How Gingrich Won SC— Conservatives

'Very' and 'Somewhat' conservatives went Gingrich, 'liberals' went Romney
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2012 6:49 AM CST
Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks during a primary night rally yesterday in Columbia, South Carolina.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – So how did Newt Gingrich pull off his stunning upset in South Carolina yesterday? Unsurprisingly, by appealing to conservatives, writes Politico. Exit polls indicate that 45% of people calling themselves "very conservative" went to Gingrich, vs. 20% to Rick Santorum and 10% to Ron Paul—Mitt Romney took just 20% of them. Gingrich also won among "somewhat conservative" voters and independents. Romney won "moderate or liberal" voters.

More surprising, however, is how Gingrich did even better when it comes to electability—45% of voters said that defeating President Obama was the most important factor in their decision, and 48% of them went to the former speaker. Romney came in second with 39%, vs. just 8% for Santorum and 5% for Paul. Gingrich also scored well with women voters, traditionally his weak spot, taking 38%, compared to 30% for Romney. The only major demographic that Gingrich lost was with young voters, aged 18-29, which went to Paul. (Read more South Carolina primary stories.)

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