December 14th, 2007
07:49 AM ET
15 years ago

S.C. poll: Huckabee bolts to top of GOP; Obama cuts into Clinton lead

Huckabee leads in a new poll out of South Carolina.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee surged to the top among Republican presidential candidates in South Carolina, while Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead over Sen. Barack Obama among Democrats narrowed since July in that state, according to a new poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of South Carolinians was released Friday Huckabee was the choice of 24 percent of South Carolina Republicans in the survey conducted by telephone between Dec. 9 and 12. When the same poll was conducted in July, Huckabee was in the lower tier with just 3 percent of support from registered GOP voters.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson was second with 17 percent, slightly down from his previous 18 percent.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led in July with 30 percent, dropped to a tie for third with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both at 16 percent. Romney's showing was a major improvement of his 6 percent standing in the previous survey.

The poll showed Sen. John McCain falling from 21 percent in July - the second highest - to a fifth place 13 percent now. Rep. Ron Paul's 11 percent for seventh was a major boost from the two percent registered by the July survey.

The sampling error for the poll of Republican primary voters is 4 percent.

The survey suggested that one of Huckabee's main strengths was his personality.

In particular, he tops the list when likely GOP voters are asked to name the candidate who is most believable.

The poll of Democratic primary voters showed Clinton leading with 42 percent, Obama second at 34 percent and former Sen. John Edwards third with 16 percent.

The remaining Democrats were at 3 percent or less.

The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 for Democratic primary voters.

Obama, who moved up 7 points since the July poll, was helped by increased support among black voters.

While in July, 33 percent of African-American Democrats said they would vote for Obama, he now has 45 percent of their support compared to Clinton's 46 percent.

Among Democrats, 41 percent said they've definitely made up their minds about who they'll vote for in the primary, while 22 percent told pollsters early primary results could help them decide.

The remaining 36 percent said they don't know who they'll vote for, but those earlier primaries will not affect them.

Republican voters appeared less decisive about their choices, with just 25 percent saying their minds were made up, and 22 percent saying early primary results could help them decide.

The other 52 percent said while they're undecided, the earlier primaries will not affect their vote.

The poll also looked ahead to a possible general election with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee and Mike Huckabee or Rudy Giuliani leading the GOP ticket.

The survey of South Carolina registered voters, which has a sampling error of 3 percent, showed Clinton with 48 percent versus Giuliani at 47 percent.

Huckabee edges Clinton 48-47 percent in the head-to-head poll.

Jimmy Carter, in 1976, was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win South Carolina's electoral votes.

The survey's question about what issues were most important to voters in determining their choice for president showed significant differences in the priorities between Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats placed Iraq and health at the top of their list with 31 and 30 percent respectively.

The economy was third at 24 percent, followed by immigration at 7 percent, terrorism at 3 percent and abortion at 3 percent.

The economy was the most important issue for 24 percent of the Republicans, while immigration was next at 23 percent, followed by Iraq at 16 percent, terrorism at 13 percent, abortion at 11 percent and health care at 10 percent.

Filed under: Poll • South Carolina
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Matt, Dallas TX

    Hm. You know, we'll actually buy a lot of your BS excuses for downplaying Dr. Paul, but I don't believe that you really are unable to count to six.

    December 15, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. levotb Oakland, CA

    Ask yourselves: Would the liberal MNM and RINO Fox folks be falling all over themselves about the Huckster if they believed he was a real conservative and not a liberal just like them? No! They are deathly afraid of Tancredo, Hunter and Paul because these three candidates have fiercely loyal followers and want to seriously change things. The MNM wants the status quo (more illegal aliens invading from Mexico, more trade with Red China), which is why they marginalize these three candidates.

    December 15, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  3. Stephen Haddonfield,NJ

    Ron Paul is within the "margin or error" of the other top tier candidates when will they start giving him the press he has earned? I should be thankful it is at least mentioned in this article.

    December 16, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  4. rhys, Saint Petersburg FL

    Paul is in a statistical dead heat with everyone but Huckabee. Everyone knows that Paul's supporters are the most enthusiastic, and that polls are lagging indicators. I'm so excited.

    Watch Huckabee implode after he does well in the State that nominated Pat Robertson. Paul is going to take South Carolina.

    3rd in IA
    2nd in NH
    1st in SC

    Vote for the Constitution. Vote Ron Paul.

    December 17, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. Robin, Houston, TX

    Everybody should know by now that Ron Paul is going to win the republican nomination. Everyone I have introduced him to ends up falling head-over-heels for him. A few months ago I would mention him and nobody knew who I was talking about - now when I say his name I get a bunch of "yeah! I love that guy!" etc. He's the Grand Uniter between all political sects. No other repub has the kind of deep rooted support that Paul has.

    December 19, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Ryan, Rochester NY

    thought this was a good article.

    December 22, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. William

    Where do they get these poll numbers from? I never get anything in the mail. I look around online, no place to take a poll. Don't go by the numbers these news sites give you. Try to take a poll yourself and you will see.

    Vote Ron Paul – he is the last hope for us, unless you want to convert to the Amero.

    December 29, 2007 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  8. Matt McIntyre

    RON PAUL is the only hope for a free America. These poll numbers don't reflect massive grass roots support for Paul. There are 100's of thousands of normally apathetic voters (like me), who don’t show up on any polling lists, and who are tired of phony political rhetoric, fear tactics, expensive imperialist foreign policy, income taxes, an erosion of civil liberties, and a departure from our constitution. We will show up in droves to vote for our savior and you will all be shocked. WAKE UP, he is the best candidate since Regan!!! Huckabee is religious demagogue and if we elect Hillary it's: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. Spread Democracy around the world?! Let’s spread some here, first. Vote Ron Paul.

    December 31, 2007 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  9. josh

    They are all just politicians... Why can't we get back to the days when "normal people" like scientists and doctors are in positions of power? War-mongers and businessmen are NOT fit to lead this great country of ours.

    check out all candidates views at .... it's easy seeing what everyone believes straight from their mouths, sadly most are all liars and fish out of water (flip flopping).

    January 4, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Larry - Texas

    There are as many nutjobs posting here as on CNN. Ron Paul is electable? Give me a break. Give me some of what you are smoking.

    Huckabee is more, much more than just a Baptist Preacher. He is sharp, very sharp, and will beat Hitlery and YoMamma to shreds in any debate. Those of you who slam him and ask Who is this guy? need to do some reading and listening. Get some education for God's sake, turn off MTV.

    It's going to be interesting so stay tuned.

    January 6, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. hhkeller

    Is Ron Paul joking?

    January 10, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Brdlady79

    As a resident of Arkansas, and a Republican, I can assure you that mike huckabee is no Republican. The huck has raised taxes, provided public benefts for illegals including many millions for illegal alens, plus $1.00 year rent for the mexican consulate in Little Rock, and encouraged the legislature to pass a bill to extend in-state tuition for illegals. No matter how much lipstick the Huck puts on the pig, trying to change his position on open borders/encouragement of illegal immigration – it's still a pig....he called Republican legislators in Arkansas "shiite Republicans" when they didn't buy into his liberal leadership. Now that's the making of a real President. Huckabee accepted many, many personal "gifts" – how many times was he brought before the Ethics Committee? Peopleo of South Carolina – and all of the US – look at his RECORD. Please do NOT be fooled by his charming fortune cookie quotes. This man is NOT A REPUBLICAN. At least not to this Arkansas Republican. He does not, never has, nor will he EVER, represent the Republican party that I believe in.

    January 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Andre Mirabelli

    CNN Opinion Research Corporation came out with a poll on 1/12/08 pitting various Democratic verses Republican candidates against each other. It shows that any Dem can beat any Repub except McCain. However, as is the want of the corporate media, they do not even ask about the one Dem candidate that has previously beat McCain in such polls, John Edwards. Edwards got more votes than any of the other Repub candidate in Iowa and NH and they ignore him because they can call the shots. He scares the corporate media too much for them to even mention his name in a poll or in the analysis of its results. That's why they own the media, to make sure that we balance 8 years of the far right doing whatever they want with 4 or 8 years of compromise so that we keep the Supreme Court and the rest of the government a nice friendly center right, which is how they get to keep the country where they want it. That is what the right gets away with calling the left wing media.

    January 12, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. John Ottman

    I'm 43, and just when I was solidly entering the cynical phase of my life regarding American politics, along comes a cadididate who actually inspires my imagination, and that's Obama. I don't know for sure if Obama's the real deal, but he holds the greatest potential of changing not only how the world views America, but how we view ourselves. This is exciting.

    January 13, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. dave brown

    Ron Paul stands for something and is not afraid to speak his mind. He's not just another talking head, PC U graduate. The media constantly attempts to stump Ron Paul, twist his words, and convince Americans that Ron Paul is not a legitimate candidate despite his outstanding, consistent record and his ability to demonstrate logic.

    If America was a business, we would be out of business, or at least headed in that direction. Sure, you can spend money you don’t have, but don’t forget you have to pay back your debts–with interest! What did our forefathers say about costly foreign entanglements? Here’s an idea: why don’t we focus on our own nation. Just a thought.

    January 13, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Charles Bentley

    I think Ron Paul has a broad appeal.

    He is a honest american.

    He is no fanatic except for Freedom

    January 14, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |

    I hope and pray to GOD that the women in this country stand together and put Hillary in the White House. If you watched the Nevada debate last night she was clearly the winner. Hillary speaks like a president, she does'nt studder when answering any questions about anything, you know Obama is good at making a speech but he sure does'nt shine when asked a direct question. She is truely the one we have to put in office, none of the others even compare to her, she'll not only stand up for women's rights but also those of African Americans and Latino's, and I believe they know this. Yes this is definely historical, we've needed a woman in the White House for a long time,, and it could come soon enough for me, and I hope the women in this country will stand together and make history!!!!!!!

    January 16, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Danielle

    Come on America! Do your own research; don't rely on info given to you by ANY media... all of these candidates have websites... take 2 days and you can get a good idea of all of them... dem. & rep.

    I've done this, and it is my research-based opinion that Ron Paul is the right person for the job. He understands the economy better than anyone else! If Republicans are concerned about the economy they should vote for Ron Paul!

    January 18, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  19. Barbara Atchley

    Women want Hillary in the Oval Office??? I don't think so.

    I am a woman and here is what I do not what.
    – a carreer politician who owes favors to everybody who has scratched his (OR HER) back in the past.

    -I do not want a crooked business man who's company has bought and paid for Clear Channel Communications (the voices of conservatives for years)

    Follow the money if your smart enough and find out who is in bed with who before you cast your vote.

    Research the following and tie it all together.... its very interesting indeed!

    Bain Capital

    Clear Channel Communications

    Fox Radio

    McCain-Feingold Act (reform on soft money , ha – they did nothing to reform the 527 groups where millonaires still channel their advertising money anomiously.)

    Fred you say? – "Thompson spent nearly two decades in Washington as a lawyer-lobbyist". Take a wild guess who his buddy's are!

    January 18, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  20. Ben Teeter

    Allow the mainstream media to chose your president and you will have another four years of Obama. If you want to change America it's going to take a man who is brave enough to tell you what the real problems are. I wear my Ron Paul shirts and can feel good about where I cast my vote. I suggest everyone do the same.

    June 16, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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