In South Carolina polls opened in the primary which could determine the republican candidate to challenge President Obama in November’s election. The state is deeply conservative and since 1980 the winner of this ballot has gone on to take the party’s nomination.
Mitt Romney topped the polls in the New Hampshire primary but he has lost ground in what has become a bitter personal campaign in the run up to this ballot. He has said the race is now “neck and neck”.
The multi millionaire has stumbled admitting in the last week he pays a much lower tax rate than most Americans. He struggled to answer questions on releasing his tax records.
The former House of Representatives Speaker, Newt Gingrich has surged in the polls. Despite battling an ex-wife’s claim that he wanted an open marriage, the veteran politician was six percent ahead of Mitt Romney in one eve-of-vote opinion poll. He has challenged Romney’s business dealings while his opponent’s team has been playing up the family values of their candidate.
Rick Santorum has trailed in the polls since his surprise photo finish with Mitt Romney in Iowa’s caucuses. He has campaigned as the alternative candidate to the two front runners calling Gingrich, ‘radioactive’.
Dr. Ron Paul, a libertarian congressman who was second in New Hampshire is viewed as an outsider in conservative South Carolina. The polls close at one in the morning with a result expected early on Sunday.