Monday, January 7, 2008

The Fascinating New SC Poll

According to this new South Carolina poll, Obama has opened up a 20-point lead over Hillary, hitting a remarkable 50% of the vote. As Sully points out, the biggest swing has been in the African-American vote, which Hillary once led, but is now going to Obama by a 3:1 margin. Hillary actually still wins by 10 points amongst white voters. But there's more interesting stuff here: Hillary actually wins slightly amongst self-described liberals, with Edwards coming in a distant third in that group; what is interesting about this is that Hillary's campaign in recent days has tried to paint Obama as too liberal, even though her core base is mostly liberals. Given Hillary's relatively centrist record in the Senate, I'm wondering how much of her support amongst the most hard-core liberals is really driven by anger at what Republicans did to her husband.

Meanwhile, contrary to Krugman-logic, Obama actually dominates among registered Democrats slightly more than he does amongst self-described Republicans or Independents. In fact, Edwards- the bastion of liberal populism in the race - gets by far the most disproportionate amount of his support from self-described Republicans (although the sample size on that group is pretty small- only around 30 interviewees). Although the sample size of Republicans is tiny, combined with the results in Iowa, it shows just how close Edwards' populism is to Huckabee's.

Another thing that is interesting, and of which Hillary should take note: Obama dominates on almost all the issues, but he dominates most on issues where Hillary's experience theme should be most to her benefit: Iraq and terrorism (as well as education). The one area where she has a slight advantage is on healthcare. Obama also completely dominates on Social Security (where he has been accused of using "Republican talking points" by suggesting there was anything wrong with the system), the environment, and another "experience" issue- the economy. He has majority support in every age group under 65 years old; only senior citizens are different- they would still support Hillary by about 7 points.

On the Republican side, Huckabee has not surprisingly opened up a massive lead over McCain in Romney, who are in a dead heat for second in the high-teens. In what has to be bad news for the Thompson campaign, he is struggling at around 11%, only slightly ahead of Giuliani.

Huckabee actually beats McCain by 7 points amongst independents in the state, though independents are expected to be an exceedingly small portion of the overall vote, so the sample size is fairly unreliable. Huckabee does quite well with self-described liberals, but the sample size is far too tiny to reliably evaluate; still, it suggests again the similarities between Edwards and Huckabee's appeal. Unlike Obama, Huckabee appears to have gotten only a slight bump from Iowa, doing only a couple points better amongst people who have decided over the last few days.

Other than that, the GOP results are noteworthy for how un-noteworthy they are.