Obama within Striking Distance in South Carolina
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 07:07:53 PM EDT
Last month Rasmussen Reports polling showed John McCain leading in South Carolina, though underwhelmingly, by a 48 percent to 39 percent margin. Today, Public Policy Polling released data showing McCain's lead over Barack Obama to be just 45 percent to 39 percent, with Bob Barr pulling in 5 percent of the vote.
Barack Obama is keeping it closer than other Democrats have in recent years in South Carolina, but still trails John McCain by six points.
The demographics fueling Obama's ability to stay within striking range are the same ones that allowed him to win a dominant victory in the state's Democratic primary. He leads 77-10 with black voters and 54-32 with voters under 30. John McCain leads within pretty much every other subgroup.
If there is a path to victory for Obama in South Carolina it includes maximizing turnout from those two groups favorable to him, and also hoping that more conservatives unhappy with John McCain will turn toward Bob Barr.
As you can see, it appears that PPP is likely underestimating Obama's support within the African-American community. If you estimate Obama's support at closer to 95 percent, which isn't by any means out of the question given Obama's strength in the community and the fact that Kerry won about 85 percent of the African-American vote in the state in 2004, and all of the sudden it's a 44 percent to 44 percent race (keeping everything else the same). Does that mean that South Carolina is already on the map for Obama, or that the state's electoral votes are key to Obama reaching 270 (or even 300 or 350)? No. But the more states like South Carolina that McCain has to think about, the easier it is for Obama to become President.