South Carolina Poll Shows Guiliani, Clinton with Early Lead

A recent survey of South Carolina voters conducted by Winthrop University indicates that national frontrunners Rudy Guiliani and Hillary Clinton are also leading in this key primary state.

With the S.C. Democratic presidential primary set for Jan. 29 next year, and the Republicans tentatively planning to hold their contest on Feb. 2, independents may end up being key to a primary victory for candidates in both parties. Scott Huffmon, director of both Winthrop’s research lab and The Winthrop Poll initiative, observed that with tight races where support is spread out among several candidates, a few independent voters, if they show up, can change the outcome.

A majority of South Carolinians, 54.6 percent, hold a favorable opinion of Giuliani, and his rating was even higher among Republicans. More than 3 out of 4 Republicans have a somewhat or very favorable opinion of Giuliani, the survey indicated.

“Giuliani seems to benefit from his prominence in the wake of the September 11th attacks,” said Huffmon. “As the primary season progresses, I think his favorability rating among Republicans might slip some as more Republicans become familiar with his stances on hot button issues such as abortion and gay rights.” …

Among Democrats, state residents regarded Clinton as somewhat or very favorable, 81.6 percent, followed by former N.C. Sen. John Edwards, 70.3 percent; and Illinois Sen. Barak Obama, 67.4 percent. When independents considered the Democratic candidates, Edwards had a commanding lead in favorability. “Getting this support to translate into primary votes will be difficult, but may be necessary if he hopes to catch Hillary Clinton,” Huffmon said.

He observed that Clinton can’t go much higher in name recognition and that her negatives are pretty well set, so Edwards and Obama need to convert those who responded “not familiar” to “favorable” in order to catch Clinton.

In the general population, 42.4 percent of S.C. residents regarded Clinton favorably, while 37.9 percent regarded her as very unfavorable.

“Some might find it surprising that more than 4 in 10 South Carolinians hold a favorable view of Hillary Clinton,” Huffmon said. “However, those who dislike her REALLY dislike her. Fully 81% of her unfavorable ratings were ‘Very Unfavorable.'”

The real story here may be that many voters have yet to pay attention to the campaign, despite its prominence among political junkies–40% of self-identified Republicans didn’t know who Mitt Romney was, while nearly 65% of Democrats didn’t know Dennis Kucinich. A wag might observe that these people are the lucky ones…

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, LGBTQ Issues, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Chris Lawrence
About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (with concentrations in American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi. He began writing for OTB in June 2006. Follow him on Twitter @lordsutch.


  1. James Joyner says:

    A wag might observe that these people are the lucky ones…


  2. Anderson says:

    I just don’t think someone with a 5:3 vowel:consonant ratio in his name can be elected president. Particularly one whose name OTB’s editor consistently misspells.

    (To be bipartisan, “Obama” is an even higher 3:2 ratio — no chance.)

  3. Anderson,

    How can you face yourself in the mirror after spewing your vile vowelist garbage. Just because vowels are a minority in the alphabet doesn’t mean they should be despised.

    p.s. How do you count “Rudy”? 1:1, 3:1 or 2.5:1.5

  4. Anderson says:

    YAJ, your initials lend poignancy to your inquiry.

    But of course, I wasn’t myself judging the consonantally disadvantaged — merely recognizing the state of the American voting public.

    One day, may I live to see it (not to mention A, E, O, and U), Americans will be able to overcome their Anglo-American linguistic prejudices. But 2008 will not be that day.