For your following-along enjoyment this evening in one handy, chronological list:
7:00 pm ET
7:30 pm ET
8:00 pm ET
9:00 pm ET
Idaho (voting begins, as per ID GOP)
North Dakota (vote totals begin being posted at 9:30 ET, as per ND GOP)
Alaska (expected caucus end time)
The 7:00 eastern hour is going to be rather boring. All three states ought to be called as soon as the polls close there, giving Romney two wins and Gingrich likely his only victory of the night. The 8:00 hour will likely see Santorum get his first (and possibly second) win while we wait for the Ohio votes to be counted. And the 9:00 hour looks like a strong finish for Romney. And given the ridiculous amount of time it takes to count caucus votes, we’ll all get to see who won Alaska tomorrow morning. Heh.
Corrected: I originally listed MA as closing at 9 ET; corrected to 8 ET.
Update: According to The Washington Post, all the exit pollsters have now left the “quarantine room” and are about to release the first wave of exit poll numbers. Here we go…
CBS News releases the following info from the exit polls:
- More than 25% of voters decided “in the last few days” who they were going to vote for
- The economy was the #1 issue across all states
- Ability to defeat Obama was the candidate quality that mattered most across all states
CNN is reporting that among “Conservatives” in Ohio, Romney and Santorum tied at 39% apiece.
ABC News reports a majority of Ohio voters said Romney was the best candidate to defeat Obama in November.
CNN reports that 71% of Tennessee voters are white evangelicals, and 40% say they are “very conservative”.
CBS News has more than 70% of voters in all seven primary states saying gas prices played an “important” role in their decision today; that percentage is even higher in the southern states.
Nate Silver has this interesting nugget out of Ohio: 45% were white evangelicals, up from 40% in 2008.
Good news for Mitt in Ohio? The Fix says “Ohio GOP primary electorate more educated and higher-income than in 2008. ~3/10 make more than $100k.”
Washington Post reports that by a 2:1 margin in OH, TN, and GA, voters say business experience is better preparation to be President than government experience.
Also, just over 40% are strongly supporting their candidate of choice in Ohio…
And more than 60% in OH, TN, and GA say it is “important to share a candidate’s religious beliefs”.
Patrick Ruffini got a look at the horserace numbers and says that Oklahoma is close to a three-way tie at the moment. He and Josh Marshall from TPM are saying that Newt is enjoying a resurgence of support as Santorum falls now, with Ruffini even saying simply, “The Newt shall rise again.”