The AP and the New York Times call it a “rout,” and the Washington Post and Politico describe it as “an overwhelming victory.” Barack Obama won 55 percent in the South Carolina Democratic primary today, taking 44 of 46 counties and receiving more votes than every candidate combined in the 2004 primary.
Obama did it pulling together a historic coalition of black and white voters. According to exits polls, he won nearly a quarter of white voters and took a whoppin’ 80 percent of black votes.
His biggest margin of victory was in Richland County, home to the state capital of Columbia, where he won by nearly 25,000 votes. But he also won over 70 percent in five counties: Jasper, Williamsburg, Marion, Lee and Sumter (It’s interesting that the names of two of those counties – Lee and Sumter – pay homage to the Civil War, which I might note was sparked in Charleston Harbor).
In its Political Geography feature, the Post called “The Midlands” a key battleground because it “has the highest percentage of Democrats in the state.” Loosely defined, it’s a band whose northern border stretches from around Rock Hill near the North Carolina border down to McCormick on the Georgia border.
The southern border of the Midlands arcs from around Allendale County on the Savannah River, which Ambinder once noted is the poorest county in this poor state, to Dillon County on the North Carolina border. As the Times’ map shows, Obama did great in the Midlands.
Hillary Clinton and John Edwards ended up winning one county each. Hillary won Horry County, the home of Myrtle Beach, and Edwards took Seneca County, where he was born. Hillary couldn’t wait to get out the state and by 7:30 p.m. was “wheels up” (in advance staffer lingo) to Nashville, Tenn., which is a good 400 miles from Columbia.
TIME’s Halperin notes that she’ll stay in the Volunteer State and do an event in Memphis tomorrow, while Obama will shoot down to Macon, Ga. and Birmingham Ala. and Edwards will make an appearance in Dublin, Ga.
On a side note, I always have considered South Carolina barbecue to be mustard-based. North Carolina (East Carolina really) is vinegar-based and Memphis is tomato-based. But the map I have below of South Carolina que styles shows that Memphis and North Carolina have a strong influence on the Palmetto State. Looks like Edwards did well in the Memphis region while Clinton (whose style is all vinegar) won a county in the North Carolina area.
South Carolina Barbecue
South Carolina’s Midlands (Washington Post)
Electoral Map of Barack Obama in South Carolina (Washington Post)
Electoral Map of Hillary Clinton in South Carolina (Washington Post)
Electoral Map of John Edwards in South Carolina (Washington Post)
Barack’s Obama Margin of Victory in South Carolina (New York Times)
Race in South Carolina
Darker purple means more African-American.
South Carolina Electoral Map, 2004