CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — A new Winthrop University poll gives insight into who South Carolina voters are supporting for the GOP Presidential Primary. Over 1,600 registered voters in the state participated in the poll, with 626 identified as Republican.
Winthrop’s Poll Director Scott Huffmon said polling was finishing when Sen. Tim Scott announced that he is ending his presidential run, so his numbers are still included. It turns out, he was gaining traction with 10% of South Carolina Republicans supporting him, compared to 6% the month before.
However, Sen. Scott was still in fourth place, with a large distance between him and former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the race at 52%. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley currently sits in second place receiving 17% of South Carolina Republican support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is behind her at 12%.
Huffmon said while the numbers for both Haley and DeSantis have remained steady from the last poll, the latest GOP debate took place right in the middle of polling which could have an impact.
Only half the poll was conducted after the debate so we wouldn’t be able to pick up any bumps,” Huffmon said. “Debates have been really important to Nikki Haley — her strong performance in debates has resulted in people looking up who she is. Even the Google metrics after her first debate performance showed a lot of people Googling who she was to find out for the first time because of that performance.”
According to the poll, Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum received a combined total of 5%. Huffmon said the question now becomes whether Scott’s supporters will shift their focus to Haley or a different candidate.
“Tim Scott’s personality couldn’t be more different from Donald Trump’s so there’s a good chance that Scott’s voters won’t necessarily jump in behind Trump,” Huffmon said. “We just don’t know where they are going to go yet, and Nikki Haley if she could get them and get some more independents to show up at the primary that would strengthen her chances.”
The fourth GOP Presidential Primary Debate is on Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The debate will be moderated by Megyn Kelly and Elizabeth Vargas and will air at 8 p.m. on NewsNation.