By Sarita Chourey –
A poll of likely Republican voters in South Carolina found that 48 percent said the United States should create a database of all Muslims in the United States, even as 46 percent polled said Christians in America face “a great deal” of discrimination. Thirty-eight percent who responded said Christians in American face “some discrimination,” while 17 percent said there is”little or no” discrimination against Christians. Christians make up 71 percent of Americans and 78 percent of South Carolinians, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center – Religion & Public Life.
Less than 1 percent in South Carolina are Muslim. “A seeming siege mentality of Christian values being under attack from the secular world has been a regular feature of modern conservative politics, in general, and this presidential cycle, in particular,” said Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon. Findings were gathered after callers surveyed 828 South Carolina residents by landline and cell phones between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7. On Dec. 7, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump made his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” The poll also revealed 24 percent of likely Republican voters in South Carolina support Trump, followed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at 16 percent.
“Trump leads across multiple categories of voters from a high of 35 percent among those who wish to create a database of Muslims in the U.S. to a low of 22 percent among Evangelical Christians, who will make up nearly 60 percent of the S.C. GOP Presidential Primary electorate,” Huffmon. He pointed to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s drop among Evangelicals, from 33 percent one month ago in a Monmouth Poll,to 17 percent. The change places Carson and Ted Cruz in a tie for Evangelical support. One in five Evangelicals, however, are undecided. South Carolina is a crucial testing ground in the GOP process to select a nominee, it’s the first primary in the South, and marks the first time presidential hopefuls face a mix of conservative voters.
“Trump seems to draw a significant amount of his support from those who express anger at the government,” Huffmon said. Muslims, too, were the targets of Trump supporters’ ire. The real estate tycoon’s backers were more likely to favor conducting surveillance of Muslim mosques, 80 percent. Slightly less, 72 percent, support creating a database of all Muslims in the United States.