Winthrop University: Winthrop Poll - Current Findings
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Winthrop Poll
10 Dinkins Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-4962
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Current Findings

Results of Winthrop Poll released on February 21, 2020 of Likely Voters in the Feb. 29 SC Democratic Presidential Primary.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Joe Biden remains the top choice for South Carolina voters for the Democratic Party presidential nominee but other candidates are gaining ground and nearly 1 in 5 likely voters are still undecided, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. Given the margin of error, his lead of 24% to Sanders’ 19% may be scant indeed.

South Carolinians head to the polls on Feb. 29 to participate in the Democratic Party Presidential Primary. Voters in the Palmetto State do not register by party.

A fourth of those surveyed in this most recent Winthrop Poll said they were leaning toward voting for Biden, the former vice president. Of the African American voters contacted, Biden had even higher numbers, at 31%. 

Other candidates planning to run in the S.C. primary with support were U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 19%; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, 15%; and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 7%; and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 6%. The remaining two candidates fell under 5%. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not on the S.C. ballot.

Winthrop Poll Director Dr. Scott Huffmon noted that, “Flames seem to be licking through the cracks in Biden’s firewall. His support has dropped by double digits since the late September Winthrop Poll. Without a strong showing in South Carolina, Biden’s campaign will be limping into Super Tuesday. Even a win, if not significant and decisive, will be interpreted as a loss by his opponents. Bernie Sanders, now second behind Biden, has more than doubled his support, both overall and among African American voters. With roughly one-fifth of voters remaining undecided, election day could hold some surprises. Elizabeth Warren has dropped by nearly 10 points since late September. One of the most significant movements came from Tom Steyer, whose ad blitz in the state took him from an unknown 2% in the late September Winthrop Poll to 15% now.”

South Carolina is important in the presidential process because it is the first primary in the South and because it is the first time presidential candidates can be vetted by large numbers of African-American voters.

A little more than half surveyed by the Winthrop Poll said they were sure of their choice. Yet 43% of respondents said they might change their mind.

Eighty percent of poll respondents said they would vote in November for the party’s nominee, while 85% of African-American voters said they would.

Nearly half of poll respondents (44%) said their primary objective was to beat President Donald Trump, while nearly an equal number (45%) said it was key for the Democratic nominee to share their views.

The Winthrop Poll found that it made little difference to S.C. voters for a candidate to be either openly gay or a woman. Voters, particularly African-American voters, were more hesitant to support candidates who did not reflect the diversity of their political party.

For this latest Winthrop Poll, callers spoke to 443 likely voters for the Feb. 29 S.C. Democratic Presidential Primary. Phone calls were made Feb. 9-19 primarily during weekday evenings, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon and evening and were made in English. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.7% at the 95% confidence level. Results that use all only African-American respondents have a margin of error of +/- 5.9% at the 95% confidence level.

Full Methodology HERE

The Winthrop Poll is paid for by Winthrop University. It is one of 18 threshold polls chosen by the Democratic National Committee to determine who among the two dozen 2020 presidential candidates qualify for debates.

For additional information, or to set up an interview with Poll Director Scott Huffmon, please contact Judy Longshaw at longshawj@ winthrop.edu or 803/323-2404 (office) or 803/984-0586 (cell).

T1: Demographics of Likely SC Democratic Presidential Primary Voters from this poll



Male

37.7

Female

62.3

White

32.7

Black

61.0

Latino

2.4

Asian

1.0

Other

1.4

Refused

1.5

17-29

14.7

30-44

20.8

45-64

46.2

65+

18.3

High School or less

20.3

Some College

37.9

College grad

28.5

Postgrad

13

 

T2: I'm going to read a list of people who are running in the Democratic primaries for president in 2020. After I read all of the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, or if you would support someone else. Please let me finish reading all of the names before you answer

[Order of candidates’ names randomized by computer]

These are the only candidates whose names will appear on the SC Democratic Presidential Primary ballot on February 29th. Which of those candidates would you be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 in the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary?

Candidate

All
MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

Michael Bennet
(Not read after he dropped out, but recorded if resp had already voted for him or mentioned after being told he dropped out)

--

--

Joe Biden

24

31

Pete Buttigieg

7

1

Tulsi Gabbard

1

--

Amy Klobuchar

4

--

     

Deval Patrick
(Not read after he dropped out, but recorded if resp had already voted for him or mentioned after being told he dropped out)

0

0

Bernie Sanders

19

17

Tom Steyer

15

18

Elizabeth Warren

6

5

Andrew Yang
(Not read after he dropped out, but recorded if resp had already voted for him or mentioned after being told he dropped out)

1

--

Someone Else

2

2

Undecided

18

21

Refused

4

4

T3: Are you very sure about voting for that candidate; or might you change your mind before the primary election?

 

All
MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

Very sure

55

58

Might change mind

43

40

Don’t Know

2

3

Refused

--

--

I’m going to read you some characteristics of political candidates. For each, please tell me whether that characteristic makes you more likely to support them, less likely to support them, or makes no difference in whether you support them.

T4: First, if a candidate is openly gay, does that make you more likely to support them, less likely to support them, or makes no difference in whether you support them.



Likely SC Democratic Presidential Primary Voters

 

All
MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

More Likely

3

3

Less Likely

13

16

No Difference

82

79

Not Sure/Refused

2

2

T5: If a candidate is a woman, does that make you more likely to support them, less likely to support them, or makes no difference in whether you support them.



Likely SC Democratic Presidential Primary Voters

 

All
MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

More Likely

12

12

Less Likely

3

4

No Difference

84

83

Not Sure/Refused

1

1

T6: If a candidate does not reflect the diversity of your political party, does that make you more likely to support them, less likely to support them, or makes no difference in whether you support them.

[CALLER: If they ask what is meant by “diversity of your political party” means, reply: “Whatever that means to you.”]



Likely SC Democratic Presidential Primary Voters

 

All
MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

More Likely

4

5

Less Likely

33

41

No Difference

58

49

Not Sure/Refused

4

5

 

T7: Which is more important to you personally: That the Democratic Party nominate a presidential candidate ….

[Answers rotated]

With a strong chance of beating Donald Trump
OR
Who shares your positions on major issues

 

All
MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

Beat Trump

44

44

Shares views

45

46

Both equally

8

9

DK/Refused

3

2

 

T8: In the November general election, if your preferred Democratic candidate does not win the party's presidential nomination, are you more likely to vote for the Democratic nominee, whoever they are, vote for Donald Trump, vote for a third party candidate, or not vote at all?

 

All

MOE +/- 4.7%

Black
MOE =/- 5.9%

Vote for the Democratic nominee

80

85

Vote for President Trump

5

1

Vote third party

9

7

Not vote at all

3

3

Not Sure

4

4

Refused

0

--

Last Updated: 2/23/20