Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton maintain leads in South Carolina polling

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 8:33 AM

click to enlarge TEFLON DONALD: Trump maintains big polling lead in South Carolina. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • TEFLON DONALD: Trump maintains big polling lead in South Carolina.
The first major poll of South Carolina released after the weekend's debate shows Donald Trump maintaining a big lead. A lot of pundits said that Trump hurt himself at the debate, by giving an angry repudiation of George W. Bush's presidency, saying that the Iraq War was a "big, fat mistake" and that the Bush administration "lied" about weapons of mass destruction. When other candidates, including W's brother, said that Bush "kept us safe," Trump asserted that Bush was president on September 11. This statement is true, but it is part of Republican dogma that the "keep us safe" test only counts for the period of Bush's presidency after 9-11. 

My sense after the debate was that Trump did just fine. GOP elites and pundits in the media have consistently overestimated how much staying true to Republican orthodoxy actually matters to the GOP primary voters backing Donald Trump. The latest South Carolina poll, from Public Policy Polling, might hint that Teflon Donald was undamaged by his rants about Bush. Trump leads the pack, with the battle for second tightening: 

Donald Trump: 35 percent
Ted Cruz: 18 percent 
Marco Rubio: 18 percent
John Kasich: 10 percent
 Jeb Bush: 7 percent  
Ben Carson: 7 percent
Undecided: 6 percent

The poll was last conducted in November; Trump has gained 10 points since then. I suspect that Bush can sneak into the top four, but if not, the pressure will once again be high for him to drop out. If Rubio pulls off a second-place finish, we'll no doubt hear more silly "Marcomentum" stories. Hell, we'll probably hear them even if Bronze Medal Marco finishes third — Rubio gave a bizarre victory speech after finishing third in Iowa. 

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton still holds a big lead over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina according to the same poll, leading 55-34. It is undeniably the case that Sanders is a strong candidate who has closed the gap in national polling and in a number of key states, but I don't know that the big-picture story of this race has moved all that much in the last few weeks. Sanders is dominating among younger voters and left-wing white voters. That gives him a big leg up in certain states — and two of them voted first, helping the momentum story — but Clinton still has significant leads in lots of other states. Sanders cannot win unless he expands his base of support, particularly to non-white voters. The PPP poll found that Sanders and Clinton were tied among South Carolina white voters, but Clinton had a 63-23 lead among black voters. 

There has been narrative reporting about Sanders making inroads to black voters and establishing a strong ground game in South Carolina, but until that shows up in polling data, Clinton has to be considered an extremely heavy favorite in the Palmetto State.

No doubt the "momentum" if Clinton wins big in South Carolina thanks to her structural advantage will be as over-reported as the momentum from Sanders' big win in New Hampshire. This remains a highly competitive race, a testament to the energy from the party's left wing. 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • Transgender electrician may sue employer over her firing

    Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has ruled that Patricia Dawson, a transgender woman, may pursue her lawsuit that she was wrongfully fired by her employer, H & H Electric, because of her sex.
    • Sep 16, 2015
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016
  • The plight of the refugees: Dark episodes in Arkansas

    Ernest Dumas reaches into history, some personal, for moments in Arkansas's view of refugees. It was brought to mind by the current crisis in Europe and the political divisions over whether the U.S. should respond to the needs of the displaced.
    • Sep 22, 2015

Most Shared

  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Most Viewed

  • The Jack Jones, Marcel Williams execution thread

    The Arkansas Department of Correction is planning for the first double execution in the U.S. in 16 years tonight. Jack Jones, 52,  and Marcell Williams, 46, are scheduled to die by lethal injection. They would be the second and third prisoners put to death as part of a hurried schedule Governor Hutchinson set in advance of the state's supply of one of the three drugs used in the execution protocol expiring on April 30.
  • Lee's lawyer writes about executed man's last hours

    Lee Short, the lawyer for Ledell Lee, the man Arkansas put to death just before midnight last night, posted on Facebook the following letter of thanks for personal support and a bit about Lee's last hours, distributing his possessions and talking to family.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation