UPDATE: Facebook Buzzes Ahead Of Thursday's S.C. Debate

By Jennifer Moire Comment

Thursday night’s CNN Republican presidential primary debate in South Carolina will be the last debate that Facebook users can react to before voters goes to the polls on Saturday. And Facebook is already awash in comments ahead of the duel.

It’s possible that after Saturday’s vote, the Republican presidential primary will be all but secured by Mitt Romney, who has the most Facebook fans of any GOP hopeful.

Update: A Facebook/Politico poll of South Carolina voters released Wednesday isn’t great news for Romney. Asked whether candidates should release their tax returns, 76 percent of respondents said they should. Romney said in the most recent debate that he would release his returns in April, but he might be forced to release the information sooner.

The five remaining candidate’s came out swinging in Monday’s raucous debate from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hosted by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

Among the more memorable debate remarks was Mitt Romney’s attempt to explain his experience hunting elk (or was it moose?), and Newt Gingrich’s pointed response to Fox News contributor Juan Williams (“Juan“), as the former Speaker extolled the benefits of having young people fill janitorial positions.

The drama didn’t escape Facebook users, based on the comments users posted about each episode.

It was also the first debate without former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who ended his bid for the presidency yesterday. Snarky comments were plentiful on Facebook, including some who claimed the debate was Huntsman’s best.

Huntsman’s web site was scrubbed of anti-Romney videos and statements before his tepid endorsement of Mitt Romney Monday morning. His Facebook page remains unchanged, however, with a brief thank you to volunteers and supporters.

In the aftermath of Monday’s debate, Ron Paul’s brigade of online followers have been all over Facebook today, sharing links and videos of the congressman’s performance and claiming victory. A few of these comments are featured below.

Many news outlets and pundits actually think Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry performed well, yet few believe that either man will stand in the way of Romney’s eventual nomination.

After Thursday night, it’s anyone’s guess which candidates will remain in the race. One thing we do know: Facebook will be there, as always, to capture the sentiment of the evening.