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Current Findings

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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – With less than a week to go until the country’s midterm national elections, President Donald Trump’s approval rating registers at 44% among South Carolina residents, according to the latest Winthrop Poll of a representative sample of SC adults (note: this is a general population poll not a likely voter poll and results may not be used to make inferences about any election).

Among respondents who lean Republican, Trump has an 83% approval rate, which continues to climb in what is one of the reddest states in the country. The 45th president has a disapproval rating of half of Palmetto State citizens.

Trump’s approval rating among adults in South Carolina has remained in the mid-40 percent over his two years in office.

According to Winthrop Poll director and political scientist, Dr. Scott Huffmon, “Trump’s approval in South Carolina continues to be higher than his overall national approval ratings. Currently, his approval in SC is 4 points higher than his national approval rating of forty percent (according to Gallup). SC Republicans continue to offer their full-throated support of the president.”

NATIONAL PROBLEMS, THE ECONOMY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

The Winthrop Poll found that a slight majority of respondents think our country is headed in the wrong direction, but that South Carolina is on the right track.

In this poll and in the April Winthrop Poll, S.C. residents said the most important problems facing our country are immigration, followed by racism, and politicians/government. Those surveyed said the most important issues facing the Palmetto State are, and these same issues keep cropping up: education, roads/bridges/infrastructure, and jobs or unemployment. With this poll, the economy also was in the mix.

Poll respondents were asked if women who complain about sexual harassment cause more problems than they solve, and nearly half strongly disagreed. Nearly 2 out of 3 respondents strongly disagreed that sexual harassment in the workplace is no longer a problem in the U.S.  Nearly three-fourths strongly or somewhat agreed that most women who come forward about sexual harassment are telling the truth. Nearly 80 percent say that innocent men have to be extra careful in order not to be accused of sexual harassment.

Concerning the economy, nearly three fourths of South Carolina residents said our country’s economy is very good or fairly good, while the same number of respondents think the condition of the state’s economy is either very or fairly good. With the stock market rallying this year and unemployment low, a large majority described their own financial situation as good or excellent and getting better.

With memories of Hurricanes Florence and Michael still fresh from this fall, nearly half those polled said climate change is happening, and the cause is equally shared between humans and nature. 28 percent said humans are the primary cause. Huffmon noted, “Many polls force respondents into a single all-or-nothing question on climate change before they are offered the ability to choose a more nuanced response. In this question, respondents can easily choose an option that climate change is not real. However, when presented with the ability to flatly deny climate change or acknowledge it but assign causal blame to either man or mother nature, we see fewer flatly denying that climate change is happening. The greatest divide is whether respondents feel climate change is natural or man-made, not whether it is occurring or not.”

CONGRESS, BRETT KAVANAUGH, SC GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASTER AND OTHERS

S.C. residents give Congress a disapproval rating of 69%. But U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who took a lead role in the Senate in the approval of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, was rewarded for going on the attack to help Trump’s candidate. That vocal support helped win Graham nods from the GOP where three-fourths of respondents who lean GOP and supported Kavanaugh said they approved of Graham. His ratings in the past have been more tepid. According to Huffmon, “Graham’s new persona as tireless, and occasionally aggressive, cheerleader for the president and his agenda resonates well with the Republican base in South Carolina. Whereas those who identify with the GOP in South Carolina have waxed, and – more frequently in recent times – waned in their support for Graham, his vigorous defense of Judge Kavanaugh and vocal support for President Trump has returned him to the good graces of his party.”

Meanwhile, half of Winthrop Poll respondents said they approved of Kavanaugh’s nomination and only slightly fewer say their opinion of him was very or somewhat favorable. Huffmon noted, “When it comes to sexual harassment, Kavanaugh supporters are less likely to agree that most women who report harassment are telling the truth and more likely to agree that men must be extra careful to avoid false accusations.”

Approval ratings for the state’s junior senator, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, remain high with the Republican base. He has a 76% approval rating among those who identify as Republicans. Scott’s popularity among the general public remains high as well, with 55% reporting approval of the job he is doing.

South Carolina will elect its governor on Nov. 6. The support from the general population for incumbent S.C. Governor Henry McMaster has climbed to 51% from the spring when it was in the mid-40 percent range.  His disapproval ratings remain at 29%, with 18% not sure. Elected as the lieutenant governor in 2014, McMaster took over as governor after Trump tapped S.C. Governor Nikki Haley to be the United Nations ambassador.

Poll Director Huffmon said that the Winthrop Poll data should not be used to make predictions about the governor’s race because poll callers talked to a representative sample of all South Carolina adults who may or may not even be registered, much less “Likely Voters.”

The S.C. General Assembly got an approval nod from 46% of those polled, while 35% disapprove of the job they’re doing.

METHODOLOGY

For this latest Winthrop Poll, callers surveyed 674 residents in South Carolina by landline and cell phones between Oct. 20-28. Results which use all respondents have a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.8% at the 95% confidence level. Subgroups have higher margins of error. Margins of error are based on weighted sample size and account for design effects.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL METHODOLOGY STATEMENT.

POLL FUNDING AND CONTACT INFORMATION

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 longshawj@winthrop.edu or 803/984-0586 (cell).

 

 

Table 1: 

 

Census

October 2018 Winthrop Poll

Male

47.9412

48.8

Female

52.05879

51.2

   

 

18-19

4.0608

4.1

20-29

17.966

18.5

30-39

16.4846

16.7

40-49

17.9802

17.2

50-59

17.7694

18.2

60-69

13.9953

14.2

70-79

7.5244

7.2

80-89

3.5764

3.3

90-99

0.6247

0.7

over 100

0.0184

--

   

 

White

68.57

67.6

Black

26.5

26.8

Other

4.93

5.6

 


 

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

 

All

GOP (including Leaners)

Approve

44

83

Disapprove

49

12

Not Sure

6

5

Refused

1

0

 

 

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

          

All

Approve

19

Disapprove

69

Not Sure

10

Refused

1

 

 

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

 

All

GOP (including Leaners)

Approve

51

75

Disapprove

29

12

Not Sure

18

12

Refused

3

1

NOTE: this is a General Population poll, NOT a Likely Voter poll. These data may NOT be used to make accurate predictions about an election.

                                                                           

 

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

 

All

Approve

46

Disapprove

35

Not Sure

16

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?

 

All

GOP (including Leaners)

Approve of Kavanaugh appointment

All

April 2018

GOP (including Leaners – April 2018)

Approve

49

72

75

45

51

Disapprove

41

20

19

46

44

Not Sure

9

7

5

6

3

Refused

1

1

1

3

2

 

 

NOTE: Lindsey Graham’s higher than normal numbers appear to be related to his spirited defense of Judge Kavanaugh. “Graham’s new persona as tireless, and occasionally aggressive, cheerleader for the president and his agenda resonates well with the Republican base in South Carolina. Whereas those who identify with the GOP in South Carolina have waxed, and – more frequently in recent times – waned in their support for Graham, his vigorous defense of Judge Kavanaugh and vocal support for President Trump has returned him to the good graces of his party.”

 

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

           

All

GOP (including Leaners)

Approve

55

76

Disapprove

25

8

Not Sure

18

14

Refused

2

2

 

                                                                              

Table 8:  Overall, would you say your opinion of Senator Lindsey Graham is favorable or unfavorable?

 

    -Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

         

All

GOP (including Leaners)

Approve of Kavanaugh appointment

Very

favorable

23

41

37

Somewhat favorable

28

36

38

Somewhat unfavorable

16

12

10

Very

unfavorable

26

8

10

Not Sure

6

3

3

Refused

2

1

1

 

 

Table 9:  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

Right Track

38

Wrong Direction

56

Don't know/ Refused

6

 

                                                                           

Table 10:  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

Right Track

51

Wrong Direction

38

Don't Know/ Refused

12

 

                                                                           

Table 11:  What do you think is the most important problem facing the United States of America today?

All Respondents

 

Immigration

18.0%

 

 

Racism

9.3%

 

 

Politicians/Government

8.8%

 

 

Moral Values

6.7%

 

 

 

 

 

Table 12:  What do you think is the most important problem facing the state of South Carolina today?

All Respondents

 

Education

16.3%

 

 

Roads/Bridges/Infrastructure

6.1%

 

 

Jobs/Unemployment

5.8%

 

 

Economy

5.6%

 

 

  

Table 13:  Overall, would you say your opinion of Brett Kavanaugh is favorable or unfavorable?

    -Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

 

All

Very

favorable

33

Somewhat favorable

14

Somewhat unfavorable

11

Very

unfavorable

30

Not sure

11

Refused

1

 

                                                                              

Table 14:  Do you approve or disapprove of the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court?

      

All

Approve

50

Disapprove

39

Not sure

9

Refused

1

 

 

Table 15:  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

Very Good

23

Fairly Good

51

Fairly Bad

17

Very Bad

8

Not Sure

2

Refused

--

 

 

Table 16:  Right now, do you think that economic conditions in the country as a whole are getting better or getting worse?

 

All

Getting Better

60

Getting Worse

33

Not Sure

8

Refused

0

 

 

Table 17:  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

Very Good

16

Fairly Good

58

Fairly Bad

17

Very Bad

7

Not Sure

3

Refused

--

 

                                                                             

Table 18:  Right now, do you think that economic conditions in South Carolina are getting better or getting worse?

 

All

Getter Better

62

Getting Worse

27

Not Sure

10

Refused

1

 

 

Table 19:  How would you rate your financial situation today? As excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

 

All

Excellent

12

Good

51

Only Fair

27

Poor

10

Not Sure

0

Refused

0

 

 

Table 20:  Right now, do you think that your financial situation as a whole is getting better or getting worse?

 

All

Getting Better

71

Getting Worse

18

Not Sure

10

Refused

1

 

 

Table 21:  I am going to read a series of statements, for each one, please tell me whether you Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree, or Strongly Disagree

 

                 [The order of the questions used for Tables 21 - 24 were randomized by computer for each respondent]

 

                 Women who complain about harassment often cause more problems than they solve

 

   Would you say you feel that way strongly or somewhat

 

All

Approve of Kavanaugh appointment

Strongly

Agree

13

17

Somewhat

Agree

13

14

Somewhat Disagree

21

32

Strongly

Disagree

48

29

Not

Sure

4

6

Don't Know/ Refused

2

2

 

 

Table 22:  Sexual harassment against women in the workplace is no longer a problem in the United States

 

   Would you say you feel that way strongly or somewhat

 

     [Caller: remind respondent of answer set if necessary]

 

All

Approve of Kavanaugh appointment

Strongly

Agree

4

4

Somewhat

Agree

7

13

Somewhat Disagree

24

31

Strongly

Disagree

63

48

Not

Sure

2

3

Don't Know/ Refused

1

1

 

 

Table 23:  Most women who come forward about sexual harassment are telling the truth

 

   Would you say you feel that way strongly or somewhat

 

     [Caller: remind respondent of answer set if necessary]

 

All

Approve of Kavanaugh appointment

Strongly

Agree

32

18

Somewhat

Agree

41

44

Somewhat Disagree

12

16

Strongly

Disagree

8

12

Not

Sure

4

5

Don't Know/ Refused

3

5

 

 

Table 24:  Innocent men have to be extra careful these days in order to not be accused of sexual harassment

 

   Would you say you feel that way strongly or somewhat

 

All

Approve of Kavanaugh appointment

Strongly

Agree

57

68

Somewhat

Agree

22

25

Somewhat Disagree

8

5

Strongly

Disagree

13

3

Not

Sure

0

--

Don't Know/ Refused

0

0

 

                                                                           

Table 25:  Do you support or oppose permitting drilling for oil off of the South Carolina coast?

 

All

Support

42

Oppose

47

Not Sure

10

Refused

2

 

 

Table 26:  Recently, you may have noticed that Climate Change has been getting some attention in the news. Climate Change, sometimes called global warming, refers to the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.

 

Which of the following comes closest to your opinion:

    

 [CALLER: rotate answers]

 

       Climate change is happening, but it is primarily a natural process

       Climate change is happening, and humans are the primary cause

       Climate change is happening, and it is an equal combination of humans     
             and a natural process

OR

       Climate change is NOT really happening

 

All

GOP (including Leaners)

Democrats
(including 
Leaners)

Is happening, natural process

20

30

9

Is happening, humans to blame

28

11

45

Is happening, equal humans & nature

48

52

45

Is NOT happening

3

6

0

Not Sure

2

1

1

Refused

0

0

--

 

 

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.

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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