'Red state' South Carolina gives Trump narrower lead than GOP is used to

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expected to win in South Carolina on Tuesday but experts believe he won't have the runaway victory his GOP predecessors enjoyed.

Since 1980, South Carolina has been an easy win for the GOP in presidential races. This year, the state isn't quite so red and that could have an impact beyond just the names at the top of the ticket.

Since the end of the primaries, Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton haven't spent much time in the Palmetto State.

“It’s not normally ‘in play’ in the general election,” Dr. Scott Huffmon, a Winthrop university political scientist said.

The state is usually a lock for the GOP.

"You would expect a generic Republican to beat a generic Democrat by about 10 points in the final polls," Huffmon said.

However, Trump is anything but a generic candidate.

He has a core of strong supporters, but not at the level that past candidates from his party have counted on.

The evidence appears to be in the state tracking polls.

"Trump is not as far ahead as Mitt Romney was, or as John McCain was," Huffmon said.

The difference in the 2016 race is dramatic.

George W. Bush won South Carolina in 2004 by more than 17 percent.

McCain won the state in 2008 by 9 percent, and Romney took it four years ago by 10.5 percent.

Some polls show Trump beating Clinton by only 4 percentage points.

Huffmon said Clinton has little chance of winning in South Carolina, but a lower turnout due to a lack of voter enthusiasm, or a higher turnout for one party or the other, could swing local races, which are often decide by a few hundred or even a few dozen votes.

Despite a closer presidential race in South Carolina, Trump is banking on the state, and Clinton isn't pushing to win there.

Their focus is on on the battleground states.

"It’s the purple states Donald Trump is going to lose this presidency on, if he cannot flip them," Huffmon said.