In the presidential race, the bulk of the state-based attention is focused on Iowa and New Hampshire, and for good reason. The first caucus and first primary will have a significant impact on the race for the respective parties’ nominees.
But let’s not overlook the two states that will follow soon after. Less than two weeks after the New Hampshire primary, Nevada will host its presidential caucuses, and a week after that, South Carolinians will vote in their primary.
On the Democratic side, recent polling has shown Hillary Clinton with sizable advantages in both states, but there’s been less data available on the Republican side of late. The new results from a CNN poll helped shed some useful light on the early nominating states.
Let’s take them one at a time. Here’s how things stand among Republicans in Nevada:
1. Donald Trump: 38%
2. Ben Carson: 22%
3. Carly Fiorina: 8%
4. Marco Rubio: 7%
5. Jeb Bush: 6%
6. Ted Cruz: 4%
6. Mike Huckabee: 4%
8. Rand Paul: 2%
Five GOP candidates – Chris Christie, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, and George Pataki – are all tied at 1%.
At the top of the field, Trump’s advantage may have slipped in recent weeks in national polling, but if this survey is roughly correct, he’s still dominating in Nevada, enjoying more support than many of the top contenders combined.
Asked specifically about candidates and the economy, a whopping 67% of Nevada Republicans see the New York developer as the right person for the job. He’s also the top choice on foreign policy, immigration, social issues, and counter-terrorism. Nearly half (47%) of Nevada Republicans see Trump as the most electable GOP candidate.
Further down, both Rubio and Paul have made a concerted effort to build a base of support in Nevada, but this poll suggests those investments have not yet paid dividends.
Also note, Trump and Carson combined are now at an almost ridiculous 60% in the state.
On the other side of the country, the results are relatively similar in South Carolina:
1. Donald Trump: 36%
2. Ben Carson: 18%
3. Marco Rubio: 9%
4. Carly Fiorina: 7%
5. Jeb Bush: 6%
6. Ted Cruz: 5%
6. Lindsey Graham: 5%
8. Rand Paul: 4%
9. Mike Huckabee: 3%
10. Chris Christie: 2%
The remaining candidates are at 1% or lower.
Note, while Graham’s 5% showing represents stronger support than he has anywhere else, South Carolina is his home state – which puts his sixth-place showing in a rather unflattering context.
As in Nevada, Trump leads in nearly every issue category, including, “Which candidate best represents the values of Republicans like you?”
Yes, a plurality of South Carolina Republicans look at the thrice-married, largely secular, New York billionaire and they see one of their own.