New Poll Shows Trump Leading Haley in South Carolina GOP Primary

2024 election graphic

Another FAU and Mainstreet Research 2024 election poll

By joshua glanzer | 2/13/2024

Former U.S. President Donald Trump holds a strong lead over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the South Carolina Republican primary ahead of the 2024 election, according to a new poll released today by the FAU Political Communication and Public Opinion Research Lab (PolCom Lab) and Mainstreet Research.

The poll found 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters support Trump, compared to just 23 percent backing Haley. Trump holds commanding leads among men, older voters and self-identified Republicans. Haley fares better among younger voters and women, but she still trails Trump significantly and across most groups. The South Carolina Republican presidential primary will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24.

“Trump looks very strong in South Carolina, leading Haley handily and holding a wide advantage over Biden in a potential general election matchup,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., co-director of FAU’s PolCom Lab and professor of political science. “Trump’s dominance here sets the stage for a decisive victory in the first in the south primary, while confirming South Carolina’s status as a solid red state in the 2024 general election.”

In a hypothetical 2024 general election matchup between Trump and U.S. President Joe Biden, the poll shows Trump leading by 17 points – 51 percent to 34 percent. Trump exhibits broad strength across the state, leading among both men and women, and voters of all age groups and education levels. He holds a nearly 30-point advantage among white voters in the state. Biden’s only bright spot comes from African American voters, where he leads 56 percent to 21 percent .

The poll also tested a generic congressional ballot, finding Republicans with a 51 percent to 37 percent advantage over Democrats. Biden’s approval is low in South Carolina – just 41 percent approve while 55 percent disapprove.

“We may be in an arena where leads in polling are horse-race politics,” said Robert E. Gutsche, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at FAU and strategic lead at PolCom Lab. “That said, things change and it’s important to measure that. Even Trump’s approval numbers and popularity change over time, though it seems to always be at some kind of increase.”

The analysis in this report is based on results of a survey conducted from Thursday, Feb. 1 to Thursday, Feb. 8, among a sample of 679 adults, 18 years or older, living in South Carolina. It was conducted using a text message survey of registered voters and an online panel of registered voters, so a margin of error cannot be assigned. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in South Carolina.