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

Winthrop Poll September 2016

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Donald Trump has a lead among South Carolina voters, but his numbers still lag the performance of previous Republican presidential candidates in the state.

A majority of South Carolina residents surveyed in the latest Winthrop Poll said they did not view Republican candidate Donald Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton favorably or as “honest.”

The poll, which was conducted between Sept. 18-26, ending before Monday’s first presidential debate, found that Trump was preferred by 42% of likely voters in SC, while Clinton was at 38%. Seven percent were undecided, while none of the third party candidates registered support in double digits.

Only 1 in 5 residents described Clinton as honest, while Trump garnered that same description from a third of residents. Both candidates viewed unfavorably by around 55% of residents.

Clinton fared somewhat better than Trump when residents were asked if they thought she was capable. Fifty-three percent of residents said the former Secretary of State was capable, while only 46% said the term accurately described the Republican nominee.

According to Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon, “While Clinton is seen as the more capable candidate, she is also viewed as more dishonest. However, both candidates are setting records for being viewed unfavorably. While Trump has the lead, these factors may contribute to why he is underperforming expectations of a hypothetical generic Republican versus generic Democrat matchup.”

Almost three-fourths of those surveyed said the presidential election’s outcome was very important and would affect their personal future, while 95% believed it very important in affecting America’s future.

Drawing from the discipline of psychology, the poll also measured where respondents fell on the Authoritarianism Scale. The scale, verified by psychologists, asks non-political questions to determine a respondents general orientation. Authoritarianism, as defined by psychologists and measured here, reflects a desire for order and tradition, as well as suspicion and fear of “outsiders.” The poll found that more authoritarian leaning voters tended to support Trump over Clinton. 

Huffmon notes, “With 70% of respondents feeling that the country is headed in the wrong direction, it’s not hard to imagine that many are feeling uncertain or that the American way of life is being threatened. People who score high on the Authoritarian Scale are more likely to turn to a “strong” leader when they perceive a threat.”


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, GOVERNOR NIKKI HALEY, AND OTHERS
President Barack Obama’s approval rating in South Carolina has improved to 48% among residents but disapproval is almost at 50% for likely voters. The two-term president’s ratings in the Palmetto State has consistently lagged behind national approval ratings. His approval rating is lower, and lower than his disapproval numbers, among likely voters.

Governor Nikki Haley’s approval rating remains strongly positive among South Carolinians at 57%. The approval ratings for the state’s two U.S. senators hover around the same ratings as in the spring. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who ran for president on the GOP ticket, has a 41% disapproval rating, while the state’s junior senator, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is more highly rated among the Republican base with a 52% approval rating.

 

ECONOMY
Seventy percent of the S.C. general population said the country is headed in the wrong direction. They cited the economy, 11.3%, racial issues or racism, 9.8%, and terrorism, 8.3% as  top problems facing the country. Still, 54% said the country’s economy is either very or fairly good.

Nearly half said the Palmetto State is on the right track. S.C. residents rate education, 12.4%; jobs/unemployment, 11%; racial issues/racism, 6.5%; roads/bridges/infrastructure, 5.9%; and politicians/government, 5.4% as the most pressing problems. A majority – 61% - said the state’s economy was either very or fairly good.

When asked about their personal financial situation, 56% of all respondents said their finances were excellent or good.

 

RACE
Racial Issues came up for the first time as one of the top issues concerning South Carolinians. Nearly 10% said it was the most important problem facing the country right now while 6.5% said it was the most important problem facing our state.

Dr. Huffmon said, “The rise for concern over racism and racial divisiveness hardly seems surprising given growing attention to the death of black men in confrontations with police, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the racial undercurrents that have marked this presidential contest.”

 

Issues Ahead for S.C.

The Winthrop Poll looked at how many S.C. residents would support a driver’s license question about whether a resident would allow the donation of brain tissue for research and education. More than three-fourths of residents said yes. Already, S.C. residents can agree to the donation of organs or tissue that can be transplanted into living patients, such as heart, lungs, liver, kidneys or eye tissue.

An overwhelmingly number of S.C. residents – 81% - supported the state passing a law requiring private companies to pay the same amount to men and women for the same job and experience, while still allowing for different pay based on seniority or job performance.

The S.C. Conservation Bank, which is a state agency that protects the state’s rivers, farms and forests through voluntary land protection agreements, will expire in 2018. Nearly 80% of residents said they would support its reauthorization in 2017 and 2018.

The “main” poll is a General Population poll of 694 SC residents. Results which use All Respondents have a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.7% at the 95% confidence level. Results for LIKELY VOTERS in the November presidential election have a sample size of 475 and have a margin of error of approximately +/- 4.5% at the 95% confidence level. Any subset will have a larger margin of error. Margins of error are based on weighted sample size.

Poll phone calls were made during weekday evenings, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon and evening to those with landlines and mobile devices.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL METHODOLOGY STATEMENT.

POLL FUNDING AND CONTACT INFORMATION
The Winthrop Poll is paid for by Winthrop University with additional support from 
The West Forum on Politics and Policy at Winthrop University. 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).

 

T.1  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President of the United States?

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Approve

48

46

Disapprove

45

49

Don’t Know

6

5

Refused

2

1

 

T.2  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Nikki Haley is handling her job as Governor of South Carolina?

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Approve

57

56

Disapprove

29

33

Don’t Know

12

10

Refused

2

1

 

T.3  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Lindsey Graham is handling his job as a United States Senator for South Carolina?

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Approve

38

36

Disapprove

41

48

Don’t Know

19

13

Refused

3

3

 

T.4  Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tim Scott is handling his job as a United States Senator for South Carolina?

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Approve

52

54

Disapprove

21

23

Don’t Know

25

21

Refused

2

2

 

 T.5  If the election for United States President were held today would you vote for:


[NOTE: Names were rotated]

   Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Candidate

   Donald Trump, the Republican Candidate

   Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Candidate

   Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate

 

Likely Voters

Clinton                                                                     

38

Trump                                                                     

42

Johnson                                                                  

6

Stein                                                                       

3

Not Sure/ Undecided                                                

7

Refused

4

                                                                               

 T.6  Thinking about the current path that our nation is taking, do you think our country is on the right track or headed in the wrong direction?

 

All Respondents

Right Track                                                             

24

Wrong Direction                                                       

70

Don't Know/ Refused

6

                                                                               

T.7  Thinking about the current path that the state of South Carolina is taking, do you think South Carolina is on the right track or headed in the wrong direction?

 

All Respondents

Right Track                                                             

49

Wrong Direction                                                       

38

Don't Know/ Refused

13

 

T.8  What do you think is the most important problem facing the United States of America today?


 

All Respondents

 

Economy 11.3%
(Jobs/Unemployment 4.7%)

 

 

Racial Issues or Racism 9.8%

 

 

Terrorism 8.3%

 

 

Politicians/Government 7.8%

 

 

Immigration 6.7%

 

T.9  What do you think is the most important problem facing the state of South Carolina today?

 

All Respondents

 

Education 12.4%

 

 

Jobs/Unemployment 11%
(Economy 9.5%)

 

 

Racial Issues or Racism 6.5%

 

 

Roads/Bridges/Infrastructure 5.9%

 

 

Politicians/Government 5.4%

 

T.10  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  

5

Fairly good

49

Fairly bad  

29

Very bad  

17

Not sure  

1

Refused

0

                                                                                     

T.11  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  

8

Fairly good

53

Fairly bad

29

Very bad  

7

Not sure  

2

Refused

1

 

T.12  How would you rate your financial situation today? As excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

 

All Respondents

Excellent  

11

Good  

45

Only Fair  

32

Poor  

11

Not Sure  

0

Refused

1

                                                                                       

T.13  How important would you say the outcome of this presidential election is with regard to your personal future?  Would you say that it is Very Important, Somewhat Important, Slightly Important, or Not At All Important?

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Very important                                                                               

72

78

Somewhat important                                                                               

15

14

Slightly important                                                                               

8

7

Not at all important                                                                               

5

2

Not sure                                                                               

0

0

Refused

0

--

 

T.14  How important would you say the outcome of this presidential election is with regard to the future of America?  Would you say that it is Very Important, Somewhat Important, Slightly Important, or Not At All Important?                                                                           

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Very important

86

90

Somewhat important

9

8

Slightly important

3

2

Not at all important

2

1

Not sure

0

--

Refused

0

--

 

T.15  I’m going to read you a list of names of people or things.  For each person or thing, please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable view of them.  If you are familiar with them, but undecided – or if you are unfamiliar with them – you can tell me that as well.

            [NOTE: Names were rotated]

      Hillary Clinton

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Favorable

37

39

Unfavorable

57

57

Undecided

5

3

Not familiar

1

0

Refused

1

0

 

T.16  Donald Trump

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Favorable

36

40

Unfavorable

55

52

Undecided

7

7

Not familiar

1

1

Refused

0

0

 

T.17  I’m going to read a term, then I want you to tell me whether you think that term accurately describes a person.

The first term is HONEST

       [NOTE: Names rotated]

      Do you think the term HONEST describes Hillary Clinton, or not?                                                                                 

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Yes

21

23

No

74

71

Not Sure

5

6

Refused

1

0

 

T.18  Do you think the term HONEST describes Donald Trump, or not?

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Yes

32

35

No

63

61

Not Sure

5

4

Refused

0

--

 

T.19  The next term is CAPABLE

           [NOTE: Names rotated]

      Do you think the term CAPABLE describes Hillary Clinton, or not?                                                                                  

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Yes

53

52

No

44

45

Not Sure

3

3

Refused

0

0

 

T.20  Do you think the term CAPABLE describes Donald Trump, or not?                                                                                    

 

All Respondents

Likely Voters

Yes

46

48

No

51

49

Not Sure

3

3

Refused

0

0

 

 

The following tables use data derived from what is known as the “Authoritarian Scale.”  Using attitudes about preferred qualities for children, psychologists developed 4 questions where traits for children are paired against each other.  The questions are below. The “more authoritarian” answers are in bold. The higher a person’s score when the answers from these questions are added together, the more “Authoritarian” that person is considered to be.

Questions:

“Although there are a number of qualities that people feel children should have, every person thinks that some are more important than others. We are going to ask you about pairs of desirable qualities.

 

Which of the following qualities is more important for a child to have?

The pair of qualities are…

[NOTE: the order of the pairs was randomized]

Respect for elders  or  Independence.

Obedience  or  Self-Reliance.

Curiosity  or  Good Manners.

Being Considerate  or  Well-Behaved.” 

The scale ranges from 0 to 4 with higher scores representing more “Authoritarian” attitudes:

T.21 Authoritarian Scale Means

General Population Mean

2.2553

Clinton Voter Mean

2.1127

Trump Voter Mean

2.3850

Clinton Voters (Whites ONLY)

1.1262

Trump Voters (Whites ONLY)

2.4019

**NOTE: The ‘cell size’ for the population of white-only Clinton voters is under 100 and should not be interpreted as definitive. However, it is instructive to see the difference made by removing African American Clinton voters who are more likely to be ‘traditional’ and religious than the majority of white Clinton voters


T.22 Percent below and above Authoritarian Scale mean by candidate support

 

Clinton Voters

Trump Voters

Below Mean on Authoritarian Scale

59

49

Above Mean on Authoritarian Scale

41

51

 

 

Clinton Voters (Whites ONLY)

Trump Voters (Whites ONLY)

Below Mean on Authoritarian Scale

93

48

Above Mean on Authoritarian Scale

7

52

**NOTE: The ‘cell size’ for the population of white-only Clinton voters is under 100 and should not be interpreted as definitive. However, it is instructive to see the difference made by removing African American Clinton voters who are more likely to be ‘traditional’ and religious than the majority of white Clinton voters

  

T.23  Currently, if you check the “Organ Donor box” when you get a driver’s license in South Carolina, you are only agreeing to the donation of organs or tissue that can be transplanted into living patients, such as heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or eye tissue.

Would you support or oppose adding a box to driver’s license applications that would allow the donation of brain tissue for the purposes of research and education?

 

All Respondents

Support                                                                                    

78

Oppose                                                                                    

17

Not Sure                                                                                    

3

Refused                                                                                    

1

 

T.24  Would you support or oppose the South Carolina state government passing a law requiring private companies to pay the same amount to men and women with the same job and experience while still allowing for different pay based on seniority or job performance?

 

All Respondents

Support                                                                                    

81

Oppose                                                                                    

15

Not Sure                                                                                    

3

Refused                                                                                    

1

 

T.25  The South Carolina Conservation Bank is a state agency that protects South Carolina's rivers, farms, and forests through voluntary land protection agreements. It is funded through a portion of the fees collected through real estate transactions.

The Conservation Bank will expire in 2018 and is being considered for re-authorization in 2017 and 2018.

     [Note: Statements were rotated]

Supporters want to re-authorize the bank because they believe land protection provides clean air, clean water, and wildlife for our communities and future generations to enjoy.

Opponents say the Bank should not be re-authorized because money should be spent elsewhere and enough land is already protected.

Would you support or oppose the re authorization of the conservation bank?

 

All Respondents

Support                                                                                    

79

Oppose                                                                                    

15

Not Sure                                                                                    

5

Refused                                                                                    

2

 

T.27  In general, would you say you approve or disapprove of the Tea Party movement or are you not familiar enough with the Tea Party movement to have an opinion?

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Approve                                                             

21

36

Disapprove                                                         

27

16

Not Familiar Enough

47

43

Not Sure                                                                             

5

4

Refused                                                                             

1

1

 

T.28  Would you consider yourself a MEMBER of the Tea Party Movement?                                                                                    

 

All Respondents

GOP (including Leaners)

Yes

4

8

No

89

85

Not Sure                                                                               

5

5

Refused                                                                               

1

2

 

 

 


 

For methodological questions please read the full Methodology Statement

 

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 with additional support from The West Forum on Politics and Policy at 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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