Thursday, January 17, 2008

South Carolina Republican Presidential Poll

Public Policy Polling conducted a second poll on the Republican Presidential primary in South Carolina last night. The results:

John McCain 28
Mike Huckabee 20
Mitt Romney 18
Fred Thompson 17
Ron Paul 4
Rudy Giuliani 4

The key finding here is that the results of Michigan didn't really do anything to alter the landscape in South Carolina. With some small shifts, everyone is in the same place they were when we polled the race late last week. McCain is at the same 28%, his lead over Huckabee has increased from seven points to eight. Romney only went up one point after winning Michigan. The biggest gainer is Fred Thompson, who has been campaigning heavily in the state and went from 14 to 17. Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul each drop a point, going from 5 to 4.

The biggest outcome of the South Carolina primary may be the virtual death of Mike Huckabee's candidacy. If he can't win a state with as many evangelicals as South Carolina, it's hard to see where he can win in the upcoming primaries. If his strategy is to sweep to the nomination by cleaning up in the southern states, there is other bad news in Public Policy Polling's recent surveys. For instance a North Carolina poll conducted last week showed a 16 point lead he held in December dropping to one.

Even with the high number of evangelicals in the state, only 12% identified moral and family values as the issue they're most concerned with. Huckabee holds a significant 43-19 lead over those folks. The top three issues for Republican voters in the state though are the economy, immigration, and the war. On the economy, McCain leads with 35% to 18% for Huckabee and Romney. Romney and Thompson are knotted for the most support with folks most concerned about immigration at 27% with McCain behind at 20%. On the war, McCain leads Romney 38-16.

It just doesn't appear that many evangelicals in the state are making religious views a main criterion when they think about voting in the primary. And that's bad news for Mike Huckabee.

McCain leads all three parts of the state. In the Low Country he leads Romney 30-23. In the Midlands he leads Huckabee 30-23. In the Upstate he leads 25-21 over Huckabee.

Full results here.

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