… OR SO SAYS “GOP” STRATEGIST KARL ROVE
Last spring we had some fun mocking a Barack Obama operative who claimed that South Carolina would be a “swing state” in the 2012 presidential election.
Well guess what … a year later veteran “Republican” political strategist Karl Rove has concurred with that assessment. In fact, according to Rove’s latest “Polling News and Notes” analysis, the Palmetto State is one of six “toss-up” states that could determine the outcome of the 2012 race.
Wait … South Carolina? Surely Rove meant North Carolina, which supported Obama in 2008. Right?
Nope … according to Rove’s first “2012 Electoral College Map,” the Palmetto State and its nine electoral votes aren’t a lock for GOP nominee Mitt Romney. In fact South Carolina isn’t even on the list of states that are “leaning Romney.”
Take a look …
(Click to enlarge)
“There are 18 states (220 Electoral College votes) where Obama has a solid lead and 15 states (93 EC votes) polling solidly for Romney,” Rove writes. “There are six states with a combined 82 EC votes classified as “toss-?ups” (IA, FL, MO, NC, SC, VA); five states (MI,NH, NV, OH, PA) with a combined 64 EC votes that “lean” Obama; and six states (AZ, GA, KY, SD, TN, TX) with a combined 79 EC votes that “lean” Romney.”
“In other words, there are 17 states and a total of 225 Electoral College votes up for grabs,” Rove concludes.
Sure … but SOUTH CAROLINA???
The Palmetto State has been a Republican stronghold for decades. In 2008, it supported John McCain over Obama by a 54-44 percent margin. Before that it backed former President George W. Bush (Rove’s ex-boss) by a 58-40 percent margin over John Kerry and a 57 -40 percent margin over Al Gore.
Even Bob Dole – one of the worst candidates the Republican Party has ever nominated – carried South Carolina by a 50-44 percent margin over Bill Clinton in 1996
The last time a Democrat won the Palmetto State’s electoral votes? Nearly forty years ago when Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford by a 56-43 percent margin in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
There have been signs of trouble for the GOP in recent months. Last December, a Winthrop University poll taken showed that Obama’s approval rating was ten points higher than S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s approval rating – a statistic which probably didn’t do Romney any favors in South Carolina.
“This isn’t surprising,” Democratic operative Tyler Jones said of the Rove map. ” The level of contempt for flip-flopper Mitt Romney was evident when South Carolina Republicans rejected him in the Presidential Primary in January.”
Jones added that “Romney doesn’t have a base in South Carolina.”
“Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike understand that he is a candidate without a core, and will say anything to get elected,” he says.
SCGOP executive director Matt Moore says he’s not worried about Rove’s projections.
“Unicorns, the tooth fairy, and flying pigs … these things are about as real as Obama’s chance of winning South Carolina,” Moore said.