Donald Trump seems to be gaining momentum after his win in the New Hampshire primary according to a number of new polls of the South Carolina Primary. The polls from CNN/ORC, the South Carolina House Republican Caucus, ARG, and PPP were released today and yesterday. Every poll has Trump with at least a double-digit lead in South Carolina, and some show Trump increasing his lead in recent days.
South Carolina is important as many see it as the “tiebreaker” between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who each respectively won the New Hampshire Primary and Iowa Caucus. Historically, South Carolina also has a good record, correctly picking the eventual Republican Party nominee from 1980-2008, though South Carolina did miss in 2012 by picking Newt Gingrich.
A CNN/ORC poll released yesterday has Trump with 38 percent support in South Carolina, compared to 22 percent for Ted cruz, 14 percent for Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush with 10 percent. That poll has one of the smaller sample sizes (404 likely voters) of the four polls released in South Carolina over the last week, which gives it a margin of error of +/-5.0 percentage points. The CNN poll also has Trump with the smallest lead (16 percent).
A South Carolina House Republican Caucus poll released today has Trump with 34 percent support, compared to 16 percent for Cruz, 15 percent for Rubio, and 15 percent for Jeb Bush. The SC House Republican Caucus Poll is a tracking poll, and over the last three days that poll has the results relatively unchanged. Trump has gone from 35 percent to 34 percent over the last few days, Cruz has stayed steady at 16 percent, Rubio has gone from 13 percent to 15 percent, and Bush has gone from 13 percent to 15 percent. The South Carolina House Republican Caucus poll has the largest sample size (1700 likely voters) of all the polls recently released, giving it a margin-of-error of just +/-2.4 percent.
An American Research Group (ARG) poll released today has Trump leading with 33 percent support, compared to 16 percent for Rubio and 14 percent for Ted Cruz. John Kasich comes in fourth with 14 percent support in the ARG poll, and Jeb Bush polls at only 9 percent. Like the CNN/ORC poll, the ARG poll has a small samples size of just 400 likely voters, which gives it a margin of error of +/-5.0 percentage points.
Finally, a Public Policy Polling survey released yesterday has Trump leading at 35 percent. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tie for second at 18 percent, and John Kasich comes in fourth at 10 percent. The PPP survey has the second largest sample size of all the recently released polls, with 897 likely voters. The poll has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
Taken together, the polls are unanimous in having Trump not only as the leader in South Carolina, but a dominant leader with double the support of the second place candidate in many cases. A Real Clear Politics Average of four polls released over the last week now has Trump with 35.0 percent support, compared to 17.5 percent for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio with 15.8 percent support, Jeb Bush with 10.3 percent support, and John Kasich with 9.0 percent support.
In Nate Silver’s projection of the race, which takes into account not only the polls but their recency and the weight of endorsement, Trump is given a 73 percent chance of winning the South Carolina primary.Marco Rubio is given only a 14 percent chance of winning South Carolina according to Silver, and Ted Cruz is given just an 11 percent chance of winning. Trump’s odds have improved greatly over the last two weeks according to Silver.