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UPDATE 2: So It’s All Settled Then: Obama Will Win Tomorrow’s SC Primary. Unless …

SurveyUSA Breaking News - 01/25/08 12:28 PM

 * * Updated 10:15 am ET 01/26/08 with final numbers from Zogby and ARG; list re-sorted.

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Last time 14 pollsters all told you that Barack Obama would win a Primary, all 14 were wrong. That was the day before New Hampshire, 18 days ago.

History has an opportunity to repeat itself this weekend: 7 8 9 pollsters are working the South Carolina Democratic Primary, and all 7 8 9 have Barack Obama ahead.

At this hour, subject to possible late releases by competing firms, here is the pollster line-up, ranked from largest Obama advantage to smallest:

  1. Public Policy Polling has Obama + 20.
  2. Zogby has Obama +13 [newest release] + 16.
  3. Rasmussen has Obama + 15.
  4. SurveyUSA has Obama +13.
  5. American Research Group has Obama + 6 [newest release] + 13.
  6. Insider Advantage has Obama + 10.
  7. Ron Lester & Associates has Obama + 10.
  8. Mason Dixon has Obama + 8.
  9. Clemson University has Obama + 7.

There are a number of differences between New Hampshire and South Carolina. New Hampshire is largely white. South Carolina has a significant African American population which, in a Democratic primary may account for 40% to 55% of the votes, depending on turnout. Both New Hampshire and South Carolina have open primaries, but New Hampshire held both primaries on the same day, and South Carolina has spaced its primaries a week apart, so that Republicans voted on 01/19/08 and Democrats vote on 01/26/08. The significance of this, and the opportunity it presents for mischief, and strategic voting, should not be discounted.

The number of Independent voters in South Carolina is smaller than in New Hampshire, but the South Carolina Independents vote differently than do the registered Democrats, so even a small number of Independents can torque the outcome.

SurveyUSA wrote yesterday about late momentum for John Edwards, and how that appears to be coming at the expense of Hillary Clinton.

In SurveyUSA’s final data set, released today, Edwards continues to be the only candidate moving up. Both Obama and Clinton are moving sideways, or slightly down.

  • Obama gets 3 of 4 black votes.
  • Clinton and Edwards together split 3 of 4 white votes.

All pollsters will be a lot smarter tomorrow night.

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