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HomeNewsElectionsWhy Donald Trump is Heavily Favored to Win South Carolina Republican Primary

Why Donald Trump is Heavily Favored to Win South Carolina Republican Primary


Donald Trump Still Winning Cruz’s ‘Courageous Conservatives’ Across Palmetto State


Donald Trump, right, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, get into a contentious debate with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, center, caught in the middle at the ninth Republican primary debate in Greenville, South Carolina on Feb. 13, 2016. (Photo: Getty Images)

The likelihood that Donald Trump wins the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday February 20, 2016, is now at its highest level ever on the PPD Election Projection Model. Trump, the national frontrunner and New Hampshire winner, now has a 76% chance to defeat his closest rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Palmetto State.

Unlike other election projection “models,” we’d like to actually explain why that is the case.

In order to understand the players and fundamentals of a South Carolina Republican primary, you have to think of the state as essentially three different regions. The “Northern Up-Country” region of the state is heavily evangelical and helps to propel their share of the electorate to roughly 60%. Voter-rich Greenville County, Spartanburg County and Anderson County hardly resemble the voters in the Eastern Coastal part of the state.

Horry County, where there has been a heavy influx of retirees from the North and Midwest, shares a coastline with Charleston County and Beaufort County, where large numbers of veterans and military families drive the vote. These three counties, along with the less populated Georgetown County, make up the Eastern region of the Palmetto State, though Horry and Georgetown in the past have voted more closely in line with the Up-Country voters.

That has become less true over the last 20 or so years. Nevertheless, in 2012, Mitt Romney received most of his margin from Charleston County and Beaufort County on the Eastern Coastal region.

Richland County, which is located smack dab in the middle of the state, is the only other county that went for Romney when former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s won in a landslide. Worth noting, it shares little in common with the rest of the central part of the state, including the voter-rich counties of Lexington and Aiken. We’ll refer to this region as “Central Palmetto” for the purpose of this analysis.

Now let’s get into the numbers.

As one can imagine, for Sen. Cruz to compete or even defeat Trump in the South Carolina Republican primary, he will have to carry the lion’s share of the Northern Up-Country evangelical vote. Cruz will have to run up the margins among “courageous conservatives” in Greenville County, Spartanburg County and Anderson County in order to offset Trump’s strength in the rest of the state, where Cruz (outside of Horry County) will likely not show very well, at all.

But that’s just not happening and, frankly, hasn’t shown any sign of manifesting over the past six months. As of Tuesday, according to the PPD average of South Carolina Republican primary polls aggregated from 2/10 to 2/15, Trump handily carries these voters by an average 39% to 23%. If that holds, we’re looking at another early call and Trump Thump folks.

The rest of the state just goes downhill for Cruz from there.

Backed by a 24-point margin among moderates, Trump (42%) carries the Eastern Coastal moderates over Ohio Gov. John Kasich (18%), who polls far better than Cruz at an average 4% among these voters.

The Donald also carries every single age group, men (40% to 18%) and women (37.5% to 16.5%), and every single bloc on the ideological spectrum. Republican primary voters who self-identify with the Tea Party, one of the most highly motivated voting blocs in the electorate, back Trump by an average 45.8% to 29% over Cruz.

In a typical year, we would expect Trump to carry Horry County, simply based on the number of migrants from the North and Midwest, where he also draws strong support. But his strengths in the Central Palmetto region (20-plus point margin) coupled with his dominance among “very conservative” and evangelical voters in the Northern Up-Country, make it highly unlikely Cruz (or anyone else for that matter) can win on Saturday.

In fact, Cruz has just a 7% chance of winning the South Carolina Republican primary and, despite him polling in second place, is actually 9 percentage points below Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 16%. Rubio has the backing and organization of some of the most powerful players in the Palmetto State, including the very popular Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy. There are far more big South Carolina power-brokers backing Rubio behind the scenes and he is simply competing in a different lane.

At this point, we find it far more likely that Rubio consolidates that lane than we see Cruz weakening Trump’s base of support.

Pundit’s Perspective

Sure, anything can happen in politics. I get it. Don’t bother to write the email. If I was Donald Trump, I wouldn’t leave the state until Sunday. But, as I repeatedly argue, we at PPD have been the most accurate election projection model on the Internet since our debut in 2014 because we’re “making sense of current events” by “dealing in facts and data,” not wishful thinking.

Absent a complete shift in a six-month strong trend line, Donald Trump will win the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday.

Recent Analysis From the People’s Pundit


February 16, 2016 – The fundamental problem with the “millions of courageous conservatives” strategy Ted Cruz has staked it all on is that they voted for Donald Trump, not him.


February 16, 2016 – At PPD, we deal in facts and data, and our post-New Hampshire primary analysis is nothing short of a reality check for candidates, pundits and the media.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • Disney IT workers allege conspiracy in layoffs, file lawsuits, Just a month ago Today under the Omnibus budget last month the foreign worker visa have been hiked, Its this terrible situation or its as Donald Trump put it, “Corporate Incursion” where giant companies are either moving overseas to China, India, Japan or any number of foreign lands including Mexico and taking American jobs. So what we have now is Republicans generous giving President Obama all the funds he needs to push aggressively all his illegal alien invaders into our suffering job market and citizen entitlements. The latest news is giant Ford corporation is to invest $3 billion in a new car plant in Mexico, the biggest investment in the country’s manufacturing sector. The White House pushes for more corporate trade deals like TPP, The Transpacific Partnership the effects from older ones are still leaving their mark on American workers. Nabisco, the cookie manufacturer, now owned by Mondelez International, plans to get rid of half of its workers at the company’s Chicago bakery and send the jobs to a new facility in Salinas, Mexico.
    In another installment of jobs vanishing to Mexico and The 200,000-member engineering association, IEEE-USA, said the I-Squared bill would “help destroy” the IT workforce with a flood of lower paid foreign workers. Then Carrier air conditioner manufacturing plant in Indianapolis were caught on video booing and jeering after being told that the plant would be relocated to Monterrey, Mexico. So you have to wonder what mega company is next on the list. All these workers should vote for Donald Trump as he is the ONLY one, who will end this disgusting loss of jobs and mega companies. Every American who believes that they have a priority, no matter their political association as under the Hillary, Sanders, and Bushes, they will do nothing to stop this mass vanishing of businesses to other countries.
    In December, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama who is also the chairman of the Immigration subcommittee, and a tireless instrument against the illegal immigration pathway to citizenship and amnesty and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), introduced an H-1B reform bill that includes a prohibition against non-disparagement clauses.
    The bill “would thwart employers who seek access to the (H-1B) program from requiring US employees to sign so-called non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements.” The agreements can prevent “American employees from discussing potential misuse of the program publicly.”
    Non-disparagement clauses are common in severance agreements. But for instance Disney severance did not have one, and had no prohibition against any claims or lawsuits, said Sara Blackwell, an attorney representing former Disney IT workers. It is unclear why the company went this route.
    Fear of endangering new employment also keeps many dislodged IT workers silent. But even so lawsuits alleging discrimination and racketeering are being filed on behalf of displaced IT personnel.
    Brian Buchanan, a former Southern California Edison IT worker, is another employee had to train his foreign counterpart and that comprises of Disney Corporation workers. He is now part of a class action lawsuit alleging discrimination by Tata Consultancy Services, an Indian multinational information technology service, one of the IT services firms used by Edison. He is also contained in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s decision to allow spouses of some H-1B workers to seek employment, when American single mothers cannot find work. That lawsuit argues that the added workers will hurt the job marketplace for U.S. workers.
    Buchanan, who has contacted lawmakers about the effect of the H-1B programs, has seen “little progress” in the past year. He stated, “Americans are going to have to act and they are going to have to act en-mass, because we are fighting a huge, unseen force,”
    The Eversource Corporation was asked about the non-disparagement agreement, and had this response: “These are private arrangements between affected employees and our company that were made more than two years ago during a period of transition and change in support of our merger. We have successfully moved on to form a new organization focused on providing superior service and value to our customers.”
    But many IT workers hurt by offshore outsourcing have not been able to move on. Former employees at Disney, Edison and Eversource tell of financial strains, tapped retirement funds and an inability to find a job, or to find one that pays close to what they once made. Workers will say, anecdotally, that they know of many former co-workers who are now struggling. The H-1B workers tend to be younger, and the displaced ones, older, they say. It should be understood that a large proportion of IT workers are lower paid, with less benefits and are hardly likely to speak out about these conditions.

    One person who will speak out about the theft of jobs through either outsourcing or importing foreign workers displacing Americans is a President Donald Trump. There will be no excuses in his administration for companies going overseas, to Mexico and his answer is any imports will be heavily taxed, unless their regulations are fair and equitable to the American people. Just because the business you work for is not high tech, you can still lose your job. The profiteers will do everything they can to steal the American dream from US citizens and permanent residents and with any of the stringed puppets in either the Obama government of the Professional class in the Republican Party, as they have to at a future date pay back their Special Interests in the Peoples votes–Trump owes nothing to anybody. Ironically Trump doesn’t need to be a nominee, he has said, he can live his life in paradise, but he has agonized over the grind and grief of American labor, especially the working class man and women who have been disregarded by those in charge–and he is going to change it.


    Whether it’s to do with the illegal alien invasion, jobs and companies moving overseas or Americans being affected by companies passing out pink slips, and then substituting low paid foreign workers, it cannot all be blamed on the US companies? Taxes for businesses are one of the highest in the world, coupled with Rules and Regulations that to them is a sizzling cauldron of uncertainty. I don’t see any changes in the situation at the highest level of government, unless the American people realize that Donald trump as President has the expertise, experience and ‘take no prisoner’ attitude and is not afraid to speak out against the GOP establishment, who are the guardians of the wealthy profiteers.
    A vote for Trump is an end to the political corruption.
    Trump has the backing of top businessman and women advisors to get that proverbial train wreck on the tracks again, instead of where we are heading now. Our economy has hardly moved up on Obamas’ watch, who is more interested in so called global warming, than jobs for millions in the population out of work west Virginians. Not just Obamas’ adamant repressive policies using intimidation against the coal, oil and natural gas industries, but ending the validation Keystone Pipeline from Canada.
    Jobs are being lost in huge numbers and there is a veil hiding the true figures by this administration and the conventional Democratic media.
    In Congress exclusively (IT) Information Technology workers are fighting back and often in silence as In Washington the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. It was heard ‘loud and clear’on much of the frustration focused on the IT layoffs at Southern California Edison, who is cutting 500 IT workers after hiring two offshore outsourcing firms. This has become the latest example for critics of the abundant visa program’s capacity for abuse.
    IT workers are challenging the replacement of U.S. employees with foreign visa holders. Lawsuits are on the increase and workers are contacting lawmakers and attorneys. Disney workers who lost their jobs on Jan. 30, 2015, are especially aggressive and angry.
    The Disney severance package offered to them did not include a non-disparagement clause, making it easier for laid-off workers to speak out. This is in dissimilarity to the severance offered to Northeast Utility workers.
    The utility company now known as Eversource Energy and based in Connecticut and Massachusetts, laid off approximately 200 IT employees in 2014 after contracting with two India-based offshore outsourcing firms. The employees contacted local media and lawmakers to pressure the utility to ditch its outsourcing plan.
    Some of the utility’s IT employees had to train their foreign substitute. Failure to do so meant loss of severance pay. But a scheme emerged to show workers scorn for what was taking place: Small American flags were placed in cubicles and along the hallway in silent complaint and the flags that disappeared as the workers were terminated.
    The utility employees left their jobs with a severance package that included this sentence: “Employee agrees that he/she shall make no statements to anyone, spoken or written, that would tend to disparage or discredit the Company or any of the Company’s officers, directors, employees, or agents.”
    “Their freedom of speech is being taken away from them with the non-disparagement agreements,” he said.
    That clause has kept former Eversource employees from speaking out because of worries that the utility company will sue them if they say anything about their experience. The IT firms that ‘Eversource’ uses, ‘Infosys’ and Tata Consultancy Services, are major abusers of the H-1B visa.
    But staying silent is difficult, especially after Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut co-sponsored legislation in January 2015 that would hike the 65,000 H-1B base cap escalation to as high as 195,000. The measure, known as the I-Squared Act, left some of the former utility IT employees incredulous. They were far from alone around our sovereign nation. Blumenthal remains a co-sponsor of the I-Squared Act, which raised questions among those laid off about his intentions. “He is still co-sponsoring everything,” one former Connecticut utility worker said about Blumenthal. The worker asked not to be identified because of severance package limitations. “He is totally unbelievable.”
    Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-IL.), designed the bill to prevent the replacement of U.S. workers by H-1B visa holders. Nonetheless, Leo Perrero, an IT worker at Disney who was laid off after training his foreign replacement, says non-disparagement agreements encumber the debate over the H-1B visa. Without such blatant unethical agreements, “you would have a lot more people speaking out – real human beings with real stories, not just nameless persons speaking out,” said Perrero.
    The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee wanted to hear, last year, from IT employees who had been displaced by H-1B workers. It also wanted them to testify. It reached out nationally to affected employees, but had to settle for written testimony that was kept anonymous by the committee. The workers were too afraid to speak publicly.
    You cannot be without suspicion that got a large donation to reelections or personal loans. Corruption is uncontrolled across the Pontamac.

  • Trump is a vulgar, narcissistic, egomaniacal, petulant, bottom feeding game show host

    • Maybe. But he’s still going to win South Carolina and very likely the nomination. By a lot.

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