Candidate Momentum in the South Carolina Republican Primary

An interesting study in momentum: one of the questions we ask in the exit polls is “When did you finally decide whom to vote for in the presidential primary?” As this graph shows, there were plenty of minds made up in the last three days prior to the contest. Reports of the Fred Thompson “surge” appear to have been justified, as much of his support did in fact come within a few days of the primary. Huckabee clearly showed an Iowa “bump,” followed by a New Hampshire “lull” and ending with some hard-fought campaigning in the last days. Showing the biggest “day of” bump was Mitt Romney, who had earlier that same day won Nevada handily, which may have given him a slight lift on primary day in South Carolina. Finally, Most of Ron Paul’s supporters decided to vote for Paul some time ago; he suffered the most in terms of recent converts.