Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 16:33 UK

State profile: South Carolina

South Carolina map
South Carolina, like much of the rest of the south, used to be a core Democrat state, but is now solidly Republican.

The GOP picked up the governorship in 2002, and its second Senate seat in 2004. George W Bush won here comfortably in 2000 and 2004, and the state is almost certain to vote for John McCain again in 2008.

Population: 4,321,249 (ranked 24 among states)
Governor: Mark Sanford (R)
Electoral College votes: 8
South Carolina remains divided between the rich, coastal resorts such as Charleston on one side, and inland pockets of rural poverty on the other.

Wages are just below the national average, largely the result of South Carolina's aggressive courting of industry since the 1970s.

Attracted by the state's minimal unionisation and low taxes, several major employers came to the region, most notably BMW, who built their first US assembly plant in Spartanburg in 1992.

House of Representatives:
2 Democrat, 4 Republican
Senate: 2 Republican

The racial discrimination and segregation that defined the state for so long has faded, although past antagonisms resurfaced during the debate in 2000 about whether to keep the Confederate flag flying on the South Carolina statehouse. The flag was removed after a threatened boycott from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.

2004: 58%, Kerry 41%
2000: Bush 57%, Gore 41%
1996: Dole 50%, Clinton 44%

The issue remains so sensitive that the flag still flies in front of the Capitol and presidential candidates are forced to tread a fine line on the subject of race relations in the state.

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Electoral College votes

Winning post 270
Obama - Democrat
McCain - Republican
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