The South Carolina presidential primary is Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s to lose, according to polling that showed the Republican and Democratic front runners solidly ahead of their nearest challengers. Trump is benefiting from a commanding lead among the state’s sizeable conservative and evangelical voting base, while Clinton’s lead is bolstered by support from African-Americans.
According to the latest CBS News-YouGov poll, Trump had 42 percent of support among likely Republican voters, and his nearest challenger, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was significantly behind with 20 percent of the support. But most notable gain among the GOP field of six candidates was seen among voters supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who polled at 9 percent behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who had 15 percent.
Kasich, who saw a bounce in support due to his No. 2 finish in the New Hampshire primary, will likely battle for third place in the Feb. 20 Republican contest, CBS News reported. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush trailed far behind the top two opponents, with each garnering 6 percent of support.
Clinton has kept her lead, with 59 percent of support to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 40 percent, according to the South Carolina primary poll. The Democratic candidates have been embroiled in an intense battle for endorsements from black leaders, which the former secretary of state appeared to be winning handily. Sanders had only slightly narrowed Clinton’s advantage with his lead among white voters and young voters. But that is unlikely to be enough to overtake Clinton when voters go to the polls Feb. 27, in a state where African-American voters make up a majority of likely Democratic voters.
The latest CBS News-YouGov polls were conducted in South Carolina Feb. 10-12. Respondents were selected from YouGov and two other online panels, according to CBS News. In total, pollsters contacted 22,517 registered voters by phone. The margin of error in the Republican poll was +/- 5.7 percent. The Democratic poll has a +/- 8.7 percent margin of error.