The tidal wave of polling in advance of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary has slowed to a trickle as the presidential race enters its next phase. South Carolina Republicans will head to the polls in just four days, and the lack of polling in the state has led to a lot of guesswork about what to expect.
It came as something of a relief to campaign watchers last night when The State newspaper in Columbia published the results of its new poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling.
1. Donald Trump: 35%
2. Ted Cruz: 18%
2. Marco Rubio: 18%
4. John Kasich: 10%
5. Jeb Bush: 7%
5. Ben Carson: 7%
Note, there is no meaningful trend line since this is the first PPP poll in South Carolina in several months.
The same data found that 60% of South Carolina Republicans support a ban on Muslims entering the United States; 29% support shutting down mosques; 47% want to see a national Muslim database; and one in four GOP voters in the state are on board with outlawing Islam altogether.
With attitudes like these, the horse-race results aren’t terribly surprising.
At this point, I imagine some of you are asking, “Wait, isn’t there another nominating contest coming up, too?” The Nevada caucuses generally receive the least amount of attention of the first four races, despite their early date: Nevada Democrats will caucus this Saturday, the same day as the South Carolina primary, and Nevada Republicans will gather on Feb. 23, one week from today.
Who’s favored to win? No one can say with confidence since there are effectively no polls. And why aren’t there are any polls? Because the major outlets are reluctant to even try – determining who’s likely to participate in the caucuses is extremely difficult in statewide surveys, so even if we had some data, it wouldn’t necessarily tell us much.
Rachel talked to Jon Ralston on Friday about some of the clues, including shifts in voter registration, giving hints about what to expect from the Silver State.