Latest Winthrop Poll Results Shows SC Support for Trump

April 12, 2022


  • The Winthrop Poll surveyed 1,657 adults (+/-2.41%) in South Carolina and had a subset of 485 Republicans who are registered to vote (+/-4.45%).
  • The Winthrop Poll is a long-term survey initiative designed to keep public policy makers across the country in touch with the attitudes and opinions of citizens in South Carolina and the entire southern region. It also informs South Carolinians of the opinions and views of their neighbors.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Support for former President Donald Trump’s run for president is high among South Carolina Republican registered voters according to a Winthrop Poll released today. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are neck-in-neck for second place. US Senator for South Carolina Tim Scott trails behind. 

Approval ratings among general population: President Joe Biden with 34% approval, 54% disapproval. SC Governor Henry McMaster with 45% approval, 35% disapproval. US Senator Lindsey Graham with 33% approval, 47% disapproval. US Senator Tim Scott with 47% approval, 25% disapproval.

Favorability ratings among general population: Nikki Haley remains favorable in the state with 53% expressing a favorable view. Forty-three percent of South Carolinians express a favorable view of Donald Trump. Three-fourths of Republicans see both Haley and Trump as favorable.

Opinions regarding the legalization of marijuana remain largely unchanged since the last Winthrop Poll with most South Carolinians favoring the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

Concerning proposed laws banning public Drag Shows, a majority of Republicans support a ban while only 37% of the general public does.

A majority of South Carolinians think same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid with the same rights as a marriage between a man and a woman.

South Carolinians were also asked about congressional redistricting, legalization of gambling on sports, monuments and memorials to Confederate soldiers who died, the Confederate battle flag, and Christianity in America.

Full results & methodology

Keep Reading for More In-Depth Analysis 

Approval Ratings (Tables 1-3)

The majority of South Carolinians disapprove of the way President Biden is handling his job as president with 54% expressing disapproval and 34% expressing approval. This is notably below his national approval rating of 42%. Among Republicans, approval sinks to 7% while disapproval is high at 89%. Democrats differ greatly with 75% approving of the way the President is handling his job and 12% disapproving. According to Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon, “There is little surprise that Biden is less popular in a state where he lost by nearly 12 points in the last presidential election.”

More South Carolinians approve of the way Henry McMaster is handling his job as governor than not with 45% approving and 35% disapproving while 1 in 5 have no firm opinion. McMaster remains much more popular among his party than among Democrats in the state, but with more Republicans expressing approval than Democrats expressing disapproval. Republican approval of the governor sits at an incredibly strong 72%.

When it comes to the way Lindsey Graham is handling his job as a US Senator for South Carolina, 33% of South Carolinians approve while 47% disapprove. While, like Biden and McMaster, Graham has more approval coming from within his own party, opinions are more closely split.

According to Huffmon, “Senator Graham’s approval among the general public has continued to slide as his ties to Trump seem to strengthen. However, his approval among Republicans is solid even if not meteoric.”

Tim Scott remains more popular than not in the state, but a greater percentage of South Carolinians have no opinion about how he his handling his job as compared to his South Carolina colleague in the US Senate. Forty-seven percent approve, 25% disapprove, and 28% are not sure or prefer not to answer. Among Republicans, Scott’s approval remains high and disapproval low. Among Democrats, opinions are much more evenly split.

Congressional Redistricting (Tables 4-9)

When asked how much they’ve heard about the debate over how congressional district boundaries are drawn in the state, most South Carolinians have heard very little if anything at all. Republicans are more likely to report hearing only a little or nothing at all than are Democrats. Only 8% of Republicans have heard a lot about the debate while 23% of Democrats have heard as much.

The majority of Democrats think that the current congressional redistricting process in South Carolina favors Republicans. Republicans, more often than not, also think the current process more so favors their own party, that the process is impartial, or aren’t sure or prefer not to answer.

Most South Carolinians think the current congressional redistricting process does too little to see that Black South Carolinians are adequately represented. Republicans are more likely to say the process does the right amount while Democrats are more likely to coincide with the general consensus that it does too little.

When it comes to how well the courts settle disputes regarding congressional districts, 43% of South Carolinians say they do a very good job or a good job. Thirty-one percent think the courts do a poor or very poor job in settling these disputes. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to express an opinion on the matter, but among the two parties, opinions by party generally reflect that of the whole.

Almost half of South Carolinians have no opinion about how the congressional districts are drawn in the state. Between Republicans and Democrats, Republicans are more satisfied (33%) than are Democrats (25%) and Democrats much more dissatisfied (37%) than Republicans (13%).

When asked if congressional redistricting should be done by the state legislature or by an independent commission, 49% of South Carolinians prefer an independent commission over the state legislature. Republicans and Democrats generally agree on the issue in preferring an independent commission draw the lines.

Winthrop Poll Director Huffmon notes, “With the redistricting process controlled by the Republican dominated legislature, Democrats feel at a distinct disadvantage. Republicans tend to see fewer problems with the system and are less engaged with the topic.”

2024 Republican Nomination for President (Table 10)

Support for Trump’s run for president is high among South Carolina Republicans who are registered to vote. Among nine Republicans who have either announced a 2024 presidential run or who are viewed as potential contenders, Trump is on top with 41%. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Haley are neck-and-neck with 20% and 18% respectively.

Huffmon notes, “Trump is riding high and doubling support over the next candidate in the field. Haley shows more than quadruple her support compared to national polls, but that should be expected on her home turf. While DeSantis is viewed as the singular alternative to Trump in national polls, the real story here is that Haley and DeSantis are in a statistical dead heat in what could be a firewall for Haley when voting rolls around.” 

Seven percent of South Carolinians support a presidential nomination for Tim Scott when presented the list of nine possibilities. Five percent support former Vice President Mike Pence, 2% support former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and 1% support New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. Others listed were former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Virginian Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Favorability Ratings – Haley & Trump (Tables 12-13)

Overall, Haley remains favorable in the state of South Carolina. Fifty-three percent of South Carolinians stated their view of the former Governor and Ambassador to the United Nations as very or somewhat favorable. Thirty percent have a very or somewhat unfavorable view of her and 15% are on the fence. Among Republicans, 73% view Haley as favorable and only 14% have an unfavorable view. Forty percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of her while 47% have an unfavorable view.

When it comes to Trump, 43% of South Carolinians have a favorable view and 48% an unfavorable one. The former President remains much more favorable in his own party with almost three-quarters holding a favorable view as compared to 17% an unfavorable one. Conversely, three-quarters of Democrats express an unfavorable view of Trump while 19% view him favorably.

Legalization of Marijuana & Sports Gambling (Tables 14-16)

The legalization of medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor remains popular in South Carolina. Seventy-six percent favor its legalization while 14% oppose. Republicans and Democrats generally agree on the topic.

According to Huffmon, “Support for medical marijuana in South Carolina has steadily grown over the years, especially as other states have moved towards legalization without an apparent collapse of society.”

When it comes to the recreational use of marijuana, while the two parties differ, a majority (56%) of the general population supports its legalization. Republicans are split on the issue while Democrats are in favor.

Fifty percent of South Carolinians favor a law legalizing gambling on sports in the state. Of Republicans, 44% favor such a law while 39% oppose it. Among Democrats, 58% favor while 29% stand in opposition.

Drag Shows (Table 17)

Several states across the country have proposed laws to ban public Drag Shows. More South Carolinians oppose a ban of public Drag Shows than favor it. Forty-seven percent oppose a law to ban public Drag Shows while 37% support such a ban. Republicans and Democrats differ on the issue with a majority of Republicans in support of a ban and a majority of Democrats in opposition.

Notes Huffmon, “While a bare majority of Republicans favor such a ban, this issue doesn’t seem to be a priority for South Carolinians. The groups and individuals calling for a ‘Drag Ban’ are certainly vocal, but it appears they are not representative of the majority of the South Carolina public.” 

Confederate Monuments, Memorials & Battle Flag (Tables 18-19)

From a list of four options for what to do with monuments and memorials to Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War, the top two responses are to leave them just as they are (32%) and to leave them, but add a plaque or marker for context and historical interpretation (31%), closely followed by move them to a museum (25%). White respondents are more likely to want these monuments and memorials left just as they are (39%) while Black respondents are much more likely to suggest moving them to a museum (43%). Eighteen percent of Black respondents suggest removing them completely as opposed to only 4% of white respondents answering the same way.

While South Carolinians are fairly split on their opinions of the Confederate battle flag, white South Carolinians more often say it is a symbol of Southern pride (37%) than it is racial conflict (25%) and Black South Carolinians the reverse – 66% stating it is more a symbol of racial conflict and 13% a symbol of Southern pride.

Same-Sex Marriage (Table 20)

A majority of South Carolinians think marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized as valid with the same rights as a marriage between a man and a woman. Among Republicans, 37% think same-sex marriages should be recognized as valid and 51% say it should not. A strong majority of Democrats think same-sex marriage should be recognized as valid with 71% saying they should and 19% saying they should not.

According to Huffmon, “In writing his concurring opinion in the Dobbs case, which sent authority over abortion back to the states, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas noted that the case that nationalized protection for same sex marriage should be revisited. This has made state by state opinions on same sex marriage relevant again.”

Christianity & America (Tables 21-24)

Half of South Carolinians disagree with the idea that the federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation. Just over half believe America holds a special place in God’s plan. When it comes to maintaining a separation of church and state, 66% agree that it is critical that our government maintain this separation. Thirty-eight percent of South Carolinians consider being a Christian an important aspect of being truly American while 47% do not.

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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