CBS News ran a report on the exit polls, and I think this makes it official: South Carolina Republicans are fucking nuts. Newt Gingrich is electable, his performance in the debates was a plus, and Mitt Romney ran the most negative campaign:
Sixty-four percent said the debates were an important factor for them...As in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina Republican voters cited electability as the most important quality in a candidate. Forty-five percent say it's most important that they have a candidate who can defeat Barack Obama in a general election, while 21 percent are most concerned someone with the right experience, 17 percent they have strong character, and 14 percent they are a true conservative.
Asked which candidate ran the most unfair campaign, 30 percent pointed to Romney, 26 percent to Gingrich and 14 percent to Ron Paul.
Wow. The New York Times just published exit polls showing how different groups voted, and more women—36% to 30%—went for Gingrich over Romney. That runs contrary to what the media was saying all week. The Romney campaign was working to get female voters out to the polls today because they thought Romney had a vast lead over Gingrich with women. Also according to the Times, only 28% of voters perceived Romney's Bain background as negative, with 65% of them feeling positive about it. I think if you were trying to find a voter who was the exact opposite of a Seattle liberal, South Carolina would be a great place to start the search.