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Press Release for Monday, November 18, 2019

New UNF Poll Reveals Biden Leading in South Carolina’s Democratic Primary Race

Media Contact: Amanda Ennis

Public Relations Acting Director

(904) 620-2192

           

Methodology Results Contact: Dr. Michael Binder

Public Opinion Research Lab Director

(904) 620-2784

 


New UNF Poll Reveals Biden Leading in South Carolina's Democratic Primary Race

Vast Majority Would Vote for Least Favorite Democratic Candidate Over Trump

 

The Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida released a new poll comprised of likely voters in the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Preference Primary that reveals Joe Biden dominating the field by a wide margin, with 36% of likely voters indicating him as their preferred candidate, followed distantly by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders at 10% each. A large percentage of voters, 23%, indicated that they don't know who they would vote for.

 

"Buoyed by his support among African-American voters, Biden has an established lead far above the other contenders in South Carolina," said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the PORL at UNF. "Tom Steyer, who is also doing relatively well among African-American voters, looks to be making headway in South Carolina. He sits in fourth place trailing Warren and Sanders by a mere two percentage points."

 

Respondents were also asked whether they prefer a candidate who most closely aligns with their views, or one who is best able to defeat Donald Trump. A majority of 51% indicated they prefer a candidate who is best able to defeat Trump, while 44% prefer the candidate who most closely represents their views. Biden has an even stronger lead among those who prefer a candidate who is best able to defeat Donald Trump, with 44% indicating him as their preferred choice. Bernie Sanders does better amongst voters who prefer a candidate that represents their views compared to a candidate who is best able to defeat Donald Trump, with 14% and 7%, respectively. Similarly, Warren does better among those who prefer a candidate that represents their views, with 10%. When asked about the Democratic candidates' approach to healthcare, 55% prefer a candidate who would build on the existing Affordable Care Act, while only 39% prefer a candidate that would replace the ACA with Medicare-for-all.

 

"Two things jump out from these numbers. First, if voters in this race maintain their focus on beating Donald Trump, as compared to focusing on ideological proximity, Biden is heavily advantaged," Binder noted. "Second, Medicare-for-all is much less popular in South Carolina than simply improving upon the Affordable Care Act, another big advantage for Biden."

 

When asked about their least preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders tops the chart with 10%, followed closely by Joe Biden at 7%. Many likely voters did not know who their least preferred candidate was, at 40%. Additionally, most voters, 76%, would vote for their least preferred Democratic candidate rather than vote for Donald Trump or simply not turnout.

 

When asked about economic conditions in South Carolina today, 73% indicated that conditions were fair or poor, with only 26% saying conditions were good or excellent. More specifically, when respondents were asked whether the new tariffs levied against many products and materials made in China helped, hurt, or did not affect the U.S. economy, a majority at 63% said it had hurt the economy. However, when asked how the tariffs affected their family's financial situation, 59% said they had not had an effect.

 

"Democratic primary voters in South Carolina are very pessimistic about the state of the economy, and also think that Trump's tariffs are hurting the U.S. economy, however by and large they are not connecting their own economic circumstance to the tariffs," Binder said.

 

Regarding the U.S. Senate candidates for the upcoming South Carolina Statewide Primary, Jaime Harrison leads with 20%, with Gloria Bromell Tinubu is a distant second with 6%. Some respondents, 10%, indicated someone else as their pick, and a whopping 60% didn't know who they would vote for in the upcoming Primary Election for U.S. Senator from South Carolina. Separately, when asked about the most important problem facing the United States, healthcare topped the list at 20%. Healthcare was followed by the economy/jobs/unemployment at 14%, and crime with 13%.

 

"Just as politics has become nationalized for general elections, I would not be surprised to see the primary race for senate focus a key national issue such as healthcare," Binder said.

 

For details about the methodology of the survey and additional crosstabs by partisanship, age, race, sex, and education, visit the PORL website.

 

Survey Results

 

If the Presidential Primary were held today and the following candidates were on the ballot, who would you vote for? [Randomized]

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=426

Michael Bennet

<1%

Joe Biden

36%

Michael Bloomberg *

1%

Cory Booker

2%

Steve Bullock

0%

Pete Buttigieg

3%

Julian Castro

<1%

John Delaney

<1%

Tulsi Gabbard

1%

Kamala Harris

4%

Amy Klobachar

1%

Wayne Messam

0%

Bernie Sanders

10%

Joe Sestak

0%

Tom Steyer

8%

Elizabeth Warren

10%

Marianne Williamson

1%

Andrew Yang

1%

Someone Else

1%

Don't Know

23%

*Michael Bloomberg announced his intention to run for candidacy on Nov. 7 and was added to the survey Nov. 8.

 

If the Presidential Primary were held today and the following candidates were on the ballot, who would you vote for? [Randomized] by Race

Answer Options White/Caucasian

n=141

Black/African American

n=246

Michael Bennet

<1%

<1%

Joe Biden

27%

44%

Michael Bloomberg

1%

1%

Cory Booker

3%

2%

Steve Bullock

0%

0%

Pete Buttigieg

6%

1%

Julian Castro

<1%

<1%

John Delaney

1%

<1%

Tulsi Gabbard

2%

<1%

Kamala Harris

4%

4%

Amy Klobachar

1%

<1%

Wayne Messam

0%

0%

Bernie Sanders

15%

8%

Joe Sestak

0%

0%

Tom Steyer

5%

10%

Elizabeth Warren

10%

10%

Marianne Williamson

2%

<1%

Andrew Yang

1%

<1%

Someone Else

3%

<1%

Don't Know

20%

20%

 

If the Presidential Primary were held today and the following candidates were on the ballot, who would you vote for? [Randomized]

 

Some people prefer a candidate who represents their views most closely. Others prefer a candidate they believe is best able to defeat Donald Trump. Which is more important to you?

Answer Options Someone who represents your views

n=185

Someone who is best able to defeat Donald Trump

n=215

Michael Bennet

<1%

<1%

Joe Biden

31%

44%

Michael Bloomberg

2%

<1%

Cory Booker

2%

3%

Steve Bullock

0%

0%

Pete Buttigieg

3%

3%

Julian Castro

<1%

<1%

John Delaney

1%

<1%

Tulsi Gabbard

2%

<1%

Kamala Harris

3%

6%

Amy Klobachar

<1%

1%

Wayne Messam

0%

0%

Bernie Sanders

14%

7%

Joe Sestak

0%

0%

Tom Steyer

3%

10%

Elizabeth Warren

10%

9%

Marianne Williamson

<1%

1%

Andrew Yang

1%

1%

Someone Else

2%

<1%

Don't Know

27%

15%

 

Some people prefer a candidate who represents their views most closely. Others prefer a candidate they believe is best able to defeat Donald Trump. Which is more important to you?

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=432

Someone who best represents your views

44%

Someone best able to defeat Donald Trump

51%

Vote for Trump/Other

1%

Don't Know

4%

 

If the Presidential Primary were held today and the following candidates were on the ballot, who would you vote for? [Randomized]

 

Thinking about the Democratic candidates' approach to healthcare, would you prefer to vote for a candidate who wants to...

Answer Options Build on the existing ACA

n=231

Replace ACA with Medicare-For-All

n=167

Michael Bennet

<1%

<1%

Joe Biden

43%

29%

Michael Bloomberg

2%

<1%

Cory Booker

3%

2%

Steve Bullock

0%

0%

Pete Buttigieg

4%

2%

Julian Castro

<1%

<1%

John Delaney

<1%

<1%

Tulsi Gabbard

1%

<1%

Kamala Harris

4%

4%

Amy Klobachar

1%

<1%

Wayne Messam

0%

0%

Bernie Sanders

6%

14%

Joe Sestak

0%

0%

Tom Steyer

8%

8%

Elizabeth Warren

8%

11%

Marianne Williamson

1%

<1%

Andrew Yang

<1%

1%

Someone Else

<1%

1%

Don't Know

17%

28%

 

Thinking about the Democratic candidates' approach to healthcare, would you prefer to vote for a candidate who wants to...

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=435

Build on the existing Affordable Care Act

55%

Replace the ACA with Medicare-for-all

39%

Don't Know

6%

 

If your least preferred candidate were to win the Democratic nomination, would you vote for them or Donald Trump?

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=255

Least Preferred Candidate

76%

Donald Trump

7%

Someone Else

5%

Wouldn't Vote

11%

Don't Know

2%

 

If the Presidential Primary were held today and the following candidates were on the ballot, who would be your least preferred candidate? [Randomized]

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=424

Michael Bennet

<1%

Joe Biden

7%

Michael Bloomberg

3%

Cory Booker

3%

Steve Bullock

<1%

Pete Buttigieg

4%

Julian Castro

2%

John Delaney

1%

Tulsi Gabbard

5%

Kamala Harris

6%

Amy Klobachar

1%

Wayne Messam

<1%

Bernie Sanders

10%

Joe Sestak

<1%

Tom Steyer

2%

Elizabeth Warren

4%

Marianne Williamson

3%

Andrew Yang

4%

Someone Else

3%

Don't Know

40%

 

If the Primary Election for U.S. Senator from South Carolina were being held today and the candidates were the following, who would you vote for? [Randomized]

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=416

Jaime Harrison

20%

Matthew Knights

1%

William Stone

2%

Gloria Bromell Tinubu

6%

Justin Wooten

1%

Someone Else

10%

Don't Know

60%

 

What do you think is the most important problem facing the United States today? [Randomized]

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=435

Economy/Jobs/Unemployment

14%

Education

12%

Healthcare

20%

Immigration

5%

Environment

8%

Crime

13%

Terrorism

1%

Other

10%

Gun Policy

3%

Race Relations

3%

Donald Trump

8%

Don't Know

2%

 

How would you rate economic conditions in South Carolina today?

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=436

Excellent

2%

Good

24%

Fair

43%

Poor

29%

Don't Know

2%

 

As you may know, the U.S. how imposed new tariffs on many products and materials made in China and sold in the U.S., and in return China has imposed new tariffs on products and materials from the U.S. and sold in China. So far, have these new tariffs helped, not had an effect, or hurt each of the following:

 

The U.S. economy

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=435

Helped

5%

No effect

7%

Hurt

63%

No opinion

4%

Don't Know

11%

 

Your family's financial situation

Answer Options SC Likely Voters

n=435

Helped

4%

No effect

59%

Hurt

29%

No opinion

2%

Don't Know

7%

 

Survey Demographics

 

Telephone SC Likely Voters

n=433

Landline

45%

Cell phone

55%

 

What is your age?

Age SC Likely Voters

n=431

18 to 24

2%

25 to 44

27%

45-64

38%

65 and older

33%

 

What is your racial background? Is it:

Race SC Likely Voters

n=419

White/Caucasian

35%

Black/African American

60%

Hispanic

3%

Something Else

2%

 

What is the highest grade in school or year of college you have completed?

Education SC Likely Voters

n=430

Less than high school

3%

High school graduate

32%

Some college

39%

College graduate

16%

Post graduate degree

9%

Don't Know

1%

 

Are you registered as a Democrat, Republican, or do you have no party affiliation?

Party Identification SC Likely Voters

n=436

Democrat

82%

Republican

3%

NPA

15%

Other

0%

 

 

Respondent Sex [Interviewer Identify]

Sex SC Likely Voters

n=436

Male

38%

Female

62%

 

Methodology

 

The South Carolina Democratic Primary Poll was conducted and sponsored by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida, from Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, through Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, by live callers via the telephone; calls were made from 4 to 9 p.m. daily, with a maximum of five callbacks attempted. Interviews were conducted in English by UNF undergraduate students and employees. Data collection took place at the PORL facility with its 27-station Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system. The phone numbers used for this survey were sourced from Aristotle and were selected if they were active voters and had at least a 30% probability of being a Democrat. The sample frame was comprised of likely voters in South Carolina. Likely voters were determined as those who indicated that they would "definitely vote" or "probably vote" in the upcoming Democratic Presidential Preference Primary in South Carolina on February 29, 2019. Additionally, only those identifying as Democrat, Republican, NPA, or other party were included in the sample. Michael Bloomberg was added as a response option to two questions pertaining to respondents most and least preferred candidates for the Democratic Primary on Nov. 8. It should also be noted that Deval Patrick did not announce his candidacy until Nov. 14, after the field period for this survey had ended. Overall, there were 436 completed surveys of likely voters, 18 years of age or older for the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary in South Carolina.

 

The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 4.7 percentage points. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 45% to 55%. Through hand dialing, an interviewer upon reaching an individual asked that respondent to participate, regardless of landline telephone or cell phone. Data were then weighted by age, race, sex, education and partisan registration. Education weights were created from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS). Sex, race, and age weights were based on demographic data from South Carolina's 2016 Democratic Presidential Preference Primary. Partisan registration is estimated from 2016 primary voting in South Carolina.

 

All weighted demographic variables were applied using the SPSS version 25 rake weighting function, which won't assign a weight if one of the demographics being weighted on is missing. In this case, respondents missing a response for any of the demographic variables needed for weighting were given a weight of 1. There were no statistical adjustments made due to design effects. This study had a 7.8% response rate. The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Response Rate 3 (RR3) calculation was used which consists of an estimate of what proportion of cases of unknown eligibility are truly eligible. This survey was sponsored by the UNF PORL and directed by Dr. Michael Binder, UNF associate professor of political science.

 

The PORL is a full-service survey research facility that provides tailored research to fulfill each client's individual needs from political, economic, social and cultural projects. The PORL opened in 2001 and is an independent, non-partisan center, a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative and a member of the Association of Academic Survey Research Organization. As members of AAPOR, the PORL's goal is to support sound and ethical practices in the conduct of survey and public opinion research. For more information about methodology, contact Binder at porl@unf.edu or at (904) 620-2784.

 

UNF is a nationally ranked university in Jacksonville, Florida, that is nestled on a beautiful 1,300-acre nature preserve, featuring six colleges of distinction as well as nationally recognized flagship programs, with 56 bachelor degree programs and over 75 areas of concentration.

 

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