LATEST “FIRST IN THE SOUTH” POLLING SHOWS FLUID PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY …
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump continues to enjoy a big lead in early-voting South Carolina, but U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is mounting a ferocious challenge. Meanwhile retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson‘s campaign is in freefall – due in no small part to his crumbling support among evangelical voters in the Palmetto State.
From where are we drawing these conclusions? The latest edition of The Winthrop Poll, released this week.
According to the survey, Trump recorded the support of 24 percent of likely GOP voters – ahead of Cruz (16 percent) Carson (14 percent), U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (11 percent) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush (9 percent).
Meanwhile a new Fox News poll of South Carolina also released this week showed Trump drawing 35 percent support – putting him ahead of Carson (15 percent), Cruz (14 percent), Rubio (14 percent) and Bush (5 percent).
Here’s a look at the last year’s worth of aggregate polling data (including these two new surveys) courtesy of Real Clear Politics …
(Click to enlarge)
As you can see, Bush was the early South Carolina frontrunner – along with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who has since dropped out of the race.
“Trump leads across multiple categories of voters from a high of 35 percent among those who wish to create a database of Muslims in the U.S. to a low of 22 percent among evangelical Christians, who will make up nearly 60 percent of the S.C. GOP Presidential Primary electorate,” said Winthrop political scientist Scott Huffmon. “Ted Cruz is tied with Ben Carson at 17 percent among evangelicals. This is a significant drop for Carson among evangelicals. He registered 33 percent support among this group in a Monmouth Poll a month ago. It is worth noting that 1 in 5 evangelicals remain undecided.”
Also worth noting? The two candidates who have catered almost exclusively to evangelicals – former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania – are both completely out of contention in South Carolina.
Huckabee – who nearly won South Carolina eight years ago – is polling at just two percent, the same level of support as home state U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. Meanwhile Santorum was one of three “Republican” candidates who failed to register any support.
Winthrop’s latest poll surveyed 828 likely GOP primary voters between November 30 and December 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Obviously that’s before Trump dropped his latest bombshell on the presidential race – a call for the suspension of all Muslim immigration into the United States.
Fox’s poll surveyed 801 likely GOP primary voters between December 5-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.