McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Carolina

This is rather interesting. Today Rasmussen Reports released polling out of South Carolina, a state that George W. Bush carried with 58 percent of the vote in 2004, a state that the Republicans have carried in the last seven presidential elections and nine of the last presidential elections. Evidently, despite the deep red hue of the Palmetto state, John McCain can't manage to hit the 50 percent mark in head-to-head polling against Barack Obama.

Victories by both Barack Obama and John McCain in South Carolina's Presidential Primaries set the stage and put them both on the path to their party's Presidential Nominations. Now, Obama and McCain will compete directly for the Palmetto State's Eight Electoral College votes.

The first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of that race finds McCain leading Obama 48% to 39%. Six percent (6%) say they'd vote for a third party candidate while 7% remain undecided. The survey was conducted two nights after Obama clinched the Democratic Presidential Nomination. National polling shows Obama enjoying a bounce in the afterglow of that historic night.

McCain is supported by 78% of South Carolina Republicans and leads 44% to 24% among unaffiliated voters. Obama earns the vote from 73% of Democrats.


McCain is viewed favorably by 60% of South Carolina's likely voters. Obama earns positive reviews from 49%.

At present, these numbers don't inspire a whole lot of optimism about the Democrats' ability to carry South Carolina's eight electoral votes this fall. Yet that doesn't mean this poll brings good tidings for the McCain campaign and the GOP. Even though the "other" category receiving 6 percent of the vote in this poll likely eats away at some of the support McCain would otherwise receive without third party choices on the ballot, McCain is still performing significantly worse than did President Bush here -- 10 points worse, in fact -- while Obama is running just two points behind the 41 percent received in the state by John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. As a result, it appears that although South Carolina is a state that the Republicans will very likely carry in 2008, it is one in which the McCain campaign and the Republican Party apparatus are going to need to expend at least some time, money and attention going forward. And with the McCain campaign almost undoubtedly at a comparative disadvantage with the Obama campaign in terms of financing going forward, every cent spent in a state like South Carolina really is a cent that can't be spent in states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Colorado -- let alone states that Kerry and Gore won like Michigan, Wisconsin and Oregon.

Tags: 2008, SC-Pres, South Carolina (all tags)



Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

I don't want to break your heart, but as I  think you agree, we're not going to be winning any electoral votes in SC. I'd like your diary better if wee had a popular vote. All McCain need is 51% in SC. He'll get it.

by NY Writer 2008-06-08 06:50PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

I don't think there's much doubt that McCain will win SC; but it doesn't appear that he can take it for granted the way Bush did in both his runs. That alone is good news.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-06-08 06:54PM | 0 recs
It also bodes well...

...for his chances in North Carolina and Virginia....

by thurst 2008-06-09 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

Now I know how Clinton lost.  

by Drummond 2008-06-08 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

Maybe... but if Obama campaigns there and runs ads (and given that he is the most successful fundraiser in Party History and has the second and third most successful working on his behalf (the Clintons) his budget will be HUGE) he might be able to make it close or eke out a win if we get a landslide victory.  At the very least, it would 1) force McCain and the RNC to spend there and 2) Help down ticket races which are the two best parts of the 50 state strategy.

by yitbos96bb 2008-06-08 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Not there yet

Lindsey Graham, who is up for reelection this year, has a safe Senate seat there.  I don't see the particular gain there that could be in NC, VA, or CO -- which are much more likely to go Democratic this year, and have difficult Republican Senate races.

by Brad G 2008-06-09 06:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Not there yet

Downticket goes further down the ticket than just Senate and House, though. The reason Lindsey Graham doesn't have too much competition is because in states like South Carolina, we've neglected to build our bench. When a race for Senate comes up, we don't have any young rising stars to recruit.

This year, the South Carolina House of Representatives and the South Carolina Senate are up for reelection. It would take a gain of 12 to win a majority in the House and a gain of 5 to win a majority in the Senate. Difficult? Sure. Impossible? No.

So if Obama is running stronger than average in South Carolina, it's absolutely worth investing some national resources in the state. Even if we don't win the state, we have a chance at improving our position on the local level, and we build our bench of viable Democratic politicians for the future.

And then there's the importance of the post-2010 redistricting...

by Fitzy 2008-06-09 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Except ...

... there's only so much money and so much electoral transformation Democrats can do at once.  Remember hopeful -- not naive.

In 2000, George W. Bush spent a ton of time and money in CA -- only to lose the Golden State by double digits.  He could have spent that time in WI, FL, MI, or PA -- even NM and IA, which he lost that year, too.

Also, NC, which has a much greater population than SC, has a governorship at stake this year (and a Senate race), too.

by Brad G 2008-06-09 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Not there yet

If anything, it says a lot that with Lindsey Graham being one of the biggest frontmen for McCain he still can't get 50%.

We're not going to do much here except maybe get close, but I'd love to see us set the stage against that bigot DeMint for '10.

by BlueEngineerInOhio 2008-06-09 10:36AM | 0 recs
Obama doesn't need a majority...

... to win South Carolina. He doesn't even need a plurality. It doesn't even matter if McCain ends up beating him by double digits. If this polling is right, Obama can win South Carolina by making John McCain spend time and money there.

Obama will have more money than McCain. If he spends some money or visits SC once or twice, McCain has to respond, especially if he continues to be under 50 percent and Obama starts going up at all. That's time and money McCain can't spend in Michigan or Pennsylvania, and now, for once, Democrats are on the offensive.

Sure, McCain gets 51 percent and 8 electoral votes. But Obama makes McCain fight to defend a safe GOP state, instead of playing defense in Michigan or Pennsylvania. Obama wins.

by Fitzy 2008-06-08 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

I still think that if Republican turnout is depressed enough, or Bob Barr's campaign gains any traction, the huge African American voting block down there... previously dormant in general elections...

Well, with a big GOTV effort on out part... you just never know!  We might pull off an incredible upset!

by LordMike 2008-06-08 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

That scenario is much more likely to happen in NC or GA, but chances there I'd say are about 15%. Of course, the point of the 50 state strategy is to contest 50 states, because it helps even if you don't win them all. :)

by nwodtuhs 2008-06-08 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca


by yitbos96bb 2008-06-08 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

NC, but not GA.

If Barr flops and gets 1%, we'll do WORSE there than Kerry's 18%; the peach state is only getting redder as the old-school Democrats die off and as conservative yuppies move into the state.

by BlueEngineerInOhio 2008-06-09 10:38AM | 0 recs
More of his 'Straight Talk'.....

I grabbed this from John Cole over at Balloon Juice:

McCain, in Louisiana on Tuesday:


I commend both Senators Obama and Clinton for the long, hard race they have run. Senator Obama has impressed many Americans with his eloquence and his spirited campaign. Senator Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received.

John McCain, talking to reporters on Friday:

Holly Bailey and Jon Meacham: Want to back up a little bit and talk about press coverage. One of the things that you mentioned in your speech in New Orleans was that you felt that the media hadn't recognized or had overlooked some of the attributes that Hillary Clinton had brought to the race. And I wondered--

John McCain:I did not [say that]--that was in prepared remarks, and I did not [say it]--I'm not in the business of commenting on the press and their coverage or not coverage ... My supporters and friends can comment all they want about the press coverage, and that's their right. They're American citizens. I will not because I believe it's not a profitable enterprise for me to do so. I can't change any of the coverage that I know of except to just campaign as hard as I can and try to seek the approval of the majority of my fellow citizens.

Why do I have a feeling that finding examples of McCain's 'Straight Talk Express' going off the rails is gonna be like shooting fish in a barrel?

Look out McCain...we're comin' to get ya.

by Kysen 2008-06-08 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: More of his 'Straight Talk'.....

Why would McCain backtrack on this? The point was to drive a wedge between Obama and Clinton supporters by talking up Clinton (though his Obama remarks downplay this a bit). So why did he respond in such a strange way?

by elrod 2008-06-08 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: More of his 'Straight Talk'.....

Probably to avoid pissing off the press. But if that's his goal, it's stupid to try to deny it; they of all people should know what he actually said.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-06-08 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: More of his 'Straight Talk'.....

More likely to avoid pissing off the base... YOU DON'T WIN FRIENDS IN THE GOP BASE BY COMPLIMENTING A CLINTON... Its almost the equivalent of say Satan was a great guy.  

by yitbos96bb 2008-06-08 07:41PM | 0 recs

Somebody in his campaign told him that he should try and pick up dissaffected HRC supporters by praising her.   But I am certain that they next day somebody else told him that he is having enough trouble holding onto his base that he needed to backtrack on the praise.

Most of the hard core Republican base still does not trust him.  By that, I mean the 25% of Americans who still think that W is a great President.  They still view McCain as a traitor to the cause of W style Republicanism and will want him to be the continuing standard bearer of that.

by monkeyga 2008-06-09 08:40AM | 0 recs
Bill Clinton in 1996

Clinton in 1996 lost South Carolina 50-44, with Perot getting 6 points.  Clinton, arguably, had more white Democratic appeal than Obama would in SC. And he did plenty well among blacks.

by elrod 2008-06-08 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Clinton in 1996

You're missing the point.  Its not about winning South Carolina.

1) Its about using your greater resources to force your opponent to spend some of his in an area where he shouldn't have to.  

2) Its about helping downticket races.

3) McCain is doing this badly in June after having little bad press, the Dems tearing each other up and having no opponent for the last 4 months.  He is in some trouble.

Now I'd like to wait a month and see where these numbers are in July once the GOP slime machine goes full force (although They have been hitting Obama since Feb and are doing a piss poor job defining things... in fact Obama has succeeded in defining this as a change election and is bashing McCain's brains in right now with that message)  If he succeeds in driving the convo toward the economy (and all indicators are he can and will) McCain is in deep shit.

by yitbos96bb 2008-06-08 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: I still think ...

... at this point, I'd rather have Obama spend more time and money in VA, NC, and CO -- where he and Senate Democratic candidates have a much better shot of winning -- than in SC (Lindsey Graham is on the ballot).  There's only so much the 50-state strategy can accomplish.  Barack Obama knows all this.

by Brad G 2008-06-09 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

The only "southern" states Obama has a chance of carrying is Virginia, North Carolina and possible Louisiana. This is solely based on demographics. If whites vote in the same share in these states as they did in 2004 for Kerry, and Obama performs 5% better with African-Americans, it puts him 3-5 points within 50%. Throw in Bob Barr and you are looking at increased odds for Obama in these states.

by RJEvans 2008-06-08 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

Louisiana?  I would say Georgia before Louisiana... and given some of the things I have read, the Obama campaign seems to be thinking the same thing.  but I agree that VA and NC are his two best hopes. You are comparing Kerry's numbers to Obama's but don't forget the very real possibility that Obama drives higher black turnout in those states than Kerry did.  So that could be worth a few more % points.

Personally I think the west is the more important battleground besides Ohio and Michigan.

by yitbos96bb 2008-06-08 07:51PM | 0 recs
not only did Bill Clinton win LA twice,

he beat Dole big there 53-39. Its a semi winnable state if Jindal is not picked, the GOP doesn't come out, and we can remind blacks of Katrina and get them to the polls.

But in other states, yes you are right, Obama brings up black turnout, but in NC and VA, which haven't gone Dem in a dogs age, that even if blacks vote, we're still gonna be down a few points, because whites are still likely to go GOP, and and blacklash will arise. But its worth a deuce to try, but don't count on winning both NC and VA. Hopefully one, at best

by Lakrosse 2008-06-08 11:09PM | 0 recs

No Democrat is going to win LA for a long time.  Katrina made sure of that.  

The population that left has not returned, and most likely never will return.  There are probably 50-75,000 ex-New Orleans area people here in Metro Atlanta.   There are big billboards up in various parts of town trying to lure people back to NO, but most aren't moving back.  This diaspora is going to have long term consequences.

And as for a backlash, it is not going to happen.  It is not the same South it was 30 years ago.    This year, in Gwinnett County, which has been one of the Strongest GOP counties in the nation since 1980, the biggest Money raiser of all candidates was Barack Obama.

Granted, I put Obama's chances in carrying GA at less than 10%, but they are greater than any Democrat since 1992.  Just the fact that he has any chance at all is a big deal.    

In 2004, I did not see a single ad by either Bush or Kerry.  It was as if we were not even in an election year.  That is a lot of Money that the GOP saved down here.  Making the GOP waste their limited Dollars down here for a must win state is going to make it much easier for Obama to compete in Ohio and Indiana.

by monkeyga 2008-06-09 07:41AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

If he gets the same white vote as Kerry did, he will win MS this year.

So, that is definitely a possibility!

by LordMike 2008-06-08 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent

Maybe the point of the diary bears repeating for some people here: the intent isn't necessarily to win traditionally red states, but to make them competitive enough so that McCain - who may or may not be at a resource disadvantage (when you factor in RNC cash) - has to play defense in "safe" states instead of going on offense in "toss-up" states.  It's the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense - by expanding the map, you increase the chances of winning the states that you need to win.

by rfahey22 2008-06-08 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent

Exactly. By mounting a credible challenge in red states, we put McCain in a lose-lose situation. If he doesn't spend money and resources in these states, he risks losing them in November. If he does, it takes resources away from other, more marginal states, and it makes him look weak because he's having to fight for states that should be his by default.

Putting McCain on the defensive is a good strategy, and I'm glad to see the Obama campaign pursuing it.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-06-08 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent

Also to make them more "purple" in the future!

by LordMike 2008-06-08 08:29PM | 0 recs
Not even started

The Repubs have been happy to allow the Dems to fight each other all this time.   Now it's time for them to attack us.  In my opinion, Obama is at his PEAK in popularity and positives, he will probably only go down from here. Hillary was tough on Obama- but never really went for the body-blows.  McCain and his surrogates will. Let's hope he can remain resilient.   McCain has been sidelined and will probably rise in the polls now as people start to choose between the realities of 2 candidates and not 3. Hate to be Debby Downer- but McCain is going to be FORMIDABLE.  Seriously.  Especially for Obama if he cannot solidify support in OH, PENN, MICH.  If he has to turn Red States AND shore up our traditional Swing States?  That's gonna be tough.  I like the early confidence Jonathan- but don't be fooled.   I think this year will be so much tougher than we realize- I hope people aren't lulled into a false sense of security (Dems I mean).

by easyE 2008-06-08 09:16PM | 0 recs
Has anyone been over at dkos today?

First off will some of the contributors here that are close with the dkos editors please ask them when they lost their fucking minds?

They have run an all day, all out canvas on why hillary lost. I get it, she lost. It's over. Obama is the nominee. Not only do I think that it overlooks how many positive things barack did over this campaign, but it's just bad strategy. The narrative started on Fox on Thursday, propagating that hillary lost this, obama didn't win it.

Now because of their intense personal dislike for the clintons, all of the contributors of gleefully chanting neener neener neener by writing an all out posting blitzkrieg on the mistakes hillary made over the course of the campaign.

way to channel your own feelings into helping out the gop dkos!

by mac Cumhail 2008-06-08 09:24PM | 0 recs
I think you might be overreacting a tad...

Did you read the pieces?  None of them were cruel, one blamed sexism, another was by a fervent supporter of Clinton.  It was a major event in history and as a site which analyzes political races, it's a significant question.  

This is not to say that there hasn't been considerably too much Clinton bashing by Kos recently, to the point that makes me uncomfortable...(and i'll admit, i haven't noticed any jibes from jerome lately)...but this really didn't seem like rubbing it in.  This was mostly a thoughtful analysis of one of the most shocking upsets in political history.

by thurst 2008-06-09 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in South Ca

john mccain can't crack that because he's john mcsame as bush mccain

by petrichor 2008-06-08 11:24PM | 0 recs
downticket races

Having a ground game and campaigning hard in red sates will not only force McCain to divert resources from toss-up states but it will be a boon to downticket Democrats.

Increased black participation was critical in getting the white conservative Democrat over the top in the Mississippi special election. Obama might not get all the white voters who voted for that local Dem but getting the black vote out for him made the difference.

Add to this the fact that McCain will have to deal with attacks from his right. Get a load of this swiftboat attack from Paul Republicans:

BoB Barr will be a headache in Georgia and North Carolina fro McCain. If Mcain has to start defending states like that it hobbles his efforts in the West and in Ohio and Florida.

by hankg 2008-06-08 11:44PM | 0 recs
Promoting Bob Barr ....

Under the "turnabout is fair play" principle, maybe we should be donating money to the Bob Barr campaign, much as Repugs contributed to Nader the Traitor four years ago.

by nytrialman 2008-06-09 03:50AM | 0 recs
McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent Even in SC

As Haley Barbour said last week, "If McCain needs me to win Mississippi he won't win five states."  Similarly, if McCain doesn't win South Carolina or even if he needs to devote serious resources to holding it, its probably over.  Its also dispiriting to republicans to see this.

by PabloZed 2008-06-09 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent

Have to disagree most adamently with the propostion that Obama is at his peak right now.  He is just coming off a bitter primary fight, with many Clinton supporters still on the fence and the rantings of the lunatic priest still ringing in people's ears.  I predict Obama will be up significantly within the next 3 to 4 weeks as the true honeymoon begins.

by nytrialman 2008-06-09 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Can't Crack 50 Percent

I totally agree.

People are in such fear of Republicans that they act like they can't be defined negatively.  That it's only a question of how effective their negative attacks are and whether or not our nominee can withstand them.

Look at 96 and especially 92 for models of Democrats framing their republican opponents in ways that convinced the public and actually made them LESS popular as time went on.  I think Barack Obama shares Bill Clinton's political instincts on what works and what doesn't.

One thing he doesn't have that BC did was an ability to innoculate himself from criticism.  Bill Clinton took the whole issue of his womanizing and made it off limits fairly early, and then took every negative attack on him and wrapped it in the same "sleazy character assassination" label.  It worked.  Obama hasn't shown an ability or willingness to do that - yet.

by Jess81 2008-06-09 07:53AM | 0 recs
Ross Perot: McCain unusually slick and cruel

Reality needs to intrude a bit in the McCain dream.  H.Ross Perot, who is not exactly a democratic plant, says this in this well researched article in the Sunday Daily Mail:

But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel - even by the standards of modern politics.

`McCain is the classic opportunist. He's always reaching for attention and glory,' he said.

`After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.'

See the whole article here: e-1024927/The-wife-John-McCain-callously -left-behind.html

by camilow 2008-06-09 10:21AM | 0 recs


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