New data reveals late shift away from Trump in South Carolina

Douglas RiversChief Scientist
February 20, 2016, 4:35 PM GMT+0

As South Carolina voters head to the polls Saturday to cast ballots in the GOP presidential primary, new survey data suggests the race has shifted in the final week, with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump losing some support in the state. 

When we polled for CBS between February 10-12, 2016, our results for the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary were:

Donald Trump: 42%
Ted Cruz: 20%
Marco Rubio: 15%
John Kasich: 9%
Jeb Bush: 6%
Other: 7%
No preference: 1%

We went back to our respondents yesterday were able to recontact 262 respondents. Yesterday’s interviews showed a discernible movement away from Trump. Only 84% of Trump voters said that they were still planning on voting for him, with 4% saying they now planned to vote for Ted Cruz and 4% saying they now intended to vote for Marco Rubio. 91% of the Cruz voters still plan to vote for him, with 5% now intending to vote for Rubio and 2% for Trump. Of the Rubio supporters, 82% are still planning on voting for him, with 8% now intending to vote for Cruz and 4% intending to vote for Trump. 
The Florida senator has been strengthened overall, however, by defectors from Bush and Kasich.  Only 68% of the Kasich voters still intend to vote for him, with 26% now supporting Rubio, and 5% supporting Cruz. Bush maintained the support of 58% of his voters from last week, but 33% now say they are intending to vote for Rubio, and 8% for Cruz. Neither Kasich nor Bush gained significant amounts from Trump, Cruz, or Rubio supporters.

If we apply these switch rates to our previous results, here is how we would now estimate the vote split in today’s primary:

  Donald Trump: 36%
  Ted Cruz: 23%
  Marco Rubio: 21%
  John Kasich: 8%
  Jeb Bush: 4%
  Other: 7%
  No preference: 0%

These new estimates, as mentioned previously, are based upon small samples, not a full Battleground Tracker survey. They suggest Trump is still headed for a clean victory in the state, but not as big a victory as we forecasted a week ago.