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POLL: Clemson University South Carolina Primary


A new Clemson University Palmetto Poll of 900 likely primary voters (story, results) in South Carolina (conducted 11/14 through 11/27) finds:

  • Among 450 Republicans, former Gov. Mitt Romney edges out former Sen. Fred Thompson (17% to 15%) in a statewide primary; former Gov. Mike Huckabee trails at 13%, Sen. John McCain at 11%, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 9%, Rep. Ron Paul at 6%.
  • Among 450 Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton narrowly leads Sen. Barack Obama (19% to 17%) in a statewide primaryl former Sen. John Edwards trails at 12%.
  • All other candidates receive less than five percent each.

 

Comments
Anonymous:

something's wrong with these numbers because this has more than fifty percent undecided. Clearly there is not more than half the electorate in south carolina undecided.

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Nothing "wrong"-- the poll just let huge numbers of people say they hadn't made up their mind!

The release quotes the question wording as "If the 2008 presidential primary in South Carolina were held today, for whom would you vote?"

There is no indication whether the question LISTED the candidate choices or forced respondents to think of names on their own. That would make a difference. Further there was apparently no follow up to get "leaners" accounted for.

This is a good example of the kind of academic poll (commercial pollsters seem to NEVER do this) that deliberately chooses to allow respondents to remain"undecided". The academics who do this seem to believe that this is more revealing of how unsettled the preferences are and is therefore a more realistic view of how malleable opinion is. I see their point, but it makes the poll virtually unusable because it is so far out of line with more conventional polls that push for a direction of preference.

Given how volatile preferences can be once the voting actually begins, the academics may have a good point, but the 50% undecided isn't very helpful for knowing how opinion is forming.

Charles

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