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Behind McCain's Win

By Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta
Arizona Sen. John McCain won the South Carolina GOP primary, losing only the party's most conservative voters and doing significantly better among evangelicals than he did in Iowa.

McCain's victory gives his campaign a boost headed into the Florida primary on Jan. 29, and is a sweet turn for the senator whose presidential bid eight years ago fizzled in the Palmetto state.

In 2000, McCain's bid faltered when he lost Republicans by more than 2 to 1 to George W. Bush. This year, he ran evenly with runner-up former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee among party regulars, and won by a large margin among independents, as he did in New Hampshire. Eight in 10 South Carolina voters were Republicans, making his improvement in this core group particularly important.

Six in 10 GOP primary voters were evangelical Christians (same as in Iowa), but while only 10 percent of evangelicals in Iowa supported McCain, 27 percent voted for him in South Carolina. (He also got 28 percent among evangelicals in New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was his main rival.)

McCain also won by better than 2 to 1 among moderates and liberals, and split "somewhat conservative" voters (32 percent for McCain, 30 percent for Huckabee). About a third of voters described themselves as "very conservative," and they broke for Huckabee by better than 2 to 1, not quite enough to overcome McCain's advantage in the less conservative groups.

One factor working in McCain's favor was that 43 percent of voters said he is the most electable Republican candidate. Far fewer, 23 percent, said Huckabee has the best shot at beating the Democratic nominee; 19 percent said so about Romney.

Continue reading at Behind the Numbers >>

Posted at 9:03 AM ET on Jan 20, 2008  | Category:  The Pollster
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Previous: McCain Thanks South Carolina Supporters | Next: Recapping the S.C. GOP Primary


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Re: aepelbaum

OK, now you're taking conspiracy theory to new heights. Hillary was running for the Senate in 2000. She hardly had time to engineer a Gore defeat (and, umm, it's a pretty weak conspiracy if it took a butterfly ballot to cinch it for Bush). The folks behind the nasty anti-McCain ads are open about their intentions. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 20, 2008 5:59 PM

FORCES-What can I say? I'm TICKED at the garbage being played! On the GOPbers, and them playing into it!
As you might have deduced, this Fortyish, Catholic, non-Military, Small Businessman, is NOT one of the "Groups" playing foolish sectatrian stunts! I am trying to use My HEAD! Not, my affiliations!
Then, for anyone to claim that a 3 % lead, is anything other than a Tie, a Tie that could easily heve been affected by attrition Voting, also raises my hackles!
Yes, I believe a good chunk of Huck's support came from Romney supporters trying to stop McCain. Just as I feel Much of McCain's support is from "Independants" that might very well vote Dimocrat in November. What was Certain, was Mitt annihilated the Competition in Nevada, sworn delegates, or not! THAT, amounts to solid GOP Votes in November!

BUT, you are right, that I should practice what I preach about Unity and Harmony!

I'll do something nice for an old Evangelical General or Admiral today!

Posted by: rat-the | January 20, 2008 2:35 PM

just say no to the i cant remember clinton machine vote obama

Posted by: tomra1212 | January 20, 2008 2:14 PM

Rat, you need serious help with your skills of observation. Go research how much time and money Romney spent in SC. You'll discover he outspent his rivals significantly. He only went to Nevada to get the media to change the subject away from South Carolina. And by the way, the delegates elected in Nevada are not committed by law or party regulation. You also, unless you want Hillary or Osama, might want to lower the level of vitriol in your commentary. You might even win a few converts. Right now, you are nothing but aggravating.

Posted by: forces | January 20, 2008 2:13 PM

What was demonstrated yesterday, was that Huck and McCain split S.Carolina based on points that were Weak. Military Ties, and Religious Ties. Neither of which are great reasons for electing someone President.

Mitt Romney, having for the most part conceeded the State, still had Half the support the leaders did. Meanwhile, in Nevada, he absolutely TRASHED both Leaders in S.Carolina! Heck, even Dr. No did better!

The Candidate with the Broad Appeal, is Mitt Romney. HE, is the most Statesman-like.

The Statesman plays a key role, but IS NOT a Singular Entity! MANY People supply the Statesmen with opinions, information, and support!

I am beginning to lose my support of all of the foolish Republican Candidates with their Butt-Headed denial of reality. That Reality being, that thanks to Bush, no one Candidate is going to maintain enough Base, to win against the Dims! McCain goes-there went the geriatrics, military and Independants. Huck goes-there went diehard Evangelicals. Mitt goes,- there went people with brains. Etc., Etc.. A broken GOP, even a broken DNC can defeat easily.

While I originally viewed Obama hooking up with the other socialist, FEAR Obasama and Billary teaming up! They might!

Team up GOP. With Mitt and Mike, as the Statesmen Pressing Flesh, and Photo Op'ing,

There is plenty of real work to do based in the White House for all the others! You all are specialists, who can combine into a very effective Team.

LOL! The DNC Hooking up? The Law Office of Billary, Obasama, and Pretty Boy! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | January 20, 2008 12:57 PM

The big news which I haven't seen anyone report on is the Democrat turnout was 10,000 voters statewide but the Republicans turned out 31,000 voters.

On Friday the day before the Nevada caucus I saw Obama and Hillary at separate events.

Obama was masterful as a speaker warm and funny and poignant offering specific solutions to America's problems. I didn't agree with all of them but he spoke compellingly.

Hillary was two hours late never apologized to the crowd who had to stand the whole time waiting for her and then in her one and one half hour speech she droned on and on and sounded like a DC bureaucrat reporting to her department head. In short BORING.

Hillary never smiled once in her whole speech.

Posted by: msmithnv | January 20, 2008 12:30 PM

Too old, Too late , Too Bush

As we've all learned over the last 6 years;
Conservative are neither conservative nor patriotic.
Conservatives these days are just flag waving liers.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 20, 2008 12:06 PM

Behind McCain wictory is the same consiracy's machine, which derailed him in 2000, when the ruler of this machine was cleaning the way for Bush nomination. Now the ruler of this machine is interested to have McCain nominated, as he is very easy for her to defeat in general election. The name of this ruler is Mrs. Clinton. She helped Bush to get to White House in 2000, and pushes herself into this place now. Unless Obama is going to show clearly and obviously that Mrs. Clinton presidency would bring the further irreversible destruction of this planet atmosphere within not more than five, at the very most, ten years, he would not be able to overcome her created within many years conspiracies' machines. Get a grip, people, stop this suicidal machines! Why are so many reasonable and smart people fully helpless in front of one, extremely evil, and non smart woman? It leads directly to the organic life or, by other words, human spices' suicide, do not you see it yet?

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 20, 2008 10:45 AM

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