Trump Widens GOP Lead in South Carolina Poll, Beats Biden by 15 Points

Momentum and voter enthusiasm are on the side of former President Donald Trump, according to the latest Winthrop University poll released Wednesday.

Not only has Trump extended his lead on former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley by 10 points, now leading her by 36 points (65% to 29%) among likely voters, he also leads incumbent President Joe Biden by 15 points, drawing a 50% majority support to Biden’s 35%.

South Carolina is a pivotal state for Haley and Biden against Trump, but the Winthrop Poll found neither with a narrative to support a real challenge in the state.

“In the late January Monmouth University/Washington Post Poll of voters in South Carolina, Trump had a 26-point lead,” Winthrop Poll Director Dr. Scott Huffmon wrote in his analysis of the results. “That poll also showed that Trump supporters were more enthusiastic than Haley supporters. This enthusiasm appears to have come to fruition in our poll of likely voters.

“On the heels of Trump’s victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the culling of the field of candidates, Trump’s lead among those likely to show up at the polls on Feb. 24 has increased to 36%.”

Haley has a silver lining in her home state, as she can still draw in independents and even Democrats to vote for her in an anti-Trump coalition. South Carolina has an open primary, but only voters who did not vote in the Democrat primary on Feb. 3 can vote in the Feb. 24 GOP primary.

Trump and his campaign have long rebuked Haley’s campaign appeal to Democrats to try to make up ground against him in the Republican presidential primary.

“Haley shows strength among independent likely voters but will need to convince many more independents who are sitting on the fence regarding participation to show up on Feb. 24 in order to cut into Trump’s lead,” Huffmon wrote. “Trump’s dominance among strong Republicans and self-identified Evangelicals will be hard to overcome.”

Haley has to rely on Democrats, as Trump has claimed, according to Huffmon, who admits “Republican Party is very much Trump’s party.”

“To the degree that there is any crossover voting, it is likely to help Haley; however, not only is crossover voting less prevalent than many partisans make it out to be, it would take quite a few crossover votes to cut into Trump’s lead,” Huffmon wrote. “That said, Haley has several avenues left to motivate voters. These include motivating on-the-fence independents as well as potential, if unlikely, crossover voters in order to cut Trump’s lead.”

Biden’s 2020 presidential primary victory began in South Carolina, and he rewarded the state with the first-in-the-nation Democrat primary this go-around, but the state is still firmly in Trump’s column in the poll.

Trump leads Biden by 15, and Biden does even worse against Haley in her home state, trailing by 18 points (47%-29%). Notably, Trump drew a higher percentage support (50%) than Haley did, though, as more voters were undecided in the hypothetical Biden-Haley matchup.

“Among current registered voters in South Carolina from all parties, Trump would beat Biden in South Carolina by at least 15 points while Haley would beat Biden by at least 18 points,” Huffmon wrote. “Neither of these numbers includes those who are undecided and cannot include those who will register to vote between now and the presidential election.”

South Carolina might be Haley’s last stand to challenge Trump in the GOP primary. Not only is it her home state with an open primary to pull in anti-Trump voters to try to close the gap, but Trump is already laying out plans to restock the Republican National Committee with his allies to fully take command of the party’s fundraising and financial apparatus.

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel has been rumored to be ousted after the South Carolina primary, with Trump telling Newsmax last week McDaniel “knows” it’s time to step down. That interview came on the same day McDaniel and Trump reportedly met at Mar-a-Lago.

The Winthrop Poll was conducted Feb. 2-10 among 1,717 registered voters and 749 likely GOP primary voters. The results have margins of error of plus/minus 2.36 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 3.58 percentage points for likely voters.

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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