GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump still heads a trio of non-politicians at the head of the pack in S.C. Republican primary race, according to a new poll released Thursday.
Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a huge lead over Vice President Joe Biden, who has not decided whether to enter the race.
Trump, a New York business mogul, received 29.1 percent of Republican backing, according to the survey from One America News Network. Retired Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson was at 16.4 percent and former chief executive Carly Fiorina was at 11.1 percent.
Combined, the political novices who have dominated the 2016 field in recent weeks accounted for nearly 57 percent of support in the poll, conducted for the network by Gravis Marketing.
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Trump’s lead has shrunk since Gravis last polled in South Carolina two months ago. He led Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by 23 percentage points in late July. Meanwhile, Fiorina has made a large gain since polling at 2 percent two months ago.
In the new poll, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida were fourth and fifth at about 8 percent. Bush was sixth at 5.9 percent, down by almost half since Gravis’ last S.C. poll.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of Seneca was ninth in the poll at 1.5 percent. Graham has averaged 4 percent in other recent polls of his home state, ranking seventh in the 15-candidate field. He received 5 percent in the Gravis survey in July.
Among S.C. Democrats, Clinton received 50 percent support, well ahead of Biden’s 19 percent.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, was at 13 percent. Biden has out-polled Sanders in other S.C. surveys.
Gravis polled 1,290 S.C. registered voters from Sept. 25-27. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
S.C. presidential poll
Results of a new One America News Network/Gravis Marketing poll of S.C. voters:
Jindal, Santorum, Paul and Pataki: Under 1%
O’Malley and Webb: Under 1%