The latest poll for the South Carolina primary indicates Donald Trump still leads the Republican pack while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has retained a comfortable lead over her sole competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
A CBS News/YouGov poll released on Feb. 14 measured both the Republican and Democratic presidential races in the Southern state.
The South Carolina GOP primary will be decided on Feb. 20, followed by the Democratic primary on Feb. 27.
Among likely Republican primary voters, Trump remains the clear favorite from a pool of six candidates with 42 percent support. Coming in a distant second is Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 20 percent, whose main source of support comes from “those who consider themselves very conservative.”
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Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida clocks in third place with 15 percent of the vote, setting him up to recover from a bruising fifth place finish in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9. Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has polled at 9 percent support, an uptick after his stronger-than-expected second place slot in New Hampshire.
Sharing the fifth and final slot are former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 6 percent each. South Carolina could be a make-or-break primary for both candidates, who have so far underperformed in the GOP primaries.
On the Democratic side, Clinton has 59 percent support among likely Democratic voters. Sanders, whose campaign was given a large boost of momentum following the New Hampshire primary, trails Clinton with 40 percent.
The survey results indicate that Clinton has a dominant lead of African-American voters while Sanders has an edge among white and young poll respondents.
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This race has heated up after a combustible Republican debate on Feb. 13, when candidates shouted at each other and criticisms became personal.
“If the previous Republican debates have been World War I and World War II, this is thermonuclear,” Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer commented, according to Real Clear Politics. “I have not seen as many personal attacks or high temperature attacks as we saw in this debate … We went here from WWE to the UFC. This was a cage match of the sort that I don’t think we have at the presidential level before.”
While the bulk of the GOP field contenders are battling to likely become second place to front-runner Trump, Clinton and Sanders are currently campaigning to court the African-American vote, a core voter bloc for the Southern Democratic party.
“By some estimates, black voters make up half of the Democratic primary voters,” said NPR correspondent Sam Sanders (no relation the candidate). “And at this stage, a win in South Carolina could do a lot help to help Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton win the nomination. And black voters matter for post-South Carolina, too.”