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Current Findings

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ROCK 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 Foundation in 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.”

TRUMP’S RATINGS

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.

ECONOMY AND REPARATIONS

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.”

SC GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASTER, US SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, AND OTHERS

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. 

METHODOLOGY

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.

 

Table 1:

 

Census

April 2019 Winthrop Poll

Male

47.9412

49

Female

52.05879

51

   

 

18-19

4.0608

3.9

20-29

17.966

17.3

30-39

16.4846

16.2

40-49

17.9802

17.5

50-59

17.7694

17.4

60-69

13.9953

13.8

70-79

7.5244

7.4

80-89

3.5764

3.5

90-99

0.6247

0.6

over 100

0.0184

0

Refused

--

2.5

 

 

 

White

68.57

67.1

Black

26.5

25.2

Other

4.93

5.3

Refused

--

2.4

 

 

Table 2:  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President of the United States?

[CALLER: if 'not sure/don't know,' probe with,   “It doesn't have to be specific, just in general, would you say you more approve or more disapprove?”]

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats (incl Leaners)

National Approval

(FiveThirtyEight Tracking Average 4/13/19)

Approve

 

43

79

7

41.9

Disapprove

 

46

13

86

52.8

Not Sure

 

8

6

6

 

Refused

 

2

2

1

 

                                                                                                  

 

Table 3:  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

[CALLER: if 'not sure/don't know,' probe with, “It doesn't have to be specific, just in general, would you say you more approve or more disapprove?”]

 

All Respondents

Approve

 

17

Disapprove

 

69

Not Sure

 

12

Refused

 

2

 

 

Table 4:  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Henry McMaster is handling his job as Governor of South Carolina?

[CALLER: if 'not sure/don't know,' probe with, “It doesn't have to be specific, just in general, would you say you more approve or more disapprove?”]

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats (incl Leaners)

Approve

 

52

70

33

Disapprove

 

25

12

43

Not Sure

 

20

16

22

Refused

 

2

1

2

 

 

Table 5:  Do you approve or disapprove of the way the South Carolina State Legislature is handling its job?

[CALLER: if 'not sure/don't know,' probe with, “It doesn't have to be specific, just in general, would you say you more approve or more disapprove?”]

 

All Respondents

Approve

 

45

Disapprove

 

31

Not Sure

 

21

Refused

 

3

 

 

Table 6:  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Lindsey Graham is handling his job as a United States Senator for South Carolina?

[CALLER: if 'not sure/don't know,' probe with, “It doesn't have to be specific, just in general, would you say you more approve or more disapprove?”]

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats (incl Leaners)

Approve

 

51

74

25

Disapprove

 

36

17

58

Not Sure

 

12

9

16

Refused

 

1

0

1

 

 

Table 7:  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tim Scott is handling his job as a United States Senator for South Carolina?

[CALLER: if 'not sure/don't know,' probe with, “It doesn't have to be specific, just in general, would you say you more approve or more disapprove?”]

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats (incl Leaners)

Approve

 

56

75

36

Disapprove

 

22

9

38

Not Sure

 

20

15

24

Refused

 

2

1

2

 

 

Table 8:  How would you rate the condition of the economy of the country as a whole these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

 

All Respondents

Very Good

 

21

Fairly Good

 

52

Fairly Bad

 

16

Very Bad

 

9

Not Sure

 

2

 Refused

 

0

 

 

 

Table 9:  Right now, do you think that economic conditions in the country as a whole are getting better or getting worse?

 

All Respondents

Getting Better

 

56

Getting Worse

 

35

Not Sure [volunteered]

 

8

Refused

 

1

 

 

 

Table 10:  How would you rate the condition of the economy of South Carolina these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

 

All Respondents

Very Good

 

18

Fairly Good

 

55

Fairly Bad

 

18

Very Bad

 

7

Not Sure

 

3

 Refused

 

0

 

 

 

Table 11:  Right now, do you think that economic conditions in South Carolina are getting better or getting worse?

 

All Respondents

Getting Better

 

63

Getting Worse

 

26

Not Sure [volunteered]

 

10

Refused

 

1

 

 

Table 12:  As a way to make up for the harm caused by slavery and other forms of racial discrimination, do you think the United States should or should not pay reparations, that is, should or should not pay money to African Americans who are descendants of slaves?

 

All Respondents

Whites

African

Americans

GOP

(incl Leaners)

Dem

(incl Leaners)

SHOULD

 

31

15

72

9

63

Should NOT

 

59

75

18

84

29

Don't know/ not sure

 

7

7

7

5

7

Refused

 

3

3

3

3

2

 

National Marist Poll – May 2016

Identical Question

     

All Respondents

Whites

African

Americans

SHOULD

 

26

15

58

Should NOT

 

68

81

35

Don't know/ not sure

 

6

5

7

 

 

Table 13:  Do you favor or oppose having a national healthcare plan, sometimes called Medicare-for-all, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan? Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

 

All Respondents

National Kaiser Family Foundation Poll – Jan 2019

 

Republicans

 

Democrats

Strongly Favor

 

31

34

13

53

Somewhat Favor

 

15

22

10

19

Somewhat Oppose

 

9

10

10

6

Strongly Oppose

 

38

32

63

12

Don't Know Refused

 

7

2

5

9

 

 

 

 

Table 14:  Do you favor or oppose creating a national government administered health plan similar to Medicare that would be open to anyone, but would allow people to keep the coverage they have if they prefer? Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

 

All Respondents

National Kaiser Family Foundation Poll – Jan 2019

 

Republicans

 

Democrats

Strongly Favor

 

48

49

29

74

Somewhat Favor

 

23

24

24

19

Somewhat Oppose

 

6

8

9

0

Strongly Oppose

 

17

16

31

3

Don't Know Refused

 

6

2

8

4

 

 

Table 15:  Do you favor or oppose allowing people who don’t get health insurance at work to buy insurance through their state Medicaid program instead of purchasing a private plan? Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

 

All Respondents

National Kaiser Family Foundation Poll – Jan 2019

 

Republicans

 

Democrats

Strongly Favor

 

43

45

31

56

Somewhat Favor

 

30

30

32

30

Somewhat Oppose

 

6

10

10

2

Strongly Oppose

 

10

9

16

4

Don't Know Refused

 

11

7

11

9

  

Table 16:  Do you favor or oppose allowing people between the ages of 50 and 64 to buy insurance through the Medicare program? Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

 

All Respondents

National Kaiser Family Foundation Poll – Jan 2019

 

Republicans

 

Democrats

Strongly Favor

 

49

49

39

62

Somewhat Favor

 

28

28

33

22

Somewhat Oppose

 

6

8

10

4

Strongly Oppose

 

9

10

11

6

Don't Know Refused

 

8

5

8

7

 

Table 17:  Some local governments, especially those nearer to the South Carolina coast, have banned the use of single-use plastic bags and containers by local businesses in those areas. There is currently a bill in the South Carolina Legislature that would remove the power of local governments to enact bans such as this. If passed, those bans would no longer be in place and only the South Carolina Legislature could pass such regulations in the future. Do you think: 

[CALLER: Rotate]

Local governments SHOULD be allowed to ban single-use plastics

or

Local Governments should NOT be able to ban single-use plastics

[CALLER: if asked, it is SC Senate Bill S394]

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats (incl Leaners)

SHOULD

 

60

57

65

Should NOT

 

33

35

31

Don't know/ not sure

 

6

8

4

Refused

 

1

1

0

 

Table 18:  Education is frequently mentioned as one of the most important issues facing South Carolina. I’m going to read six different ideas some have suggested to improve education in South Carolina. Please tell me which ONE of these suggestions you think would be the BEST way to begin to address issues regarding K through 12 Education in South Carolina?

[CALLER: if asked: K through 12 means kindergarten through high school]

[CALLER: Read aloud and Rotate items 1 – 6]

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats (incl Leaners)

Raising teacher pay

41

37

48

Shrinking class sizes

16

18

14

Adding more armed police officers

4

5

3

Reducing the number of standardized tests

8

11

4

Lowering administration costs

6

8

2

Providing more financial assistance to rural schools

18

13

24

Something else

6

6

3

No Problem with SC Education

0

0

1

Don’t Know/ Refused

2

2

1


  

 

See full methodology page for more info.

Contact Information:
Judy Longshaw
803/323-2402 (office)
803/984-0586 (cell)

The Winthrop Poll is paid for by Winthrop University.

For additional information, or to set up an interview with Dr. Scott Huffmon, please contact Judy Longshaw at longshawj@winthrop.edu or 803/323-2404.

Note: Winthrop University, located in Rock Hill, S.C., is a nationally recognized public university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees to an inclusive, international student body.


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