Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leads Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by 12 percentage points in a new poll released by a conservative South Carolina political management firm.
In the poll released by First Tuesday Strategies, Trump has 50 percent of South Carolina voters' support, while Clinton has 38 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Jill Stein registered low numbers in the poll of 775 likely voters; Johnson received 3 percent and Stein received 1 percent. Undecided voters made up the remaining 8 percent.
This poll, conducted between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, comes the same day as a Washington Post-Survey Monkey poll of all 50 states showed Trump ahead by 7 percentage points in South Carolina and 4 percent of voters undecided when presented with all four national candidates. The Washington Post-Survey Monkey poll was conducted online, while First Tuesday Strategies' Palmetto Presidential Poll was conducted via landline phone numbers. Both polls are the first to be conducted in South Carolina independent of a political party since Nov. 2015 and the Washington Post-Survey Monkey poll is the first poll independent of any politically-adjacent group.
These results indicates a widening gap between Clinton and Trump in traditionally Republican-voting South Carolina. If Trump were to win by 12 percentage points in South Carolina, he would exceed the 11-point margin of victory that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had in 2012.
The race was tighter between Clinton and Trump in two recent polls commissioned by the S.C. Democratic Party. In a late August poll conducted by the Feldman Group, Trump and Clinton were tied with 39 percent of the vote each in a four-candidate field. A Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll released earlier that month showed Trump ahead by 2 percentage points, 41 percent to 39 percent, in a four-candidate field, within that poll's margin of error. S.C. Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore referred to the PPP results as "surprising" but dismissed the Feldman poll as "bogus." The S.C. Democratic Party touted the poll results as evidence the state could turn blue much sooner than anticipated.
Moore said he was confident in the Palmetto Presidential Poll results released Tuesday.
"Donald Trump and Mike Pence's campaign is clearly on a path to victory in South Carolina," Moore said. "Republicans are excited about the prospect of electing them to the White House."
The Palmetto Presidential Poll also shows both major party candidates shoring up their partisan bases in South Carolina. Trump has the support of 87 percent of South Carolina Republicans and Clinton has 94 percent of state Democrats' support. This is a 10-point jump for both candidates since last month's S.C. Democratic Party-commissioned Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll, which had Trump at 77 percent of partisan support and Clinton with 84 percent.
The new poll also shows strong support for Trump among senior citizens. The New York billionaire has a 15-point lead over Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, with 52 percent of people over the age of 65 choosing Trump, compared to 37 percent choosing Clinton. That lead was wider in the PPP poll, which had Trump with 58 percent of seniors' votes and Clinton with 30 percent. Trump had a 17-point lead over Clinton among male voters and a 7-point lead among female voters. Clinton had a significant advantage among African-American voters, earning 76 percent of their support, compared to Trump's 14 percent. This is a shift from the PPP poll, which showed Clinton with 80 percent of the black vote and Trump with 5 percent.