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Blogs / CAMPAIGN 2012

How To Spend Your Saturday Night

January 20, 2012

If you're like us, you'll spend Saturday evening clicking refresh to get the latest results out of South Carolina. Here are the key areas to watch as the numbers roll in:

-- The Upstate: The northwest corner of the state, sandwiched between Georgia and North Carolina, is the buckle of the Bible Belt, the center of the state's socially conservative, evangelical Christian electorate. Mike Huckabee won most Upstate counties in 2008, but not by huge margins. Together, Greenville and Spartanburg Counties will contribute more than 20 percent of the primary vote. Huckabee beat John McCain by about 3 percent in Greenville County, 29 percent to 26 percent, while Fred Thompson took another 21 percent. Huckabee took 34 percent in Spartanburg County to McCain's 27 percent and Thompson's 20 percent.

Look for both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to play well in the Upstate. The question is, how evenly do they split those votes? If they split more evenly than Huckabee and Thompson did in 2008, that only helps Mitt Romney, whose coalition more closely resembles McCain's. Anderson County and York County will contribute about 20,000 votes each to the statewide total; Huckabee and Thompson combined took 54 percent and 59 percent in those two counties four years ago.

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