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PRESENTING YOUR SOUTH CAROLINA FIELD GUIDE
The polls say this should be a great day for Donald Trump – a big victory to ratify his status as the GOP frontrunner and a harbinger of future successes in the so-called “SEC primary” on March 1.

But the polls have gotten a little screwy in the final days of the “first in the South” primary, with Marco Rubio nipping past Ted Cruz in some surveys. Trump’s dominance, however, hasn’t been cast in much doubt.

His margin of victory matters, though. Given the resistance to Trump’s nomination in many quarters of the party, a big win would be a big boost. The message from a Trump double-digit win: Resistance is futile. But if Trump stubs his toe and ends up with a narrow victory, it would only embolden his detractors.

With those high stakes in mind, the polls aren’t enough to get a grasp on what’s really happening down South.

South Carolina Primary:
· 50 total delegates
    o   26 at-large awarded to the state’s overall winner plus the     state’s 3 automatic delegates
    o   21 congressional district delegates, 3 from each of the 7     total districts
· Open primary
· 605,623 ballots cast in 2012
    o   Newt Gingrich, 40 percent, Mitt Romney, 28 percent, Rick     Santorum, 17 percent, Ron Paul, 13 percent
· Polls close at 7 p.m. ET

[Watch Fox: Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier bring you the latest results from the South Carolina Primary tonight at 7 p.m. ET]

UPSTATE
This is not the South Carolina of palmetto trees and ocean breezes. This is Appalachia and very much part of what Michael Barone calls “The Jacksonian Belt.”

Voters here are famous dissenters and have long prided themselves on their stubborn independence.

But the Upstate of South Carolina is also fastest growing region of the state. The counties of Greenville and Spartanburg are home to big businesses like Bank of America, 3M and BMW.

For all the changes, the Upstate is true to its political roots. The region is one of the most politically conservative and most religiously observant throughout the South.

The more populous counties of the upstate region should be Ted Cruz’s space. These are the most conservative voters in the state and have social issues on their mind. As the son of a preacher, and self-proclaimed defender of conservativism, Cruz relates well to these voters. In order to hold on to a second-place finish, Cruz needs to win in the more populated ares.

But Marco Rubio has a chance with these voters too. He is also a strong conservative who has been touting his family values throughout the state enough that he could siphon off some support from Cruz.

In less populated regions of the Upstate, however, it’s Trump territory. Counties like Anderson County are manufacturing areas, but haven’t felt the economic boom of the larger areas like Greenville just yet. This makes them more open to someone who says he’ll protect their jobs from going overseas.

Greenville County
·        Population: 482,752
·        Median household income: $49,022
·        Race: Caucasian, 76 percent; black, 19 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 31 percent
·        2012 general election: Romney 63 percent
·        Residents age 65 and older: 14 percent
·        South Carolina’s most populous county

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 40 percent; Mitt Romney, 25 percent; Rick Santorum, 18 percent; Ron Paul 16 percent

Spartanburg County
·        Population: 293,542
·        Median household income: $42,919
·        Race: Caucasian, 75 percent; black, 21 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 21 percent
·        2012 general election: Romney 61 percent
·        Residents age 65 and older: 15 percent
·        Spartanburg County is considered the crossroads of the      Revolutionary War for the Southeast. 

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 40 percent; Mitt Romney, 22 percent; Rick Santorum, 21 percent; Ron Paul, 15 percent

Anderson County
·        Population: 192, 810
·        Median household income: $41,579
·        Race: Caucasian, 80 percent; black, 16 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 19 percent
·        2012 general election: Romney 67 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 17 percent
·        Lake Hartwell, a giant man-made reservoir built in the 1950s, is home to some of the best sport fishing in the southeast, particularly for striped bass

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 44 percent; Mitt Romney, 22 percent; Ron Paul, 17 percent; Rick Santorum, 16 percent

MIDLANDS
Home to the state’s capital, Columbia, the University of South Carolina and a major military training hub, this region is fittingly somewhere on the political spectrum between the red-hot Jacksonian populism of the Upstate and the cooler political climate on the coast.

The city center and more affluent suburbs stand to be one of the biggest troves of votes for Marco Rubio. The Florida senator has paid plenty of attention to the region, often putting his plan for increased military spending front and center.

The Midlands is also home to the state’s best Republican bellwether, Lexington County, which includes part of Columbia and much of its suburbs, but also rural voters. A Republican stronghold, Lexington has picked the state’s Republican primary winner the past three presidential election cycles.

Communities farther from the population center are Trump territory. These are some of the poorest counties in South Carolina, with large African-American populations – the kinds of places polls have shown Trump excelling with blue-collar white voters.  Places like Barnwell County, where 11 percent of adults have a college education and a low median household income, should be a sweep for Trump.

Richland County
·        Population: 401,566
·        Median household income: $48,359
·        Race: Caucasian, 48 percent; black, 47 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 36 percent
·        2012 general election: Obama 65 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 11 percent
·        Home to the state’s capital of Columbia

2012 Republican Primary result: Mitt Romney, 38 percent; Newt Gingrich, 32 percent; Rick Santorum, 15 percent; Ron Paul, 13 percent

Sumter County
·        Population: 107,919
·        Median household income: $41,366
·        Race: Caucasian, 49 percent; black, 47 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 19 percent
·        2012 general election: Obama 58 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 15 percent
·        Home to Shaw Air Force Base, one of the largest in the Air Force Combat Command 

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 39 percent; Mitt Romney, 32 percent; Rick Santorum, 17 percent; Ron Paul, 10 percent

Lexington County
·        Population: 277,888
·        Median household income: $54,061
·        Race: Caucasian, 81 percent; black, 15 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 29 percent
·        2012 general election: Romney 68 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 14 percent
·        The South Carolina State House, formerly home to the display of the Confederate Battle Flag

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 37 percent; Mitt Romney, 31 percent; Rick Santorum, 18 percent; Ron Paul, 13 percent

Barnwell County
·        Population: 21,959
·        Median household income: $35,231
·        Race: Caucasian, 35 percent; black, 44 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 11 percent
·        2012 general: Obama 52 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 16 percent
·        James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, was born in Elko, S.C. (pop. 189) in 1933

2012 Republican Primary result: Newt Gingrich, 55 percent; Mitt Romney, 22 percent; Rick Santorum, 14 percent; Ron Paul, 7 percent

[Keep up with the incoming results from the S.C. Primary throughout the day here.]

DOWNSTATE/COASTAL
The downstate and coastal area is the wealthiest and most politically moderate part of the state. The two major counties, Charleston and Beaufort, are vacation retreats and popular destinations for Yankee retirees fleeing cold winters.

But there is also a strong military and military retiree presence here that changes the political calculus. These are voters who lifted John McCain to his win in 2008 and kept Mitt Romney in the hunt in 2012. This should be the best part of the state for Marco Rubio, but it also is where he stands to have the most votes siphoned off by Jeb Bush and John Kasich. For Rubio to run second, he will need to prevent too much costal erosion.

Rubio’s endorsements from key South Carolina players like Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott should shore up any last-minute, undecided voters in this region.

Outside of these wealthier coastal towns, though, this is also Trump territory. Jasper County may be the neighbor to beachside Beaufort, but Jasper has a sliver of Beaufort’s population and none of the prosperity.

Charleston County
·        Population: 380,015
·        Median household income: $50,792
·        Race: Caucasian, 68 percent; black, 29 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 39 percent
·        2012 general election: Obama 50 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 15 percent
·        Charleston is the adopted home of acting great Bill Murray

2012 Republican Primary result: Mitt Romney, 36 percent; Newt Gingrich, 33 percent; Rick Santorum, 15 percent; Ron Paul, 14 percent

Beaufort County
·        Population: 175,852
·        Median household income: $57,316
·        Race: Caucasian, 77 percent; black, 19 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 38 percent
·        2012 general election: Romney 58 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 24 percent
·        One of the fastest-growing counties in the South, Beaufort has more than doubled in population since 1980

2012 Republican Primary result: Mitt Romney, 43 percent; Newt Gingrich, 35 percent; Rick Santorum, 13 percent; Ron Paul, 7 percent

Jasper County
·        Population: 27,170
·        Median household income: $36,413
·        Race: Caucasian, 53 percent; black, 44 percent
·        Adults with bachelor’s degrees: 12 percent
·        2012 general election: Obama 57 percent
·        Residents age 65 or older: 15 percent
·        The Battle of Honey Hill was one of the few Confederate victories during Gen. William Sherman’s “March to the Sea”

2012 Republican Primary result:  Gingrich, 47 percent; Romney 29 percent; Santorum 16 percent; Paul 6 percent

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
National GOP nomination:
Trump 34.2 percent; Cruz 20.6 percent; Rubio 16 percent; Kasich 8.6 percent; Carson 6.6 percent; Bush 5.4 percent
South Carolina GOP Primary: Trump 31.8 percent; Rubio 18.8 percent; Cruz 18.5 percent; Bush 10.7 percent; Kasich 9 percent; Carson 6.8 percent

General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +2.8 points

[GOP delegate count: Trump 17; Cruz 11; Rubio 10; Kasich 5; Bush 4; Carson 3 (1,237 needed to win)]

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace."  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.