A new poll released by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that the 2016 presidential race in South Carolina may be a close one.
The results released Thursday by the PPP show Republican nominee Donald Trump leads the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by only 2 percentage points in four-way match up that includes independent candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. In the poll, Donald Trump holds a 41 percent lead to Hillary Clinton’s 39 percent across the state.
The poll was commissioned by the South Carolina Democratic Party, which touted its results Thursday.
“These poll results confirm what has been apparent to me for quite some time: South Carolinians are rejecting the failed policies of the Republican Party and the dangerous divisiveness of their leader, Donald Trump,” SCDP Chairman Jaime Harrison said.
PPP also found 5 percent support for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and 2 percent support for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
The progressive lean to issues is highlighted by how voters view each candidate. South Carolina voters disapprove of both candidates. Clinton’s approval ratings (38 percent approve/55 percent disapprove) do not outshine Donald Trump’s ( 38 percent/56 percent) at all. Despite the nearly equal (dis)approval rankings, Democrats are more willing to vote for Hillary Clinton than Republicans intend to vote for Donald Trump. Clinton is winning 84 percent of the Democratic vote while Trump is only pulling in 77 percent of Republicans.
“We’re seeing that part of the closeness is a function of Democrats being a lot happier with their party’s candidate than Republicans are with theirs,” PPP polling analyst Jim Williams told South Carolina Radio Network. Williams noted a significant age gap as well. Among those aged 65 and older, Trump has a large 58-30 advantage. For those below age 65, Clinton has a 41-36 advantage.
The poll suggests that progressive issues are gaining traction among voters in South Carolina. For example, 84 percent of all voters in the state said they support background checks on “every person who wants to buy a firearm,” including 82 percent of those identifying themselves as Republican-leaning. 77 percent of those surveyed also believe the minimum wage should be increased to at least $10 per hour, compared with just 21 percent who said it should stay the same or be eliminated.
The small margin that Trump holds over Clinton is not restricted to this poll. The statistics based political website FiveThirtyEight.com shows that Trump’s lead over Clinton in South Carolina has been cut in half. On July 30th their calculations showed that Donald Trump’s chances of winning South Carolina were 84.9 percent, at the time of PPP’s poll Trump’s chances dropped to 60.3 percent. In that same time-span Hillary Clinton chances went from 15.1 percent of winning the election to 39.2 percent on August 10th.
The PPP poll also shows that South Carolina voters view their current Republican politicians less favorably than they did before. Governor Nikki Haley held 56 percent approval from voters last November but that level of support has shrunk to 48 percent of voters in the most recent poll. Additionally, 30 percent of South Carolina voters approve of Senator Lindsey Graham while 54 percent of voters disapprove of the senior senator.