days. In 2008, just 34 percent of voters said they made up their mind in the final three days.
Almost half of voters said the most important trait they sought in a candidate was ability to beat the President Barack Obama in November. Fewer said they prioritized a candidate's experience, conservative credentials or moral character.
6:11 p.m. Jordan Wolf -- Exit polls show that 2/3 of Republican primary voters took the debates into consideration when making their decision, a number that will likely help Newt Gingrich, who scored points by asking Mitt Romney to disclose his tax returns.
2:08 p.m. Jake Horowitz – After a quick stop at Grapevine Restaurant in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich tells supporters, “The only way to go stop a Massachusetts moderate is to vote for Newt Gingrich. With your help, we’ll have a tremendous, tremendous victory today.”
“Polls are good, votes are better,” he said.
11:50 a.m. Dwayne Greene – "I've talked to a few people. At the polls, it's a mix long of lines in some places, and really dry at others. I think the rain has something to do with it. The consensus is Newt Gingrich will win, but if turnout continues how it is now, then Romney will win."
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