Donald Trump leads the ballot by a 2:1 margin, but three other candidates emerge as contenders.
South Carolina 2024 Presidential Primary Poll Findings
National Public Affairs conducted a poll among likely 2024 Presidential primary voters from April 11 to April 14, 2023. We collected responses from 538 voters via landlines, text-to-web and online panel.
Former President Trump leads the ballot test by a 2 to 1 margin.
The horserace paints a simple dynamic – only three candidates exceed double digit support: Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. While Donald Trump leads DeSantis by over a 2:1 margin, DeSantis and Haley are basically in a two-way contest for second place at the moment. Tim Scott is the only other candidate that registers a number outside the margin of error.
Three candidates emerge as contenders behind Trump…
While the ballot test provides a baseline, it may not be so simple: the contours of the field begin to emerge when we ask primary voters to rate the extent to which they would consider voting for each candidate on a scale of 1 to 7.
Despite holding a clear lead on the ballot, former President Trump shares a nearly equal vote consideration with Governor DeSantis– 67% and 66%, respectively. However, Trump’s support is notably more intense—40% say they almost certainly would consider voting for him. In contrast, only 20% say they would almost certainly consider voting for DeSantis. On the flip side, Liz Cheney and Chris Christie have the highest percentage of voters who would not consider voting for them at all
Who stands to benefit if (and when) candidates drop out or decide not to run?
Based on primary voters’ likelihood to consider voting for any given candidate, our team ran correlations to decipher overlapping consideration between candidates. The below table shows the top 4 candidates and those with whom they are or are not sharing vote consideration.
Haley and Scott are the most correlated candidates – and therefore would most likely benefit from the other dropping out. But based on this analysis, at this time, Governor DeSantis has the most growth potential because of the overlapping, positive correlations he has with multiple, high-performing candidates. If he can maintain his positive image, he will likely disproportionally benefit from others leaving (or not entering) the race. That said, this analysis also points to President Trump being able to solidify and expand his lead with any deterioration in Governor DeSantis‘s support.
Ukraine, the debt ceiling, and TikTok ban
In addition to surveying the South Carolina Republican primary voters on the 2024 field, National Public Affairs also tested voter sentiment on a series of issues. Republican primary voters agree that the U.S. is sending too much aid to Ukraine; the debt limit should not be increased unless spending is addressed; and TikTok should be banned.
The United States has sent hundreds of millions worth of humanitarian, financial and military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Do you think the US is providing…
A narrow majority say we are providing too much support for Ukraine. Trump supporters are significantly more likely (64%) to say the same. In contrast, a plurality (40%) of Haley supporters say we are sending about the right amount of support.
A firm majority of primary voters do not favor a debt limit increase unless spending cuts are part of the equation. While this far outstrips the 21 percent of voters who do not wish to see default under any circumstances, 19 percent remain unsure.
Overall, South Carolina Republican primary voters are on board with banning Tik Tok, largely driven by voters over the age of 45. While only about one fifth of 18-44 year olds have used TikTok in the past two days, the majority (55%) oppose the ban.
The sample size for the survey is 538 likely 2024 Republican Presidential primary voters in South Carolina. Interviews were collected via landlines, SMS/text messaging to web and online panel. The margin of error is +/- 4.2%. Interviews were conducted April 11 – 14th, 2023. Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.