Donald Trump completed a clean sweep of the first three races for the Republican nomination by claiming a 20-point victory over Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Haley, a Palmetto State native and former governor, pledged to continue her presidential campaign through the Super Tuesday primary on March 5 despite the loss.

Results from Fox News’ voter analysis, a survey of more than 2,400 South Carolina Republican primary voters, show Trump’s dominance among the party’s base, as well as divisions within the party that could affect both the remaining primaries. like the general elections.

South Carolina has an open primary, meaning any voter can choose to participate in the Democratic or Republican primary, regardless of which party they normally support. Still, most voters (87%) considered themselves Republicans, and Trump won this group by 33 points, just as he did in New Hampshire (Trump +33 points).

Haley was boosted by support from independents (+29 points) and Democrats (+88 points), although both made up relatively small portions of the primary electorate.

TRUMP WINS THE SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY AGAINST HALEY IN HIS HOME STATE AND COMES CLOSER TO EARNING THE GOP NOMINATION

The ideological divisions within the party were visible. Haley led the moderates by 26 points, essentially the same as her 25-point lead with the moderates in the Granite State. Trump’s margin among voters who describe themselves as “somewhat conservative” was narrower than in New Hampshire (18 points vs. 25 points), as was his lead among very conservative voters (+62 points vs. +67 points).

Nearly 6 in 10 voters (58%) considered themselves part of the Make America Great Again movement, and the vast majority of them opted for Trump.

Fox News Voter Analysis

The results of Fox News’ voter analysis show Trump’s dominance among the party’s base, as well as divisions within the party that could affect both the remaining primaries and the general election. (Fox News Polling Unit)

It was a different story among non-MAGA voters, who backed Haley by 51 points.

In addition to ideological differences, primary voters were sharply divided along educational lines. Trump continued to dominate among those without a college degree (+37 points), as he did in New Hampshire (+32 points) and Iowa (+49 points).

College-educated voters favored Haley by 9 points, notably narrower than her 22-point lead in New Hampshire.

Trump continued to show significant strength among rural voters, winning by 32 points. The race was closer in the suburbs (Trump +6 points).

White evangelical Christians were another major source of strength for the former president, making up half of the electorate (49%).

Fox News Voter Analysis Poll

College-educated voters favored Haley by 9 points, notably narrower than her 22-point lead in New Hampshire. (Fox News Polling Unit)

Despite his controversial comments attacking Haley’s husband, who is currently deployed overseas with the South Carolina Army National Guard, for not being more visible on the campaign trail, Trump won among the military by a margin of 28 points.

Haley launched her presidential bid with a call for cognitive testing of presidential candidates and has repeatedly questioned Trump’s mental fitness throughout the campaign. By an 8-point margin, more voters felt she has the mental capacity to serve effectively as president than felt the same about Trump.

Voters were more likely to think Trump would keep the country safe by 14 points (76% said Trump would do it and 62% said Haley would do it) and would fight for people like them by 19 points (Trump 74%, Haley 55%). ).

On the all-important question of whether to win in November, Trump had a commanding 30-point lead.

A clear majority thinks Trump should have won in 2020, as 58% believe Joe Biden was not the rightful winner four years ago. Trump won these voters by a 70-point margin; Haley won over those who believe Biden legitimately won by 53 points.

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At the same time, half were worried that Trump was too extreme to win the general election, including 31% who were very worried.

Far fewer (33%) were concerned that Haley was too extreme, including a very concerned 14%.

These concerns may explain why 6 in 10 Haley voters (59%) say they would not support Trump in the general election if he were the nominee; Very few of his supporters (12%) would be satisfied if he were the candidate.

A majority of Haley voters (59%) say they would not support Trump in the general election if he were the nominee. (Fox News Polling Unit)

Most Trump voters would ultimately back Haley if she wins the primary; 44% would not do it.

In a sign of the modest boost Haley received from those not aligned with the Republican Party, 8% of her voters said they would not support her if she were the nominee. By comparison, all Trump supporters (99%) would back him in the fall if he wins the primary.

The majority of Trump voters (89%) described their decision as a vote for their preferred candidate and not against Haley. Haley voters, on the other hand, were divided: 53% voted a mark for him; 47% voted against Trump.

Most Trump voters would ultimately back Haley if she wins the primary; 44% would not do it. (Fox News Polling Unit)

Majorities generally held favorable views of Trump, Haley, and Sen. Tim Scott (who dropped out of the presidential race in November and endorsed Trump before the New Hampshire primary). The views of South Carolina’s other senator, Republican Lindsey Graham, were less favorable.

As has happened in every Republican primary so far, immigration was the top issue on voters’ minds, followed by the economy.

Most primary voters (83%) supported building a wall along the southern border and felt that immigrants in general hurt the country (74%) rather than help it (22%).

Immigration voters were a major source of strength for Trump (+51 points), as they were in New Hampshire (+48 points).

Trump also maintained a significant lead among those who felt the economy was the most important issue (+21 points).

His lead on the issue was boosted by the 29% who said they were falling behind financially (Trump +43 points), while the race was somewhat closer among those who didn’t break even (Trump +18 points).

The relatively small group of voters who said they were winning financially backed Haley by 33 points.

Haley also had a large lead (+52 points) among those who viewed foreign policy as the most important issue facing the country, but they represented only 8% of the electorate.

Trump’s comments about NATO (suggesting that he would tell Russia to do “whatever they want” to alliance members that failed to meet their obligations to spend on national defense) caused a stir on the campaign trail. A majority of primary voters (75%) said membership in NATO is good for the United States, and 35% said membership was a very good thing.

Those who saw the alliance as very good for America backed Haley by 28 points, while those who felt it was only somewhat good voted for Trump by a similar margin (+31 points). Almost everyone who felt that NATO had been a bad deal for the United States supported Trump.

Haley and Trump also diverged in their support for aiding Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and voters were also divided.

Voters who opposed aid to Ukraine backed Trump by 55 points; those who favored aid sided with Haley (+19 points).

Military aid to Israel in the fight against Hamas was notably less divisive.

In short, half preferred the United States to play a less active role in solving the world’s problems, and this group backed Trump by 43 points. He also won among those who felt the country should be more active on the world stage (+29 points), while those who felt the United States’ current focus revolved around the right-backed Haley (+21 points). .

Trump has recently been said to be signaling openness to a national ban on abortion after 16 weeks of pregnancy. Three-quarters of South Carolina Republicans would agree with a similar approach.

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In particular, fewer (55%) would support a ban after six weeks of pregnancy.

In total, a majority said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and these voters backed Trump by 44 points. Haley won among those who felt abortion should be legal by a narrower 17-point margin.

Despite recent court rulings against him, Trump’s legal troubles do not appear to be a significant drag on his primary prospects. A quarter think the charges he faces are legitimate investigations into possible wrongdoing, while many more see them as politically motivated attacks.

Additionally, a quarter or less believe Trump did something illegal regarding his possession of classified documents (27%), his actions regarding the vote count in 2020 (26%), or the events of January 6, 2021 ( twenty%).

Methodology

The Fox News voter analysis is a survey of more than 2,400 South Carolina Republican primary voters conducted February 20-24, 2024. Full methodological details are available here.

By Sam