To cleanse the palate, a mood-setter for tonight’s Super-ish Tuesday primary results. Endure the first minute or so of Limbaugh jokes and enjoy the two-fer that follows — a sustained riff on Helen Thomas followed by a tribute to politics South-Carolina-style, where inside every good-government reformist beats the heart of a promiscuous “raghead.” Haley’s poised to win by a healthy margin, if perhaps not with the clear majority needed to avoid a runoff, and so the pre-mortem has already begun. One of her analysts tells WaPo that while Palin’s endorsement helped, Haley had already started to climb before that thanks to her grassroots cred. True or not, she’s clearly the “reform” candidate now, a good thing to be in this year of all years. PPP:

South Carolina Republicans are extremely unhappy with their party’s direction. Only 27% like where it’s headed while 43% think there needs be a change of course. There are vast differences in how voters are planning to cast their ballots today depending on which of those camps they fall in. With those who think the current direction is fine Haley leads Gresham Barrett only 31-29 with Henry McMaster just a little further back at 23%. But among the voters who think the GOP needs a shake up Haley is winning a staggering 57% with Barrett a full 40 points behind at 17%…

Haley is also doing particularly well with Republican voters who think the party’s gone too far to the left. With folks who think the party is ideologically fine she holds a modest 33-26 lead over Barrett. But with those who think it’s too liberal she’s up 54-20 on him.

Given those numbers and the fact that Barrett has the TARP albatross hanging around his neck, Haley-haters should be pulling hard for McMaster. Exit fun fact per Stewart’s sly goof on Larry Marchant: Results of Marchant’s polygraph about his alleged affair with Haley were, ahem, “inconclusive.”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Thank You, South Carolina – The Race to Replace Disgrace
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