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.
South Carolina remains divided between the rich, coastal resorts such as Charleston on one side, and inland pockets of rural poverty on the other.
Population: 4,321,249 (ranked 24 among states)
Governor: Mark Sanford (R)
Electoral College votes: 8
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.
Are you in South Carolina? Will you be voting in 2008? How do you plan to vote? Send us your comments and predictions using the form below.
The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.