Previewing the South Carolina & Florida primaries

Republican presidential candidates former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, at the debate in Charleston, S.C., last night. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Hour 1

Since its inception in 1980, the winner of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary has gone on to win the party’s nomination and, as the first primary in the South, it is often seen as an indicator of how other southern states will vote in their primaries and caucuses.  South Carolina voters are traditionally conservative and in the 2008 primary, 60% of the Palmetto State’s Republican voters identified as evangelical.  There is, however, a major divide among the state’s GOP voters, with social conservatives more concerned with issues like abortion and gay marriage vs. fiscal conservatives more focused on jobs and the economy.  Recent polls show Mitt Romney with a slight lead over Newt Gingrich, but yesterday’s departure of Rick Perry could prove helpful to Gingrich, who has been surging in recent surveys.  We’ll talk about this most interesting primary and last night’s Republican debate with Winthrop University political science professor SCOTT HUFFMON and Wall Street Journal national reporter NEIL KING, JR.  Then, University of Central Florida political scientist AUBREY JEWETT joins us to talk about Florida’s crucial January 31st primary.

Listen to the mp3

[audio: 012012_100630.mp3]

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