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2012 South Carolina Presidential Election  
Mitt Romney  vs.  Barack Obama - inc  (9 Electoral Votes)

General Information

Most Recent Election

2008:  John McCain 53.9% - Barack Obama 44.9%


South Carolina is allotted 7 congressional districts and 9 electoral votes.  This allotment was unchanged due to reapportionment after the 2010 census.

Election Timeline

  • January 21, 2012 - Presidential primaries
  • November 6, 2012 - Election day
  • Latest Polls and Updates

    Conservative Ranking

    South Carolina is the 16th most conservative state, voting 16.24% more Republican in the 2008 presidential elections than the national average.

    Partisan Trend

    Based on voting patterns since 1992, South Carolina is trending DEMOCRAT in presidential elections.

    GOP Trend Ranking

    South Carolina ranks 22nd among the 50 states.
    Presidential Race Data

    Race for the White House

    GOP Nominee
  • Mitt Romney - Former Governor of Massachusetts
  • DEM Nominee

  • Barack Obama - President of the United States
  • Scroll down for Election Projection blogposts about this race.

    South Carolina Presidential Election News
    Monday, January 23, 2012
    This is what you call a 'bounce' - Gingrich overtakes
    Romney in Florida
    Rasmussen Reports polled Republican voters in Florida on January 11, 10 days before the South Carolina primaries.  That survey showed Mitt Romney leading the Newt Gingrich by more than 2 to 1 (41% to 19%).  Today, they released another poll taken in the Sunshine State after Gingrich walloped Romney in South Carolina on Saturday.  No longer does Romney hold an overwhelming lead.  In fact, it is now Gingrich who commands a clear advantage, 41%-32%.  That's a swing of 31 points.  And that, my friends, is what you call a bounce.  The striking change serves to highlight the real power of the early primary states - particularly South Carolina.

    Sure, not many delegates were at stake in the Palmetto State, but the course of the whole primary election season may have been reversed there this weekend.  Unless something happens to derail the former Speaker for a third time this election cycle, he has to be considered the favorite to win in Florida. And where it had been Romney's nomination to lose just a few days ago, it is now Gingrich, assuming he indeed wins Florida, who will wear the mantle of frontrunner heading into February.

    Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  FL Primary 2012  Florida 2012  FL President 2012  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:06pm 01/23/12::
    Sunday, January 22, 2012
    South Carolina results make Florida (and a host of
    other states) relevant again
    A week ago, fresh off a convincing, if not unexpected, victory in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney's nomination bid looked to be cruising to inevitability.  He had weathered a surprise Iowa showing by Rick Santorum, and polls had him up by double-digit in South Carolina.  Then, a strange thing happened on the way to Dixie.  Newt Gingrich re-emerged as a force.  With momentum going for the former Speaker of the House, Romney's lead in the Palmetto State disappeared.  Even accusations that he asked for an open marriage with his second wife could not slow down Newt's increasingly rapid rise.  By the time the voting started yesterday, Gingrich blew by Romney en route to a remarkable 12.6% victory.

    So what does Gingrich's final lap kick in South Carolina mean for the nomination contest?  One thing it doesn't mean is that Romney has lost his chance to be the nominee.  In fact, I believe it would be hard to demote him from frontrunner status.  He still holds the same advantages that prompted me to declare him the winner while he still enjoyed that substantial lead in South Carolina.  Moreover, despite all the hoopla, just 80 of 2,286 delegates have been spoken for.  We still have a lot of voting left to do.

    What Gingrich's performance yesterday does do is make Florida's primary on January 31 an important one.  Had Romney won South Carolina, the race would have been over.  As it turned out, the race is still interesting, or, as Newt Gingrich said in his speech last night, "game on!"  Looking beyond the Sunshine State, it's also important to note that even Florida's result won't seal the deal for the winner, regardless who that turns out to be.  We are now looking at a protracted battle for the right to face President Obama.

    In February, the game will be played in seven states representing approximately 200 delegates - or just 9% of the total delegates available.  Add to that the fact that, due to Republican Party rules, these February contests will be proportionately allocated, and it's easy to see how we could still be very much undecided when we get to Super Tuesday on March 6.

    One thing's for sure, with three very different men looking at possible paths to the nomination (sorry, Ron Paul fans), Republicans are going to have ample time to figure out who they think the best of the lot is.  I just wish the options were more appealing.

    Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012  FL Primary 2012  Florida 2012  FL President 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:10pm 01/22/12::
    Friday, January 20, 2012
    South Carolina Republican primary predictions and results - updated
    The dirty laundry is out there.  Fifteen years ago, Newt Gingrich's second wife claims he asked her for an open marriage while he was cheating on her with his current wife.  He denies the charge.  And nearly thirty years ago, Mitt Romney traveled 1200 miles with his dog in a carrier strapped to the top of his family car.  He admits to the deed.  All the while, Republicans are trying to decide who to put up against President Obama in this year's presidential elections.  It would be comical were it not such a serious decision with so much at stake.

    The next step in that process will be tomorrow's South Carolina Republican primary.  In recent days, Gingrich has eradicated a substantial deficit in the polls coming out of the Palmetto State and vaulted into a clear lead.  The momentum from endorsements by Rick Perry and Sarah Palin and strong debate performances have made him the new favorite to win tomorrow.  Whether or not that translates into frontrunner status in other states remains to be seen, but national polls are tightening.

    So with no further ado, here are my predictions for the South Carolina Republican primary.

    • Newt Gingrich - 41%
    • Mitt Romney - 33%
    • Ron Paul - 18%
    • Rick Santorum - 8%
    Gingrich's re-ascension has been quite remarkable.  After two fourth place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, he now sits atop the heap in South Carolina and has become (again) the clear anti-Romney alternative.  Four years ago, John McCain's candidacy was declared dead on arrival early on.  We all know how that turned out.  Interestingly, the man whose fortunes suffered most from McCain's surprise resurgence was Mitt Romney.  Could history be repeating itself?

    I'll post an update with a link to the results when it becomes available.

    Update:  You can track the results tonight as they come in at this handy website.  Polls close at 7pm Eastern.  And here is a primer to help you interpret early returns: Five counties to watch in South Carolina.

    Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012  Newt Gingrich  Mitt Romney 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 6:05pm 01/20/12::
    Thursday, January 19, 2012
    Gingrich leading in South Carolina; Perry out, endorses Gingrich
    There have been several developments today in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.  First, three different polls taken yesterday show Newt Gingrich overtaking Mitt Romney in South Carolina by an average margin of almost four percentage points.  Then, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced this morning that he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Gingrich.  Both stories are bad news for the frontrunner Romney - and may lead to a successful reverse psychology ploy by The Blogging Caesar (a couple days ago, I predicted in no uncertain terms that Romney would win the nomination. He may still, but Gingrich is making a race of it again).

    Like most conservative Republicans, I still have serious misgivings about everyone in the dwindling GOP presidential field, those who are still in it and those who have left.  I remain mildly convinced that Romney would have a better chance than Gingrich against President Obama, but if Republicans can take the Senate, maybe it's worth the risk just to see Newt take on Obama in a few debates - at least that may be a silver lining in an otherwise gloomy presidential nominating contest.

    Oh, and by the way, Iowa's certified final results show Santorum eclipsing Romney by 34 votes.  That means the final order among the top three, Santorum, Romney and Paul, turned out just the way I predicted.  I thought you might like to know.

    Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  South Carolina 2012  SC Primary 2012  SC President 2012  Iowa 2012  IA Caucus 2012  IA President 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 4:26pm 01/19/12::
    Wednesday, January 18, 2012
    Romney needs to address pro-life forum absence
    Today I received a newsletter from a conservative outfit I track.  One of the headlines caught my attention.  It read "How conservative are GOP contenders?"  As a conservative myself, that's certainly an interesting question to me.  When I checked the story, what it reported surprised and alarmed me.  Anyone following the GOP nomination process closely is aware of Mitt Romney's less-than-iron-clad conservative credentials.  RomneyCare and his flip-flopping on abortion are two main reasons why.  Given the misgivings of his presumed base of support regarding the latter issue, one would think Romney would be very pro-active in assuaging any doubts about his pro-life positions.

    This week's pro-life forum in South Carolina would seem the perfect venue to convince his pro-life doubters they need not worry about how he would govern with respect to abortion.  However, he will not be in attendance tonight.  In fact, Jennifer Mason, a representative of Personhood USA, the forum's sponsor, reports that Romney did not even bother responding to the invitation to participate.

    "We did invite all of the candidates, and we do have former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul, former Senator Rick Santorum, and Texas Governor Rick Perry," reports Personhood USA's Jennifer Mason.  "But Mitt Romney actually is not going to be coming."

    She says the Romney camp simply did not respond to the invitation, even though the forum would have provided for him an opportunity to straighten out questions about his stance on life issues.

    Romney's brush-off does nothing to "straighten out" those questions - at least not in the pro-life direction.  Instead, it will serve to solidify Romney's reputation as a risky choice for social conservatives in South Carolina and nationwide.  I don't think it would be wise for him to remain silent on his absence tonight.   He needs to offer a public explanation that passes muster or the reverberations could move Saturday's Palmetto State primary results away from him and jeopardize the easy path to the nomination on which he's currently travelling.

    Filed under:  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012  2012 GOP Primaries  Mitt Romney 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 3:00pm 01/18/12::
    Sunday, January 8, 2012
    Perry's humming in cyberspace
    Rick Perry's recent polls results in New Hampshire are beyond dismal - just 1% in each of the last six polls conducted there.  And his performance in the important state of South Carolina isn't much better - he's around 5% there.  From a polling standpoint then, he's got really no chance at the nomination.

    However, on Twitter and conservative blogs, there is a quite a buzz in support of the Texas Governor.  Could he come back from the brink of nothingness?  Probably not, but I think I might know why he's getting a cyberspace boost.  Unlike the parade of "flavors of the week" we've seen rise and fall in the GOP race over the last couple months, Perry's infamous debate performances ("um, what was that third department?") - not his record or his reputation - caused his collapse.

    Now, with acceptable options running thin, active internet conservatives are talking up Perry and his stellar performance as governor of Texas.  Whether he can gain among rank and file Republicans soon enough to make a splash in South Carolina remains to be seen.  But it's becoming clear to me that were it not for several weak showings in the debates, my original estimation of Perry's political fortunes would have come to pass.

    Filed under:  2012 GOP Primaries  SC Primary 2012  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012  Rick Perry 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 3:56pm 01/08/12::
    Wednesday, December 28, 2011
    South Carolina 2012 Preview
    Let's get another stop in today on our "Tour of the 50 states" and preview South Carolina. ...

    Reapportionment and Redistricting:  The Palmetto State is one House seat richer after the 2010 census.  Reapportionment allocated seven seats to the state, up from six from the previous census.  With Republicans controlling the redistricting process, South Carolina's new seat will most likely go to the red team.  Early on, there was talk of taking the new map to court because it did not create a second African-American district.  That idea fell flat when Democrat James Clyburn, the incumbent in South Carolina's lone minority majority district, chose not to get behind the legal challenge. 

    President:  This is deep red country in presidential races.  The GOP nominee routinely scores convincing wins here.  And though President Obama was able to make a decent showing in 2008, losing by just 9 points, the Palmetto State's electoral votes should go red once again in 2012 by a healthy margin, a Solid GOP Hold.

    Senate:  Both South Carolina senators are two-term Republicans.  Lindsey Graham will be up for a third term in 2014 and Jim DeMint's next election will be two years later.

    Governor:  Republican Nikki Haley fought off the effects of scandal in 2010 to narrowly win her first term in the statehouse in 2010.  She'll be up for re-election in 2014.

    House:  With a new district in the state, Republicans look to increase their 5 to 1 congressional advantage.  None of the existing district races will be very competitive, and the new district, carved out of the Myrtle Beach area, is red enough to be a pretty sure GOP bet.

    Check out the South Carolina state page for more information.

    Next stop:  South Dakota

    Filed under:  South Carolina 2012  SC President 2012  SC House 2012 

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:04pm 12/28/11::

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