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The South Carolina polls close in less than an hour, and we have some preliminary exit poll data:

Newt Gingrich’s surge in South Carolina last week came at the best possible time, according to preliminary exit poll results this afternoon — just as voters were making up their minds.

The exit polls show that about one half of South Carolina voters in today’s primary made up their minds within the last few days, just as Mr. Gingrich was gaining and Mitt Romney was stumbling over questions about his wealth and taxes.

Only about three in ten made up their minds a month ago or earlier, when Mr. Romney was polling well ahead in the field. The results suggest that the contest in the Palmetto State was fluid right up until the very end. In 2008, only about a third of voters were late deciders.

We also know this:
Nearly two out of three South Carolina Republican primary voters say the recent Republican presidential debates played an important factor in their decision, according to early CBS News exit polls - a good sign for Newt Gingrich, who was widely seen as outshining rival Mitt Romney in both debates there this week.
So what are your predictions? How do you think things will break tonight?

Added: Hey, don't miss these Daily Kos Elections County benchmarks and predictions from David Jarman.

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