An Opinion Savvy poll of likely South Carolina voters in next Saturday’s Republican Primary there continues to show Donald Trump leading by a relatively wide margin. The poll of likely voters was conducted February 10-11 by phone and mobile devices. The poll was weighted by age, race, gender, evangelical vote, and region. It has a margin of error of 3.5% and 95% confidence level.

The Results:

Trump: 36%

Cruz: 19%

Rubio: 15%

Bush: 11%

Kasich: 9%

Carson: 5%

Undecided: 5%

Analysis by Matt Towery (Sr.) Political Analyst FOX5 Atlanta/columnist and frequent pollster for Morris Newspapers: “The poll conducted by Opinion Savvy (which is owned and managed by Matt Towery, Jr.) is one of the most detailed surveys I have seen conducted in a South Carolina primary. Looking at the various cross tabulations, it is easy to see why Trump has such a strong lead at this point in the race. Trump carries every age group except for the youngest (18-29) where Rubio nudges Trump out by 7 points. But Trump has comfortable leads among the other age groups in the poll. Trump has the highest support from almost every segment of respondents grouped by political philosophy. Trump leads among those describing themselves as “very conservative,” “somewhat conservative,” “moderate” and “somewhat liberal.”  John Kasich leads among the few South Carolina GOP voters who describe themselves as “very liberal.”

Nearly 60% of the voters in the GOP primary identify themselves as “evangelical” in the poll. But even among these evangelical voters, Trump leads Cruz by ten points. Of course South Carolina primaries can be very volatile and turnout can greatly impact the final numbers. But it appears Trump has consolidated and expanded upon his lead in South Carolina after New Hampshire in this poll. This is notable given that recent Opinion Savvy surveys of this race in South Carolina have shown Trump in a closer race there than most other surveys.

The battle for second place now appears to be wide open. Cruz would seem to have the best opportunity to finish second but both Rubio and Bush are in contention as well. The poll does seem to indicate that Rubio’s post-New Hampshire debate “hangover” may be lifting. Just as in Iowa it would be wise to keep an eye out for last minute rise in his support should he turn in a stronger debate performance this coming week.

Finally, we will keep an eye on the well-known negative “push polls,” mailers, and ads for which the South Carolina contest is famous for producing. My guess is that Trump is at his high “water mark” in this survey and that any failure on his part to have a strong ground game or to not respond to the usual tough campaign tactics in South Carolina will result in a tightening of this race.”

Full poll and crosstabs can be found HERE


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