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04/16/2014

Winthrop Poll: S.C. on Graham, Obama, Retirement $, Alzheimer's

Quick Facts

 Since the last Winthrop Poll of the general population—with breakouts of registered voters—took place in Oct. 2013, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s approval rating among all respondents has gone up 3.1%, within the margin of error—(42.8% now, 39.7% in Oct. 2013).
 At the same time, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, facing his first election for the Senate, received an approval rating among all those polled of 43.1%.

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Scott Huffmon
Almost 50% of Registered Voters Approve of How Gov. Nikki Haley is Doing Her Job

43% Approve of How U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is Doing His Job, While Only 18% Disapprove

And Nearly 40% Give a Thumbs-Up to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham With Approval and Disapproval More Closely Divided

Meanwhile, More Than 50% of All Respondents Disapprove of Pres. Barack Obama's Job Performance

And Almost 40% of South Carolina Retirees Say They Don’t Have Enough Money to Live as Comfortably as They Hoped

And Nearly 18% of All Those Polled Have a Parent, Sibling or Spouse with Alzheimer’s or Dementia of Some Kind


ROCK HILL, S.C. - The results of the April 2014 Winthrop Poll of 877 adults living in South Carolina are in. The survey was in the field from April 6-13, 2014. After weights (for sex, age, and race) have been applied, results which use all respondents have a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.3% at the 95% confidence level. Results that use less than the full sample will naturally have a higher margin of error.

Since the last Winthrop Poll of the general population—with breakouts of registered voters—took place in Oct. 2013, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s approval rating among all respondents has gone up 3.1%, within the margin of error—(42.8% now, 39.7% in Oct. 2013). Meanwhile, his approval rating among registered voters during the same period ticked up 2.2%--again within the margin of error (39.6% now, 37.4% in Oct 2013.).

And while Graham’s disapproval rating among registered voters is higher than his approval rating with the same group (43.8% disapproval vs. 39.6% approval), Poll Director Scott Huffmon cautioned that the difference between the two is just at the margin of error for the registered voter sample.

At the same time, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, facing his first election for the Senate, received an approval rating among all those polled of 43.1%. Huffmon noted in the context of his disapproval and ‘no opinion’ numbers, the 43.1% figure should not be regarded as being low, since his approval among all respondents is 25.5 percentage points above his disapproval number. Huffmon said that the most interesting factor is that more than one-third of respondents still do not know enough about Sen. Scott to form an opinion even as he prepares for an election.

Other Winthrop Poll findings include:

*President Barack Obama’s job approval remains low among South Carolinians as he posted a 37.8% approval rating in the latest poll— while lower than his approval numbers from the general population poll in October 2013, the almost 3 percentage point drop is within the margin of error.

*Among registered voters surveyed, Gov. Nikki Haley’s approval rating is almost 10 percentage points higher than her disapproval rating (49.3% vs. 39.6%). Among all those surveyed, her approval rating is almost 15 percentage points higher than her disapproval rating (49.8% vs. 35.0%).

*When asked what the most important problem facing the U.S. today is, the economy/economic-financial crisis was the #1 response. Despite the fact that news reports are asking whether another Cold War is imminent based on what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine, only 0.5% identified them as the most important problem facing the U.S.

*Education and jobs/unemployment switched first and second positions in the last six months when it comes to what respondents identified as the most important problem facing South Carolina. While education received the most responses in the current poll (18.5 % now compared with 14.5% in October 2013), in the fall it was jobs or unemployment that was most frequently mentioned (17.5% now compared with 19.6% in Oct. 2013).

*42.3% of all respondents strongly, or somewhat strongly, felt that generations of slavery and discrimination make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class. However 52.2% of all respondents strongly, or somewhat strongly, do not feel that this is the case.

*62.1% of all those polled felt positive, or somewhat positive, when asked about BMW. The company recently announced that it plans on investing $1 billion to expand its operation in the Upstate, with the expectation that this will bring 800 additional jobs to the state by 2016.

*Boeing also garnered impressive numbers. When asked their feelings towards Boeing, almost 60% said they had either very positive—or somewhat positive--reaction to the company.

*When those polled were asked if they currently had a parent, sibling or spouse suffering from Alzheimer’s, or some other form of dementia, 17.9% said yes. Of those, almost three-quarters reside in South Carolina.

*Twenty states and D.C. now permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons. When South Carolinians were asked if they thought doctors should be allowed to prescribe actual marijuana for medical purposes to treat their patients, 71.6% of all those polled said they should, while registered voters responded yes 66.7% of the time. However, nearly 6 in 10 oppose the legalization of marijuana for personal use.

*Among retirees polled, almost 40% of all respondents said they did not have enough retirement savings or pension, when combined with other retirement income, to live as comfortably as they had hoped.

*Among those polled who have not yet retired, over one-third (33.9%) said they, or their spouse, were not currently putting money into a specific account dedicated to their retirement.

*Over 90% of all respondents said they did not consider themselves to be members of the Tea Party movement. 90.7% of registered voters said the same. (Please see interpretative note under Question T-29 for important context).

This Winthrop Poll, which is partially underwritten by the John C. West Forum at Winthrop, contains a significant number of social questions. See additional information on methodology here.

For questions and responses, check here.

For more information or to set up an interview with Poll Director Scott Huffmon, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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