Exit poll shows SC voters made up their minds late 

Preliminary exit polls find a South Carolina electorate that leans more conservative than New Hampshire and mostly made up its mind at the last minute.

BROADLY CONSERVATIVE: About 7 in 10 voters in South Carolina said they tilt conservative on most political matters, according to early exit polls. That outweighs the share saying so in New Hampshire but is a bit less than in Iowa. In 2008, a similar 69 percent of South Carolina Republican primary voters were conservative.

LATE DECIDERS: A majority of voters in the first-in-the-South contest said they decided on a candidate in the last few days. In 2008, just 34 percent of voters said they made up their mind in the final three days.

RELIGIOUS VOTERS: More than 6 in 10 voters in South Carolina said they are born again or evangelical Christians, and about one-quarter said it was deeply important that a candidate share their religious views.

SEEKING A WINNER: Almost half of voters said the most important trait they sought in a candidate was ability to beat the President Barack Obama in November. Fewer said they prioritized a candidate's experience, conservative credentials or moral character.

FACING ECONOMIC CHALLENGES: Almost 8 in 10 voters said they were very worried about the future of the nation's economy, and about a third said someone in their household had lost a job since the start of Obama's term.

Preliminary results are from an exit poll conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 35 randomly selected sites in South Carolina. The survey involved interviews with 1,577 Republican primary voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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