Trump Holds Lead in South Carolina; Cruz in Second as Bush Moves Up to Third In Contest

Trump Holds Lead in South Carolina; Cruz in Second as Bush Moves Up to Third In Contest

A post-debate poll of likely voters in South Carolina’s GOP presidential primary conducted by OpinionSavvy for the Morris News Service/InsiderAdvantage shows Donald Trump continuing to dominate the contest, leading his closest opponent, Ted Cruz, by some 14 points. Jeb Bush has moved into third place, just 4 points behind Cruz. The survey was conducted January 15th by both IVR phone and mobile devices. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%. The survey also shows that South Carolinians believe Trump won the debate held in North Charleston by a wide margin. 37% of the respondents who watched the debate declared Trump the winner with Ted Cruz coming in second at 22%.

When asked who they would vote for if the primary were held today, likely voters responded:

Trump: 32%

Cruz: 18%

Bush: 13%

Rubio: 11%

Carson: 9%

Christie: 4%

Fiorina: 3%

Huckabee: 2%

Kasich: 2%

Paul: 2%

Santorum: 1%

Undecided: 3%

Analysis by InsiderAdvantage founder/Opinion Savvy analyst Matt Towery:

“Trump leads in the poll among respondents who describe themselves as ‘very conservative’ but by only six points over Cruz. But Trump’s lead over Cruz widens among those who say they are ‘somewhat conservative’– he receives 33% versus 15% for Cruz and Bush. Trump led among those who said they were moderate but with Bush and Rubio receiving solid second place percentages. Trump led among all age groups but does better with the youngest of voters (40%).

“The poll confirms that Donald Trump is the force to be reckoned with in South Carolina. He has led in our prior surveys and his lead expanded a bit after the debate. Cruz, as expected, is giving Trump his closest challenge– albeit a somewhat distant one at the moment.

“Most interesting was Jeb Bush’s leap to third place in the South Carolina contest. It has been my belief that one “establishment” Republican will survive to take on Trump and Cruz in South Carolina. Bush’s lead over Marco Rubio is tenuous but it is nevertheless a lead. It may be the first glimpse of some momentum for the Bush camp. South Carolina has shown its willingness to go for the more “establishment” type candidate in some contests (McCain over Huckabee in 2008) but in recent years has grown far more inclined to support the more “populist conservative” type such as Newt Gingrich in 2012.

“As for the debate, Trump scored big with viewers in South Carolina leading his closest opponent, Cruz, by 14 points. When asked who performed the worst, Bush took ‘the prize’ with 27% and John Kasich receiving a dubious second place 17% for worst performance.”