The Corner

Survey USA in SC: McCain 29, Huck 26, Mitt/Fred 17

36 HRS TO SC GOP PRIMARY — McCain and Huckabee Palmetto to Palmetto: Hours till the South Carolina Republican Primary, John McCain has the slightest edge over Mike Huckabee, but within the margin of sampling error, each with an excellent chance to win, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WSPA-TV Greenville and WCSC-TV Charleston. At this hour, it’s: McCain 29%, Huckabee 26%, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson tied for 3rd place at 17%, and Ron Paul and Rudolph Giuliani further back, effectively tied for 5th place. Huckabee still leads Upstate. In the Midlands, the two are tied. But in the Low Country, the race is fundamentally altered: McCain up 23 points and Huckabee down 16 points, a 39-point swing away from the Preacher to the War Hero over the past 10 days. Among seniors, McCain is up 21 points, Huckabee is down 14 points, a 35-point swing. By contrast, Huckabee holds onto younger supporters; he leads by 12 among voters under 50.

That Was Then, This is Now: Ten days ago, when the Dow was at 13,046, SC Republicans said Immigration was the most important issue facing the next President. Today, with the Dow 580 points lower, Republicans say the Economy is the most important issue. Among voters focused on the economy, McCain and Huckabee tie. Among voters focused on Immigration, McCain runs 4th, behind Romney, Thompson, and Huckabee. If South Carolina’s seniors and Low Country residents vote in larger numbers than SurveyUSA here forecasts, McCain wins. If younger voters, voters in the Midlands and voters Upstate show up in larger numbers, Huckabee wins. This is SurveyUSA’s 5th tracking poll in SC. Giuliani led on 11/13/07, just 9 weeks ago. That makes Giuliani’s 3% showing today stunning.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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