Poll Findings Gain National and International Attention
Winthrop’s Social and Behavioral Laboratory recently teamed with ETV to conduct four polls a year of South Carolina citizens concerning their attitudes towards politics and social issues.
Officials at ETV, which is the public television and radio network in South Carolina, released on May 31 the results of the first Winthrop/ETV poll on its statewide newsmagazine’s program, “The Big Picture.” Scott Huffmon, associate professor of political science and director of the social and behavioral lab, provided the show’s analysis.
“Given the rise of South Carolina to a place of prominence in presidential primary terms, data on evolving attitudes of citizens of the state will take on increasing importance in national terms,” Huffmon said about the need for the poll.
South Carolina residents will be among the first in the nation to pick presidential nominees next year. At this point, the Democratic preferential primary is set for Jan. 29, while the Republican vote is tentatively slated for Feb. 2.
The partnership allows ETV to share poll results with The State newspaper and with the McClatchy newspapers in the Carolinas. In addition to regional coverage, ABC National News and the PBS “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” were among those reporting what South Carolina residents thought about the Democratic and Republican candidates for president. The first results also garnered international attention from Arab News TV, Mideast Cable, World Weather and a German blog about American politics.
In the first telephone survey, conducted in mid-May, 670 randomly selected registered voters in South Carolina were polled. The Winthrop/ETV Poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.79 percent.
The results showed that the top three Democratic candidates—Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards—accounted for more than 60 percent of the preferences for self-identified Democrats. Just over 30 percent of Democratic respondents were still undecided.
In the Republican Party, only a few percentage points separated candidates Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
South Carolinians, no matter what party affiliation, reported that Iraq still dominated as the issue the public would most like the candidates to address.
Meanwhile, the issue of abortion remained complex for South Carolinians. While 48.6 percent of all South Carolinians described themselves as pro-life, 83.5 percent believed a woman should be able to attain a legal abortion in certain circumstances.
To see the questions and responses, as well as methodology, click here.
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