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South Carolina Republicans View Trump as More Electable and Suitable Than Haley: Initial Exit Polling

Credits: Los Angeles Times

In South Carolina’s GOP primary, former President Donald Trump significantly outperformed former Governor Nikki Haley among Republican voters, according to preliminary exit poll results. This preference underscores the challenges Haley faces within her home state.

A decisive 72% of participants expressed satisfaction with Trump as the GOP nominee, compared to 41% for Haley. Trump’s perceived strengths extended to key issues like the economy and border security, where he led Haley 70-28% and 73-25%, respectively.

Additionally, an overwhelming 83% of voters believed Trump likely to win in November, a stark contrast to 55% for Haley, despite her campaign efforts.

(Credits: CBS News)

Trump’s appeal in South Carolina is partly attributed to the demographic and ideological makeup of the state’s Republican voters. Notably, 61% of these voters identify as evangelical white Christians, a group that has strongly supported Trump.

The primary’s electorate was predominantly conservative, with 80% identifying as such, including 43% who are very conservative. Haley has historically performed better among independents and moderates, groups less prevalent in South Carolina’s GOP primary compared to New Hampshire.

The state’s conservative lean is further evidenced by views on immigration, the 2020 election’s legitimacy, abortion, and dissatisfaction with the current administration.

Trump’s structural advantages in South Carolina are clear, with 91% of his supporters voting for him based on preference rather than opposition to Haley. In contrast, Haley’s support was more divided, with 59% voting for her as their primary choice.

Despite Trump’s widespread support, only 45% of voters identify with the “MAGA movement,” and questions about age and mental competency, raised by Haley’s campaign, did not significantly impact voter preferences.

Voters prioritized immigration, the economy, foreign policy, and abortion in their decision-making, with financial concerns and negative assessments of the national economy highlighting areas of strong Trump support.

Voters sought candidates who “fight for people like me” and share their values, with most having decided on their candidate last year, indicating deeply entrenched preferences.

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