Something to Watch for in the South Carolina Primaries

In the run-up to New Hampshire one of the big questions was whether independents would vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. In South Carolina, we have the same question, but with a twist: The two primaries there are one week apart. The Republicans go first (January 19th) and then the Democrats go one week later (January 26th).
The key thing to note is that one can vote in one election, but not both. They don’t have party registration in South Carolina, so one can still choose which election to vote in, but the state board of elections is running both primaries so it will be impossible to vote twice.
Thus, it will be interesting to see how many voters the Republican tilt essentially ‘takes off the table’ for the Democratic primary. Will independents take themselves out of the Democratic race by voting in the earlier race, since it is getting so much attention now?
One of the key factors to watch will be the total turnout for the Republicans. If it is significantly higher than the previous record of 573,000 in 2000, then indeed there might simply be fewer bodies available to vote one week later.
And so who would a large independent turnout in the Republican primary help on the Democratic side? With Obama now expected to decisively carry the African-American vote, does this make it harder on Clinton to take the state with fewer white voters to come her way? Or does it take white independents, of the type who went for Obama in New Hampshire and Iowa, away from his count and allow Clinton or Edwards to squeak by him?
It will be interesting to watch and of course we will be helping to answer all these questions with our Exit Polling data.