S.C. Poll: Obama's Lead Narrows But Still Ahead

A post-debate South Carolina Reuters-Zogby poll was released today. Obama is still ahead, but his lead has narrowed and Edwards has gained.

Obama's lead fell 3 points overnight to give him a 39 percent to 24 percent edge over Clinton in South Carolina, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Thursday.

Edwards, a former senator from neighboring North Carolina, climbed four points to reach 19 percent -- within striking distance of Clinton and second place.

Obama's drop is among black voters -- and Hillary gained two points with them. Among white voters:

Edwards held a slight lead over Clinton among likely white voters at 35 percent to 32 percent. Obama had 19 percent.

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    15 Points. (none / 0) (#1)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:00:13 PM EST
    Still blowout territory if it actually works out that way.

    Not that it may mean anything, but I believe Clinton out-performed her polling in the last two states (Obama out-performed in Iowa).

    She is not seriously contesting SC (none / 0) (#2)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:03:29 PM EST
    all things considered, I wouldn't either. It can only get uglier here.

    She doubled her ad money there and (none / 0) (#4)
    by Geekesque on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:06:23 PM EST
    has Bill campaigning all week there.

    She took two days off for Super Tuesday--she's back there now.

    Clinton is not going to abandon a state and risk a third place finish--the meme would quickly become that she's unelectable in the South.


    your meme (none / 0) (#21)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:47:53 PM EST
    I am sure it will be.

    She is, I think. (none / 0) (#5)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:06:25 PM EST
    It's true that she absented herself from the state for a few days, but I think she's back now (or will be tonight) and she left Bill there for the whole week.  And she's running tough radio ads there.

    I think she's competing but simply feels that in the grand scheme of things her time would be better spent in the 2/5 states.

    Of course, they may have removed her from the state for a few days simply to create the opportunity to spin a loss there ("Well, we didn't really compete there . .").


    Larry (none / 0) (#20)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:45:51 PM EST
    I think the Clinton efforts in SC are mainly to avoid coming in 3rd and to try to garner at least a respectable portion of African American votes.  20% would seem to be in their reach.

    I think you're overanalyzing. . . (none / 0) (#22)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:48:43 PM EST
    Candidates run to attain the best possible result.  Despite all the chattering that folks like us do, the only thing a candidate can really do is get down on the ground and run to win -- even when it's pretty clear that they're not going to.

    I think Clinton wants the best result she can get.  She'd rather come in first than second, and rather second than third (which would dent her).  And whichever position she's in, she wants the largest percentage of votes possible, and the smallest distance between herself and the winner.


    no it's pretty simple (none / 0) (#24)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 04:05:27 PM EST
    Considering how smart they are, I really doubt the Clintons are expecting to win in SC.  They just need to make sure not to "lose" it.

    And by the way, isn't overanalyzing what bloggers do?  I was terrified when I saw the list of top 100 commenters on Daily Kos.  The volume of those guys/gals was astonishing and made me wonder if they ever saw the sun.


    Yes. . . (none / 0) (#25)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 04:06:46 PM EST
    I'm sure they're pretty aware that they can't beat Obama.  I guess I read your comment as their having a plan to come in second.  I think their plan is simply to get as many votes as possible.

    If you put a gun to my head, I'd (none / 0) (#3)
    by Geekesque on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:04:55 PM EST
    predict a similar margin for him that Clinton got in NV.

    I don't buy the double-digits stuff.  That would be the biggest primary blowout, only exceeded by Mitt's uncontested win in NV and Clinton's defeat of Uncommitted.  These things always tighten towards the end.

    Ironically, both Obama and Clinton outperformed their polling in Nevada.  It was Edwards's complete and utter collapse there that was a surprise.

    Don't tempt me. (none / 0) (#6)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:07:40 PM EST
    Clinton better hope Edwards collapses in South Carolina -- although there's much less chance of that in SC than there was in NV (although I don't think anyone saw it coming in NV either).

    Does anybody know (none / 0) (#7)
    by spit on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:16:28 PM EST
    what the entrance polls for Edwards looked like in NV? How much was an actual collapse and how much was that he just couldn't make the viability threshold for the caucus?

    I expect he'll do reasonably well in SC, especially after the debate. I would be very surprised to see a similar crash for him there.


    from what I saw that today (none / 0) (#19)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:44:24 PM EST
    I remember some bloggers mentioning he got something like 9% or 12%

    But a couple of days prior the polls were showing him doing much better, with up to 30% at one point.


    Thanks for the response (none / 0) (#28)
    by spit on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 04:52:44 PM EST
    I'll have to do some digging. Seems very odd, if it's about more than viability.

    Still, I expect he'll do quite well in SC on the back of that debate. Everybody I've talked with, anecdotally, thought his performance in it was terrific.


    and his David Letterman appearance (none / 0) (#32)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 08:56:34 PM EST
    you could see it on YouTube.  Great energy throughout the interview.

    Turnout (none / 0) (#30)
    by Alien Abductee on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 07:40:03 PM EST
    Clinton's and Obama's teams were working with radically expanded turnout models  while Edwards' team was working with one more in line with previous years and was utterly blindsided. Yet another Trippi failure.

    Remember that (none / 0) (#8)
    by athyrio on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:18:32 PM EST
    Edwards is a favorite son in South Carolina...He was born there....

    and won there in 2004 (none / 0) (#17)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:36:54 PM EST
    The story could end up being less about Edwards and more about the slight rejection/erosion of Obama by African Americans post-debate.

    I had a suspicion it could happen in NV (none / 0) (#10)
    by Geekesque on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:59:12 PM EST
    due to the late polling trends and because of the hyper-importance on organization and the 15% threshold in a caucus state.

    Edwards was counting on Culinary and SEIU to be his ground game there.

    I woke up that morning suspecting Clinton could break 50%.  Which I had predicted it in public.


    don't forget (none / 0) (#12)
    by Kathy on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:04:39 PM EST
    Mitt's resounding victory in Wyoming!

    Jesse Jackson in 1988 (none / 0) (#18)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:38:25 PM EST
    Look it up.  I am a bit surprised that you think there haven't been many double digit primary victories in history.

    I meant this year. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Geekesque on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 06:31:05 PM EST
    Obviously there have been some real tail-whippings in the history of primaries.

    Zogby says.. (none / 0) (#9)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 02:31:29 PM EST
    That in Wednesday's sample, Edwards actually polled ahead of Clinton.

    I presume that is why the Clinton campaign pulled their ad on Obama, and why she will be spending more time there: they want to avoid a 3rd place finish. 3rd place would definitely hurt her.

    3rd place would be ok... (none / 0) (#15)
    by diplomatic on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:34:46 PM EST
    as long as Edwards could take 1st place and defeat Obama, then I think Clinton could afford the 3rd place finish.  But then the problem becomes that the nomination process would inevitably drag out all the way to the convention in a very real sense.

    what I hate (none / 0) (#13)
    by Kathy on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:08:06 PM EST
    is that if the polls are all wrong, and Hillary comes close, then it's all going to be about the "racist" south.  As if the rest of the country doesn't have racial issues as well.   Stereotyping us is going to be an easy explanation for Hillary getting any votes: white southerners must be racist.  Why else would they vote for her?

    If Edwards pulls it out, he's safe because he's a native (somewhat).

    If Obama wins, it's a mandate.

    Who cares? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Pat on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:09:56 PM EST
    Just give him the nomination.  After all, he'll be making history. What would she be making? Chopped liver.

    Bush...then Clinton....then Bush...then Clinton (none / 0) (#16)
    by TearDownThisWall on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:35:52 PM EST
    is this really what we're gonna do?

    Then what...by 2016....we'll be ready for another ....and ask Jeb to run??

    Jeb will probably be (none / 0) (#23)
    by Kathy on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 03:54:46 PM EST
    indicted or arrested by then.  Or just bored, which most of us are with this slash and burn style of Obama support.

    I am a Hillary supporter, but I will vote for the democratic nominee in the general election.  I will not betray my party.  I will not take all of my toys and go home.  I will not have a Gore-style loss that gives some republican blowhard a "mandate" for 100 more years in Iraq.

    And, seriously--Jeb?  Chelsea gets my vote.

    heh heh


    yes (none / 0) (#26)
    by athyrio on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 04:10:19 PM EST
    Chelsea is a great success story for Hillary...She seems to be a nice young lady...

    Facebook Voting!! (none / 0) (#27)
    by LetMeDoIt90 on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 04:39:32 PM EST

    All i know is that I'm tired of our votes not counting. I just came across "The Leagues" page on Facebook. They ask you to vote for your favorite candidate and when your done they give the current national and city results. Also they show the national top issue result. Make a difference show them that we actually care Its cool check it out people. Heres the direct link Apps.facebook.com/theleague

    All you are seeing is the MOE (none / 0) (#31)
    by LCaution on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 07:51:51 PM EST
    The Margin of Error on most of these polls is anywhere from 3% to 6% and, in this volatile election, one also needs to figure in things like the undecided vote and people who could be swayed by just about anything between now & entering the voting booth.

    But, back to the MOE.  Samples have errors because they are samples.  If you put 100 balls into a jar, with 50 black and 50 white, shake it up, reach in (eyes closed) and pull out 10, you might get 5 white and 5 black, but are not too likely to.  Put them back, do it again, chances are the mix will be different.  It doesn't mean that the balls have changed color.  Your sample is different. Now, the larger your sample, the smaller the MOE and, of course, if you pull out all 100 your "sample" will match what's in the jar.

    If the MOE is 4%, that means each number could, in reality, be 4% higher or 4% lower.

    So, if poll 1 shows A=51% vs. B=48% and then a day or two later shows A=47% and B=50%, it doesn't mean that B is now ahead.  It is nothing more than the margin of error built in to the size of the sample.