NBC: Gingrich Will Win South Carolina - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NBC: Gingrich Will Win South Carolina

MSNBC - Newt Gingrich has won the South Carolina Republican primary, capping off a remarkable comeback for his presidential bid that reshapes the trajectory of the battle for the GOP nomination.

Based on early exit polls, NBC News projects Gingrich as the winner of the primary, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will finish second.

The results mark the end of a tumultuous week in politics that saw Gingrich erase and then overcome the lead Romney had in the Palmetto State following his victory in the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary. Gingrich came on strong in the closing days of the campaign, looking to rally under his banner the many conservatives unwilling to get behind Romney, who had sought to posture himself as the eventual nominee.

Gingrich's performance in South Carolina was driven in thanks to late deciders, who broke decisively in his direction in the last few days of the campaign. That stretch saw two debate performances by Gingrich, on Monday and Thursday nights. Almost two-thirds of voters said the debates were an important factor in their decision, and Gingrich won about half of them.

More broadly, core elements of the GOP base in South Carolina – conservatives, Tea Party supporters and evangelical Christians – broke for Gingrich. And the former speaker even edged Romney in two important constituencies for the former Massachusetts governor: voters who said electability in November was their most important concern in a nominee, and voters who said the economy was their top issue.

The results upset the conventional wisdom in the race, which had set expectations for Romney to score a knockout blow against his competitors with a win in the Palmetto State.

Gingrich's victory reshapes the race, at a minimum extending the primary contest through the Jan. 31 primary in Florida. The South Carolina results underscore Romney's lingering inability to overcome skepticism from conservatives about electing him as their standard-bearer against President Obama this fall.

For more coverage from MSNBC, CLICK HERE

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