The 2016 presidential front-runners – Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton – still hold large leads in South Carolina, according to polls released Sunday.
Trump leads U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas by 40 percent to 21 percent, according to the poll from CBS News/YouGov. The New York billionaire has gained 2 percentage points since the last CBS News poll in mid-December, while Cruz has lost 2 percentage points.
At 40 percent, Trump tied his highest showing of support in South Carolina since entering the race in June. He last received 40 percent in a CBS News poll in October.
Trump has led 17 of the last 18 polls in South Carolina, which holds the South’s first GOP primary on Feb. 20.
In the latest poll, Trump received most support from S.C. GOP voters who describe themselves as conservative, evangelical or, in a blow to establishment hopefuls, moderate. He edged Cruz by 1 percentage point for “very conservative” voters.
Trump also was tops among S.C. women and independent voters.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida held his spot in third place at 13 percent in the S.C. poll, taken last week. The top establishment GOP candidate has not raised his level of support in South Carolina. Rubio has not received more than 16 percent support in any Palmetto State poll.
Retired Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s 9 percent support was just ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s 8 percent for fourth spot.
The remaining GOP candidates received 3 percent or less support.
Among Democrats, Clinton leads U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in South Carolina by 60 percent to 38 percent, CBS News/YouGov found.
The former secretary of state’s 22-percentage-point lead is her smallest over Sanders in South Carolina since Sanders entered the race in April, according to Real Clear Politics. She led by as many as 56 percentage points in the fall.
Clinton’s S.C. support is down 7 percentage points since the last CBS News poll a month ago, while Sanders gained 7 percentage points.
Still, Clinton leads among African-American voters by 76 percent to 22 percent in South Carolina. Black voters are expected to cast more than half the Democratic primary votes in South Carolina, the first main primary state with a significant African-American population.
Clinton led among S.C. liberal, moderate and women voters. Sanders was tops among independent and very liberal voters and was close to Clinton among men.
The Clinton-Sanders race in South Carolina could take on even more importance because of Sanders’ lead in two states where voters cast ballots before South Carolina’s Feb. 27 Democratic primary.
Sanders leads 47 percent to 46 percent in Iowa, which holds its caucus Feb. 1, and by 57 percent to 38 percent in New Hampshire, which has its primary Feb. 9, CBS News/YouGov found.
Democrat Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, registered at zero in the S.C. poll, which has not happened since September.
S.C. presidential polls
Results of CBS News/YouGov poll 2016 presidential polls of S.C. voters last week: