John McCain Captures South Carolina, Pro-Life Voters Back Mike Huckabee

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 20, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain Captures South Carolina, Pro-Life Voters Back Mike Huckabee Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 20,

Columbia, SC ( — John McCain captured another primary election victory in South Carolina on Saturday night, but pro-life voters there favored Mike Huckabee and put him in a close second place finish. Fred Thompson made his last stand in the southern state and came in third while Mitt Romney, who won in Nevada, finished in fourth place.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, McCain received 33 percent of the vote and Huckabee followed with 30 percent. Thompson received 16 percent of the Republican vote, just ahead of Romney, who finished with 15 percent.

Ron Paul led the three candidates that finished in the low single digits. He got just four percent of the Republican vote while Rudy Giuliani received two percent and Duncan Hunter failed to reach one percent of the vote in South Carolina.

Exit polling data showed that McCain finished better than Huckabee and had the support of a sizable percentage of pro-life voters but Huckabee received more support from those who oppose abortion and, especially, those who most strongly oppose abortion.

Some 69 percent of South Carolina Republicans said abortion should be illegal and Mike Huckabee captured 35 percent of those voters to 26 percent for McCain. Thompson got 17 percent of the pro-life vote thank to endorsements from leading pro-life groups and Romney got 14 percent.

McCain finished better among the small 29 percent of Republicans who support legalized abortion. He received the support of 45 percent of such voters while Romney got 20 percent, Huckabee 12 percent and Thompson 10 percent.

The pro-life vote split with 42 percent saying most abortions should be illegal and 27 percent saying all abortions should be illegal. Huckabee received the backing of a whopping 44 percent of those who say no abortions should be legal while McCain had just 21 percent and Thompson 17 percent.

McCain tied with Huckabee at 30 percent among the group of pro-life voters saying most abortions should be illegal while Romney and Thompson received 17 percent each.

Huckabee, as he has done in previous states, did well among women voters getting 30 percent of their support while he received just 26 percent among men. McCain fared better with women than men as well while the other candidates followed trends from previous primary votes by doing better with male voters.

McCain performed better among older voters while Huckabee did best with younger voters, churchgoers backed Huckabee while others backer McCain, Protestants backed Huckabee while McCain received most of the Catholic vote.

McCain won the independent vote while he and Huckabee tied among Republican voters. Conservatives trended towards Huckabee while moderate and liberal Republicans favored McCain.