-Hillary Clinton's campaign for President in 2008 took a huge hit when she got detroyed by Barack Obama in the South Carolina primary. So it's interesting to see now that 57% of Democrats in the state say she'd be their first choice for the party nominee in 2016. She's followed by Joe Biden at 23%, Andrew Cuomo at 5%, Deval Patrick at 2%, Russ Feingold and Mark Warner at 1%, and Kirsten Gillibrand and Brian Schweitzer at 0%.
The most interesting thing about Hillary's South Carolina numbers is that she's even stronger with blacks at 59% than she is with whites at 54%. Her husband aggravated black voters in the state in 2008 and probably hurt her cause but there doesn't seem to be any long term damage from that.
We've done similar polls in Iowa (where Clinton was at 44% to 13% for Biden and no one else in doublt digits) and New Hampshire (where Clinton was at 52% to 16% for Biden and no one else in double digits.) It's clear at this point that if Clinton decided to run she would start out as the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. Of course that was the case in 2008 too which is why these early polls are fun but not terribly predictive.
If you take Clinton and Biden out of the equation, 61% of voters have no preference. The best of the rest is Cuomo with 15% followed by Warner at 8%, Feingold at 7%, Patrick at 4%, Gillibrand at 3%, and Schweitzer at 2%. We didn't do an iteration without Clinton and Biden in Iowa but we did in New Hampshire and Cuomo led there as well with 30% to 18% for Feingold and 13% for Patrick.
-A lot of states are moving toward support for gay marriage or at least civil unions for same sex couples. South Carolina not so much. 69% of voters think it should continue to be illegal compared to only 21% who believe it should be legalized. Strong opposition from Republicans and independents is no surprise but even Democrats think it should be illegal by a 53/34 margin.
Even when you throw civil unions into the mix less than half of voters- 48%- support expanded legal rights for gay couples. 19% support gay marriage with 29% preferring civil unions and 51% opposed to any recognition at all. Safe to say the Palmetto State is not going to be ahead of the curve on this issue.
-You know the Tea Party's popularity is really flagging when a plurality of voters in South Carolina say they don't care for it. 41% have a favorable opinion of the movement to 42% who see it negatively. Republicans like it and Democrats don't, that's pretty predictable. Turning the scales against it is that only 27% of independents see it positively to 46% with an unfavorable opinion. It's safe to say that the Tea Party peaked in 2010- its numbers nationally have been pretty bad all year and now the distaste for it has come to South Carolina.
-Gamecocks fans have had a lot more to cheer about in recent years than the Tigers with very high expectations for the football team this year and back to back baseball national championships. People in the state appear to be jumping on the bandwagon: 52% of voters say they're Carolina fans to only 25% who express support for Clemson. There's not much variability among demographics groups on that issue: pretty much everyone prefers the Cocks.
-The Falcons had a big head start in earning the loyalty of South Carolina NFL fans but the Panthers have more than overtaken them. 27% say the Panthers are their favorite team to only 10% for Falcons. No one else registers in double digits- it's the Cowboys at 9%, Steelers at 8%, Redskins at 5%, Colts and Giants at 4%, and Ravens at 2%.
-There is no doubt that South Carolina is Braves Country. 50% say Atlanta is their favorite MLB team and second place is the Yankees all the way back at 10%. That says a lot about who's moving to the state. Rounding out the list are the Red Sox at 5%, Orioles and Cubs at 3%, Reds and Cardinals at 2%, and Nationals at 1%.
Full results here