Latest Winthrop Poll Results Cover Health Care and Reparations

April 25, 2019


  • A third of Winthrop Poll respondents said they are strongly in favor of getting their health coverage from a single government plan, while 38% strongly oppose.
  • Concerning reparations, 59% of S.C. residents said they would not be in favor of paying descendants of American slaves to make up for the harm caused by slavery.

Winthrop PollROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – South Carolina residents find themselves split on the direction the country needs to take with health care, much like many other Americans, according to the latest Winthrop Poll.

A third of respondents said they are strongly in favor of getting their health coverage from a single government plan, while 38% strongly oppose. 

One solution that could work – and is supported by more than half of S.C. residents - is a government administered health plan where individuals could keep the coverage they have if they prefer. This was a favorable method in a national poll taken by the Kaiser Family Foundationin January 2019.

Nearly three-quarters of S.C. respondents were in favor of allowing people who don’t get health insurance at work to buy insurance through their state Medicaid program instead of purchasing a private plan. 

Expanding health care coverage for Americans as they age also was a popular choice the Winthrop Poll found out. A large majority of S.C. residents would like Medicare coverage expanded so those ages 50 through 64 can buy insurance coverage.

Currently, the federal health insurance program is for those 65 and older and for certain younger people with serious disabilities. The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found similar results with nearly 8 out of 10 backing this idea.

Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon observed that, “When plans aren't branded with an obviously identifiable partisan or ideological label, South Carolinians’ preferences line up fairly closely to those of the national population.”



President Donald Trump’s followers in the Palmetto state remain steadfast in backing the nation’s leader with a 43% approval rating. His approval numbers continue to be a few points higher than the national average of 41.9% as measured April 13 by Gallup. Trump has a disapproval rating of 46% among S.C. citizens.

The long-awaited Mueller Report was released to the public on April 18, after data collection for this poll was completed, so Trump’s approval ratings in this Winthrop Poll were not affected by the report’s findings. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by Department of Justice two years ago to probe the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The S.C. residents who identify with the Democratic Party give the 45th president an 86% disapproval rating, which is a much higher number than the national average of 53%.

Meanwhile, only 17% of South Carolina residents approve of the way federal lawmakers are handling their job in Congress.


Nearly three-quarters of South Carolina residents said the condition of our country’s economy is very good or fairly good and more than half said it is getting better. They also have a very favorable view of the state’s economy with 73% saying it is either very or fairly good.

In a separate issue, 59% of residents said they would not be in favor of reparations paid to the descendants of American slaves to make up for the harm caused by slavery. A split occurred along party lines and among racial lines: 84% of GOP followers were not in favor, while 63% of Democratic followers were in favor. Nearly three-quarters of African Americans said financial reparations should be made, while only 15% of whites agreed.

Huffmon noted, “If you compare these numbers to a national poll done two years ago using the same wording, two things stand out. First, an identical number of white respondents, 15%, favor reparations. However, the number of African Americans favoring reparations in South Carolina is significantly higher than nationally. This may be because overall attitudes in the black community have evolved or because African Americans in a Deep South state may be more likely to face frequent prejudice than African Americans in other parts of the country. It could also be because African Americans in the South frequently see monuments, flags, and statues that glorify the Confederacy and frequently bring to mind the period of chattel slavery.”


S.C. Governor Henry McMaster’s approval rating in South Carolina stands at 52% which has remained steady through his first months in office. Nearly 3/4 of GOP residents back the former lieutenant governor. Democrats aren’t as fond of the governor, with only a third giving McMaster a positive rating. 

The S.C. General Assembly got an approval nod from 45% of those polled while 31% disapprove of the job they’re doing. Lawmakers are handling several important issues this spring, including education and teacher raises to stop the high turnover rate of teachers quitting the profession.

A little more than half of S.C. residents approve of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. His approval rating among Republicans has risen greatly as Graham has become closer with Trump. His approval among Republicans, and those who lean Republican, stands at 74%, while only 1/4 of Democrats support Graham. 

Huffmon observed, “The substantial increase in Graham’s approval rating among Republicans appears to be long lasting. Consistently offering vocal support of Trump, who 4 in 5 SC Republicans approve of, has been an excellent strategy for shoring up support among Graham’s base and, presumably, further inoculating him from a serious primary challenge.”

The state’s junior senator, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, continues to be highly rated among the Republican base where three-quarters of those in the GOP and leaners approve of Scott. His popularity among the general public remains high as well, with a 56% approval rating. 


For this latest Winthrop Poll, callers surveyed 942 adult residents in South Carolina by landline and cell phone March 30 through April 13. The prolonged dates are due to the fact that the calling center was converting to a new Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system and working on survey contracts. Data using all respondents have a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Any subset will have a larger margin of error. Margins of error are based on unweighted sample size and account for design effects.



The Winthrop Poll is funded by Winthrop University. For additional information, or to set up an interview with Poll Director Scott Huffmon, please contact Judy Longshaw at or 803/323-2404 (office) or 803/984-0586 (cell). 

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