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January 14, 2008

Rasmussen: South Carolina Shifts In Both Primaries

Two new Rasmussen polls show movement in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. Fred Thompson has begun to ascend, but mostly at the expense of Mike Huckabee after his takedown of the Arkansas governor in the last debate. Hillary Clinton has eaten up half of Barack Obama's previous lead as well, with only eight days to go before the primary:

Over the past several days, the only real movement in South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary has been a four-point gain for Fred Thompson and a five-point decline for Mike Huckabee.

The big winner from that trade-off is John McCain.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows McCain at 28%, Huckabee at 19%, Mitt Romney at 17%, and Fred Thompson at 16%. Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul are tied with 5% support. Giuliani is betting his entire campaign on a strong showing in Florida, where he is now tied for the lead with three others. ...

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in South Carolina shows Obama earning 38% of the vote, Clinton attracting 33%, and John Edwards at 17%.

While Obama’s lead has slipped, his support is more solid than Clinton’s at this point in time. Eighty-two percent (82%) of Obama supporters say they are “certain” they will vote for him on January 26. Just 67% of Clinton voters are that “certain” along with 65% of those currently supporting Edwards.

Thompson saved almost all of his ammunition for Mike Huckabee in that debate, but avoided criticizing his friend and mentor, McCain. That strategy may haunt him if he cannot gain more traction against McCain in South Carolina. He needs a strong finish in this state in order to gain credibility for his Super Tuesday run, especially since he's falling off the pace in Florida.

Favorability ratings reinforce this as a potential fight between the two Senators. Thompson has a 72% favorable rating, while McCain gets a 73%, but the latter has an eight-point advantage in the "very favorable" rating. Rudy Giuliani only gets a 54%, perhaps because he has mostly ignored South Carolina. Huckabee has a 64% favorable rating, the same as Mitt Romney, which seems surprising given Huckabee's identification as a Southerner and an evangelical. McCain wins most of the demographic breakdowns as well, surprisingly including with self-described conservatives. He's way out in front among moderates, but in a statistical tie with self-descibed liberals with Romney and Huckabee.

The campaign looks potentially much more bloody for the Democrats. Hillary's close to the margin of error in the state after falling far behind. Thanks to the current tone of the debate, she appears to have lost ground with black voters there. Hillary can only muster 30% of that demographic despite some significant endorsements from state politicians. Obama wins the most income demographics, although interestingly Hillary does prevail in the $20K-$40K and the $40K-$60K groups.

Even stranger are the demographics for Edwards, especially in income slots. He only gets 9% of the less-than-$20K vote, even with his populist rhetoric. His greatest strength in income demos comes with his second-place 28% in the $100k+ slot, which Obama wins. Who would have guessed that Edwards would have been so popular with the wealthy, and so unpopular with the poor?


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