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Obama Competitive in 'Red' SC? One Poll Says So

Would not bode well for the GOP nationally

When leaders of the Republican Party look at an electoral map and decide which states are firmly are in their column, South Carolina is one of the first states chosen.

And rightfully so. 

The Palmetto State hasn’t voted for a Democrat in the presidential race since 1976, when it voted for Gov. Jimmy Carter of neighboring Georgia.

Nevertheless, a new poll from NBC/Marist suggests GOP leaders may want to think twice before they take South Carolina for granted.

With much of the media’s attention on how durable Newt Gingrich is as a frontrunner, the poll of South Carolina voters, which was released over the weekend, shows President Obama leading Gingrich by four percentage points (46-42), Mitt Romney by three (45-42) and Ron Paul by ten (47-37).

The fact that Obama is even within shouting distance in a state he lost by nine points in 2008 — at the height of his popularity — indicates something may be amiss in Republicans’ certainty that they will defeat the president in 2012.

South Carolina Republicans reacted as though the thing that was most amiss was the poll itself, immediately denouncing its credibility. (See the full report in a PDF in the top right of this article.)

Katon Dawson, former state GOP chair and current state chair for Rick Perry’s campaign, said: “That poll is incorrect. No way, no how Barack Obama is leading in South Carolina.”

The poll, which surveyed 2,107 registered voters, between Dec. 4-6 has a margin of error of plus-minus 2.1 percentage points. The poll put Gingrich up 42-34 over Romney for the GOP nomination among likely Jan. 21 primary voters.

The results of the poll show that Obama is actually more popular in South Carolina than he is in many Democratic states, a fact that the executive director of the South Carolina GOP Matt Moore used to question the veracity of the survey in a Tuesday email blast to media and supporters.

“Do you honestly think Barack Obama is massively more popular in South Carolina than he is nationwide?” Moore asked.

Aside from the fact that none of the top three candidates for the presidential nomination is ahead of Obama in one of the reddest states in the country, the poll contains several pieces of data that must be disconcerting for the GOP.

First, 68 percent of those polled identified themselves as conservatives, which means that, depending on who he’s paired against, Obama is getting between 13-15 percent of the vote from those who identify themselves as the "right."

Also, only 28 percent of voters said they supported the Tea Party, which would seem to fly in the face of how much attention the group is paid by candidates and by the party itself.

Additionally, only 20 percent said the ability to beat Obama is the most-important quality for a Republican presidential candidate, the third-most popular choice behind “shares my values” and “closest to me on the issues.”

This figure would no doubt make Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell unhappy, as he famously declared that defeating Obama was his top priority.

What must be especially frustrating to Republicans is that the amount of people who say they approve of the job Obama is doing is eclipsed by the number of people who say they would vote for him.

Meaning, that there are people within the Republican Party who say they would still vote for Obama even though they don’t think he’s doing a good job. That does not say much for the Republican presidential field.

South Carolina Democratic consultant Tyler Jones was, as one might expect, delighted with the poll numbers. He was not surprised either.

“In the last four years the Republican Party has adopted a ‘no moderates allowed’ policy," Jones said. "It’s starting to backfire on them even in South Carolina.”

Jones believes that the poll numbers reflect voters’ desire for a divided government, with the president from one party and the Congress from the other. Except they’ve grown frustrated with the Republican-led House.

“They’re obstructionist and they’re led by the Tea Party,” Jones said. “It’s bad for the country.”

But, Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, cautioned Obama supporters not to start booking hotel rooms for the inaugural just yet.

“This is not the best group of presidential candidates the Republicans have ever had, but that said, everything we’ve seen up to now indicates it’s going to be a close election next year,” Kondik said.

“If we saw three or four polls that showed Obama ahead in South Carolina then we might say we have a trend, but this is just one poll. Still, it was pretty eye-opening.”

And if South Carolina is in play, anything is possible.

“If South Carolina is in play then this could be like a 1984 when the President won 49 states,” Jones said, which means that Gingrich may start resembling Walter Mondale more than he ever could have imagined.

Mimi December 14, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Susan I will just tell you that I LIVE IN SOUTH CAROLINA along with a ton of other people WHO INDEED voted for Obama in 2008 and will do it proudly again in 2012. Anyone who would be commenting in support of Cain needs their head examined. Susan you are dellusional and blaming the media for your lack of intelligence or ability to get informed with facts only makes you look even more ignorant.
Mimi December 14, 2011 at 04:10 PM
Hey JimW anyone living in the entire state is drawing some form of government money you do realize that South Carolina is one of the biggest government teet suckers in the country don't you??? Trying to call yourself a fiscal conservative and act as a Republican will never fit together. Tell me one time in history that a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT EVER BALANCE THE BUDGET. Just ONE Tell me how much the REPUBLICAN RUN STATE of SOUTH CAROLINA has increased its request for GOVERNMENT money while raising the average persons taxes higher than any south state?? Tell me Jimmy boy why is it that a state like Florida with NO STATE tax less property taxes, less insurance fees, has better roads, school, police, colleges, infurstructure so on and so on. You are living in a dream if you can't see the FACTS right in front of your face. This state is the sewer of the south. You still waiting on that trickle down to reach you???? The ignorance of some people just amaze me. You are so worried about some poor person getting money for food, yet you got no problem with your Governor spending $17,000 a month on groceries. You got no problem paying for Nimrata vacations at the tax payers expense, you got no problem feed the corporate welfare system in this state. You really are pathetic..
Mimi December 14, 2011 at 04:15 PM
That is the answer to your question June only the extremist (jim Jones followers) looking for the imaginary land of the past, supporting a obvious dysfunctional party for SOCIAL agenda, religous zealots, racists, ideology driven, uninformed, uneducated all on the RIGHT. Noone that is informed and educated would even be considering voting for any of the exsisting Republican candidates. Jon Huntsman would be the only one even worth consideration and he will never get the attention of the hate driven evil the Republican party has become. The evidence in the fact that the NEWSTER of all people would be at the top should be plenty of evidence what the Republican party has become.
JimW December 14, 2011 at 04:17 PM
@June This seems like a strange argument … One could just as easily ask who in their right mind would have ever voted for another Democrat after the Carter era, yet people have. Or who would have ever voted for another Democrat after the antics of Nancy Pelosi? (maybe based on the last congressional election not too many) ...
Joe December 14, 2011 at 04:18 PM
me!
JimW December 14, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Just remember, we got Obama because people wanted “Change” after Bush …
Joe December 14, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Yes Mimi, I am a racist, I admit it unlike so many others who call names and then deny the truth, I believe the African American community should be ashamed of themselves! There I said it many believe it no one ha the courage to say it!
SDR December 14, 2011 at 04:53 PM
The regional difference in political thought is explained in this book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0670022969/ref=asc_df_06700229691819613?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395093&creativeASIN=0670022969 Even with GOP in charge, the government pendulum has continued to swing to the left(even with Reagan and Bush 43). Now that we are 15 trillion in debt, it is time to try another tack. I am going to vote for Ron Paul and any Libertarian on the ballot.
stanley seigler December 14, 2011 at 06:06 PM
@JimW: "This seems like a strange argument … One could just as easily ask etcetc"... to say over the top hyperbole here is "strange" is beling extremeny kind...indeed strange...and as mentioned adds little or nothing to a better understanding of the issues. if USA had followed careter's energy policy we would not be depend on mid east oil today...and a few of carters accomplishments as GA gov: "the time for racial discrimination is over." It was an unprecedented statement for a Southern governor, but Carter made good on his words. He increased the number of African American state employees by 40 percent and hung portraits of Martin Luther King Jr. and other notable black Georgians in the state capitol. He equalized the funding of schools in rich and poor districts of the state..." http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/car0bio-1 as president: *Panama Canal treaties *Camp David Accords *treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel *the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union *establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China *comprehensive energy program conducted by a new Department of Energy *deregulation in energy, transportation, communications, and finance *educational programs under a new Department of Education *environmental protection legislation, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_some_accomplishments_of_Jimmy_Carter#ixzz1gX4lsCn0
Richard Yacenda December 14, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Joe your admissions are clear you are a bigoted stupid being.Let us know when you are jumping I want to cheer that act all the way down.Hahaha
Joe December 14, 2011 at 07:22 PM
richard if Obama wins SC that is so funny i cannot even bet a serious bet with you!
JimW December 14, 2011 at 07:25 PM
My point here was not to judge Carter and I selected him only because he was hugely unpopular in the 1980 election, like Bush was in 2008. My point to June was just because there was a hugely unpopular democratic president in 1980 that lost to a republican by a landslide; this did not mean that all reasonable people abandoned all future democrat candidates. I gladly acknowledge that Carter had some positive ideas and achievements. I wish more people could do the same for George W.
JimW December 14, 2011 at 07:40 PM
@Stanley One other thing ... I'm really glad you chose to defend Carter and not Nancy. I can respect your points about Carter but defending Nancy would be like defending the success of the French army or the judgement of Captain Edward John Smith while commanding the Titanic.
Wes Rasmussen December 14, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Beware the gold of GOTP trickle down economics!! You just might be standing under a leaking sewer pipe...
Joe December 14, 2011 at 08:02 PM
I'll take trickle down economics any day over trickle up economics, you just haven't figured out the difference!
JimW December 14, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Mimi I must give you credit. You are really giving 110% to earn that coveted spot as "Angry Liberal of the Year". Since you seem to be so passionate in your pursuit of this lofty goal, I will gladly draft a letter of recommendation for you and get it off to Barack, Harry, Nancy, and even cc John Kerry for good measure. Best of luck and live the dream!!!
George Grace December 14, 2011 at 08:47 PM
I stopped in at Krispy Kreme (12th and Knox Abbott) this afternoon. I had a book with me, FDR and the New Deal by William Leuctenberg. A woman, middle aged, behind the counter saw the book and said "he was the start of it all and led to Obama." I felt like pointing out that millions of people were living in "Hoovervilles", millions jobless, the suffering was immense etc but I didn't, people were in line and the setting was wrong. I would have told her that if you don't vote your interests - working poor - you're a fool. She had that little bit of knowledge that told her govt, not the Wall Street wolves, was the problem. Sad. So she'll probably vote Repub against her best interests not knowing or understanding anything. Krispy Kreme makes good coffee.
Joe December 14, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Mimi is one of those angry liberals, their dream has vanished before their eyes, Jimny Carter was not John The Baptist and Obama is not Jesus and they just can't believe that socialism is a failure so they scream and call us names, we are bigots and racists and the more we succeed the angrier they get.
Joe December 14, 2011 at 08:51 PM
George go finish your book and your coffee and hopefully when your done with both you'll go get an enema
stanley seigler December 15, 2011 at 12:17 AM
@ Wes Rasmussen: "Beware the gold of GOTP trickle down economics!! COMMENT guess you dont believe that trickle on yo leg is rainwater... themes/evils of orwell's "1984" trickle through today's politics...eg: perpetual war (well 10 years and running); newspeak and doublethink, trickle up is trickle down, ignorance is strength, etcetc... http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0922-07.htm
stanley seigler December 15, 2011 at 01:25 AM
@JimW: "... I'm really glad you chose to defend Carter and not Nancy... COMMENT not sure how to defend/critique either pelosi or boehner...they do their partisan thing and of course i agree with pelosi's politics...so would be useless to defend her by listing legislation she pushed through the house...eg, BO-care and tarp... guess she might be defended by comparing to boehner: "Boehner’s tenure has been a seven-month-long fiasco. The Speaker has routinely struggled to keep his caucus in line behind his leadership, for example, and has found in many key instances that House Republicans simply don’t care what Boehner thinks. Whereas the Speaker traditionally is one of Washington’s most powerful players, Boehner is arguably the weakest Speaker we’ve seen in many decades — he’s not leading an unruly caucus; his unruly caucus is leading him. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/setting_the_bar_for_success_to031797.php just quoting for lack of specific accomplishments...i like boehner and will miss him come jan2013...i dont personally care for pelosi, but believe she was an effective leader.
Tonto December 15, 2011 at 05:00 AM
Pelosi only got where she is at by swinging her big knockers around.
stanley seigler December 15, 2011 at 03:17 PM
@George Grace "...she'll probably vote Repub against her best interests not knowing or understanding anything..." i understand why the 1% are GOP voters (tho all are not, eg, buffett and others)...but why would any 99er vote GOP...they cant be stupid...tho that might explain it...of course; there are those who truly believe the unregulated free market will work one day...perhaps it will take strike 3 for them to get it...strike one: 1929. strike 2: 2008. strike 3: sometime after a GOPtp wins the white house...(hope not in God's lifetime)
Jonathan Allen (Editor) December 15, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Wow Tonto, that is really insightful, thank you for contributing so much to the conversation. Sexist personal attacks really are the best way to conduct a conversation. Forget about the merits or failures of the policies Pelosi supported and pushed through Congress, those are meaningless and have absolutely no bearing on the well being of the country and its citizens. No, what's really important here is reminding everyone that as a woman Pelosi was only able to gain any sort of power or influence by trading on her gender and sexuality, despite the glaring lack of evidence to support your assertion. Well done on reminding all women where their place is though.
stanley seigler December 15, 2011 at 07:49 PM
@Jonathan Allen well done
Tonto December 16, 2011 at 04:41 AM
Well Stanley we know communism doesn't work but nobody seems to have ever convinced Obama of that. His new and improved version in the shiny new wrapper still tastes the same when you take a bite. This election is about whether the United Staes goes communist (aka socialist) or works to improve on capitalism which has dominated the planet. People willing to work hard benefit and the lazies want to free load and steal :)
GCarey December 18, 2011 at 08:11 AM
Kay I agree with you about Republicans, just not dog catchers. There are no more dog catchers anymore, they are humane officers and I was one for many years. :) We really need to stop using sayings like "There's more than one way to skin a cat." eweee, what a horrible thought, or teaching kids to sing "Three Blind Mice" who had their tails cut off. We have a brutal history, and it was not always directed at humans. Hence, we don't call people Spics or Gooks, or a host of other horrible venaculars. Let's get up with the times. As for Obama, just because he's half white, doesn't mean he's not half black, so if you are looking either to hate him or love him based on his ancestry, people will grab whatever side works for them. Sad as it is. And that response is for Stanley and Tonto.
stanley seigler December 18, 2011 at 09:33 AM
@GCarey: "...Let's get up with the times..." apologies to all if i used any " horrible vernaculars" ... i make a conscious effort to stick to issues not personalities and adhoms... agree with 99% of what GC say...didn't know there were still teaching kid 3 blind mice:)
Heather December 19, 2011 at 08:00 PM
This was very good news! I just saw a youtube of Newt saying that the government should allow a terrorist attack to remind us to be aware of the threat. Thanks Newt.
Joe December 19, 2011 at 08:10 PM
great you get your news from you tube, fantastic, America is safe!

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