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Surge In First-Time “First In The South” Voters




Last March we did a story on the “Republican” electorate in South Carolina … as it existed following the 2012 presidential election, anyway.

(Remember, nobody bothered to show up for the 2014 GOP primary … so it’s kind of pointless to use that year as a barometer for anything).

Also, South Carolina may not get another early presidential primary (thank you, Marco Rubio) … so the status of our electorate may be pointless to national audiences moving forward.

Anyway …

It’s no secret turnout during the 2016 presidential election in South Carolina was through the roof – climbing from 605,000 to 745,000 (a whopping 23 percent increase).

We’re eagerly awaiting demographic breakdowns from February’s GOP vote, but in the meantime there is one “First in the South” number that stood out to us as being extremely significant: 215,082.

That’s the total number of first-time GOP voters in February – nearly 30 percent of the total electorate.  Another 118,000 voters (16 percent) were participating in a GOP primary for only the second time ever.

That’s some serious “new blood.”  And based on the results of the Palmetto presidential race this go-round, it doesn’t seem to be flowing in the direction of the status quo.

How will this influx impact the demographic composition of the party?  What about its ideology?  And what does this mean for future races (like the 2018 South Carolina gubernatorial campaign)?

These are all good questions …

Over the next few weeks we’ll be diving into the data … looking to see how specifics of the shifting “Republican” electorate will impact the state’s political landscape moving forward.