If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


South Carolina: McCain 51% Obama 45%

In South Carolina, John McCain’s lead over Barack Obama is down to just six percentage points.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the race finds McCain leading Obama 51% to 45%. Eighty-four percent (84%) of Obama voters are voting with enthusiasm for him while just 9% are voting primarily against McCain. As for McCain supporters, just 63% are enthusiastic about their candidate while 34% are voting primarily against Obama (Premium Members can see full demographic crosstabs).

In June, shortly after Obama clinched the Democratic Presidential Nomination, McCain enjoyed a nine-point advantage in the Palmetto State.

McCain attracts 89% of Republican votes, up from 78% in June. Obama earns the vote from 88% of Democrats, up from 73% in June. Among unaffiliated voters, McCain has a ten-point lead, down from twenty points in the previous survey.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).

McCain is viewed favorably by 57% of South Carolina’s likely voters while Obama earns positive reviews from 51%. Those figures reflect a three-point drop for McCain and a two-point gain for Obama.

As for the running mates, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is viewed favorably by 56%. Delaware Senator Joe Biden gets favorable reviews from 46%.

Fifty percent (50%) say McCain made the right choice in selecting Palin while 37% say Obama made the right choice in selecting Biden.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) view Palin as politically conservative while 49% see Biden as politically liberal.

The South Carolina survey was conducted on Thursday night. Several state polls conducted that evening showed very positive results for Barack Obama and it was one of his best recent nights in the daily Presidential Tracking Poll. It remains to be seen whether this was a temporary blip in the race or the beginning of a new trend leading to a significant advantage for Obama.

Rasmussen Markets data gives McCain a % chance of winning South Carolina this November. George W. Bush won the state by seventeen points in Election 2004 and by sixteen points four years earlier. Former President Jimmy Carter is the only Democrat to win South Carolina since 1960. The state is currently ranked as “Safely Republican” in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator.

President Bush earned 58% of the vote in South Carolina four years ago. Today, just 34% say he is doing a good or an excellent job.

State polling was been released this week for Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Demographic crosstabs for all state polling data are available for Premium Members. Learn More.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free)… let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs available for Premium Members only.

South Carolina Likely Republican

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

"538" Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

McCain (R)




Obama (D)




This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on September 18, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.

South Carolina Trends: McCain vs. Obama

Favorable Ratings for Presidential Candidates in South Carolina




Very Favorable



Somewhat Favorable



Somewhat Unfavorable



Very Unfavorable



Not Sure



Rasmussen Reports - Electoral College Balance of Power Summary





Toss-Ups & Leaners


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.