Monday, June 18, 2007

Obama leads Dems in SC presidential poll

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Barack Obama leads the Democratic presidential field in South Carolina, while Fred Thompson is challenging Rudy Giuliani for the top spot among Republican contenders, according to a new poll.

Obama, the Illinois senator who has drawn thousands of supporters to recent appearances in this early voting state, had the support of 34 percent of likely Democratic voters, compared to 25 percent for his nearest rival, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. South Carolina native John Edwards, who won the primary here in 2004, garnered only 12 percent of support in the Mason-Dixon poll.

The poll was conducted June 13-15 among 329 likely Democratic and 432 likely Republican primary voters. The poll has a sampling error margin among Democrats of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points and of plus or minus 5 percentage points among Republicans.

Thompson, an actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, had the support of 25 percent of the respondents despite not yet formally declaring his candidacy. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was his closest competition, with 21 percent of support.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has built a strong campaign organization here, had 11 percent. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has garnered considerable endorsements from South Carolina GOP officials, earned only 7 percent.

The results are somewhat surprising because the Republican candidates have been visiting South Carolina for months, while Thompson -- who plans to be in South Carolina next week -- has yet to campaign here this primary season.
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