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Donald Trump Continues to Lead in South Carolina

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Former and potentially future President Donald Trump continues to lead in polls out of South Carolina, the third state to vote in the 2024 primaries. This is despite how former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) is also running. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), as Katie reported earlier on Wednesday, announced his exploratory committee. 


The most recent poll out of the state, also released on Wednesday, comes from Winthrop University, showing Trump with 41 percent among Republican voters, putting him at the top of the nine declared or potential candidates. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who has not yet declared but is expected to do so once the Florida state legislature session ends next month, finishes with a distant second at 20 percent. Closely behind him is Haley with her 18 percent. Scott comes in fourth with 7 percent. 

"Trump is riding high and doubling support over the next candidate in the field. Haley shows more than quadruple her support compared to national polls, but that should be expected on her home turf. While DeSantis is viewed as the singular alternative to Trump in national polls, the real story here is that Haley and DeSantis are in a statistical dead heat in what could be a firewall for Haley when voting rolls around," said Winthrop Poll Director Dr. Scott Huffmon in the poll's write-up. 

The poll also asks respondents about how they view Trump and Haley. A plurality of Republican voters say they have a "very favorable" view of Trump at 45 percent, while 29 percent say they have a "somewhat favorable" view. Haley's favorable numbers are similar, in that 40 percent of Republican voters have a "very favorable" view of her, and 33 percent have a "somewhat favorable view."


Respondents were also asked whether they approve of the job Sen. Scott is doing. Among all respondents, a plurality approve, at 47 percent. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans approve of his job performance. Interestingly, among all respondents, more respondents are likely to say they're not sure (28 percent) than disapprove (25 percent).

The poll was conducted March 25-April 1 and included a subgroup of 485 registered to vote Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.45 percent. 

An interactive piece from POLITICO on declared and potential candidates regards Trump and DeSantis as "favorites," while Haley is a "contender" and Scott is considered a "long shot." 

Any winning path that Haley and Scott comes from winning South Carolina. "A win in South Carolina’s primary — third after Iowa and New Hampshire — would go a long way to vaulting Haley into the top tier," it read.  The same goes for Scott, with his winning path possibilities mentioning that "showing strength in South Carolina could vault him into contention elsewhere."

As a FiveThirtyEight roundup of polling out of South Carolina shows, Trump has led DeSantis in every poll. With the exception of a poll from January from Moore Information, when Trump led by 7 percent, he's led DeSantis by double digits. 


Although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has campaigned with Trump, he retweeted Scott's exploratory committee announcement video and expressed well wishes for his fellow South Carolinians in a thread. 

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