POLITICS
01/21/2012 04:48 pm ET

Palmetto State On Primary Day: A Look At South Carolina

Palmetto State voters head to the polls on Saturday to cast their choice in the first 2012 southern state GOP primary.

South Carolina has a population of 4,625,364. GOP officials estimate that about 10 percent of that full contingent will participate, with targets in the range of 450,000 voters.

Historically, South Carolina primary results have held great stock. Since the first contest in 1980, every Palmetto State winner has advanced to secure the Republican presidential nomination.

As for the Palmetto State name, it stems from South Carolina's official tree -- the cabbage palmetto. The United States National Arboretum explains:

"The tree symbol commemorates the defense of Charleston by the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island. This fort served to repel a British invasion in 1776. The strength of the fort is credited to the elasticity of the palm logs against a bombardment of cannon balls."

Here's the South Carolina state flag, sporting a palmetto tree:

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