A new Gravis Marketing poll of South Carolina shows Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton posting big leads in their races for their party’s nomination. Trump has 37 percent support, 14 points higher than his nearest rival, Ted Cruz, with 23 percent support.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is in third, with 19 percent, according to the poll. None of the other Republican candidates poll in the double-digits. Jeb Bush has 9 percent support, while John Kasich and Ben Carson are tied with 6 percent support each.
Gravis hasn’t polled in South Carolina since September, so its impossible to identify any relevant trends in this latest poll.
In the old September poll, Trump led the field by 13 points, but the runner-up then was Ben Carson. Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were just blips in that September poll.
During the Iowa caucus race, Gravis’s final poll in showed Trump with an incorrect 4 point lead heading into the caucus. The Gravis poll, however, did correctly estimate Cruz’s final vote at 27 percent. Like most other public polling, the Gravis Iowa poll significantly undercounted the number of evangelicals who turned out to vote in the caucus. Its final poll estimated that 45 percent of Republican caucus-goers would be evangelicals. In the actual caucus, evangelicals made up more than 60 percent of the vote.
In the South Carolina poll, 54 percent of poll respondents identify as evangelicals. In the 2012, primary, however, 65 percent of South Carolina Republican voters were evangelicals. Adjusting the poll to reflect higher turnout by evangelicals would likely show a tighter race in South Carolina.
On the Democrat side, Gravis shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by 18 points, 59-41. Gravis’ result is at the low end of Clinton’s lead in recent public polling. One recent public poll, from ARG, showed Clinton with a 38-point lead in the Palmetto State.
Gravis polling has tended this year to overstate Clinton’s support. Its final poll in Iowa showed Clinton leading Sanders by 11 points. At best, Clinton won the state, quite literally, on a coin toss. In New Hampshire, Gravis did better, showing Sanders leading Clinton by 16 points in its final poll.
Even that, however, understated Sanders’ support. He won the state by 22 points, six points higher than the Gravis estimate.
Given Gravis’ recent trend of overstating Clinton’s support, the fact that it finds her with a lower lead than other polling should be a source of concern for Clinton’s campaign. Especially because Democrats vote a week after the Republican primary this Saturday.
The polls were conducted Thursday through Saturday, so almost all the interviews were conducted before the GOP Presidential debate. The polls interviewed more than 1,000 likely voters in each party, providing a margin of error of just 3 percent.