Photos: South Carolina's Republican presidential primary
Republican presidential candidates have been campaigning across South Carolina in anticipation of the state’s first-in-the-South GOP primary. With its winner-take-all method of awarding delegates, the Palmetto State holds importance for the rest of the 2016 race: A win here for front-runner Donald Trump would give him a significant lead over his fellow candidates.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll finds that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, however, has cut Trump’s advantage down to 5 points. Trump was leading Cruz by 16 points a month ago – the candidates now respectively have 28 percent and 23 percent of support from likely Republican voters in South Carolina. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has 15 percent in the new poll, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush trails him at 13 percent.
Cruz and Rubio have been in a fierce fight over which candidate is the race’s most conservative, messaging that could tip the scales in favor of one of them in South Carolina’s primary.
Bush, along with Rubio, is counting on South Carolina to start a much-needed comeback after a disappointing finish in Iowa and New Hampshire. He’s recently brought his brother, former President George W. Bush, out on the campaign trail in the hopes of inspiring voters.
The primary season has already seen some surprising results – many analysts expected Trump to win Iowa’s caucuses, but Cruz took home the victory, and John Kasich finished second in New Hampshire.
All photographs were shot on assignment by photographer Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work “Political Theater” which examines the landscape of the American political system.