Real-estate mogul Donald Trump rode another dominating performance to an impressive win in South Carolina’s Republican primary Saturday night.
Trump won in all but two of South Carolina’s counties, putting him on track to capture at least 44 of the state’s 50 delegates.
Trump rode an apparent record turnout in South Carolina’s Republican primary — almost 750,000 votes — to a double-digit victory.
In the state’s fifth-most populous county — Horry County — Trump walloped both Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, earning nearly 50% of the vote. In the highly conservative Greenville County, Trump outpaced both Cruz and Rubio.
And exit polls showed Trump dominated with nearly every single voting bloc in the Republican Party’s Palmetto State electorate:
- He won pluralities among both men (36%) and women (29%).
- He fared best among all age groups except the 17- to 29-year-old group, which narrowly favoured Cruz.
- He dominated among voters who had not completed high school (45%) and some college (40%), while winning more narrowly among college graduates. Rubio beat Trump, 32% to 20%, among voters with a post-graduate degree.
- He captured more than 30% pluralities among voters making less and more than $50,000 annually.
- While scoring best among Republican voters, Trump also captured 33% of the vote from self-identified independents, who made up more than one-fifth of the electorate.
- He won among both self-identified moderate (34%) and conservative (32%) voters.
- He grabbed 35% of the veteran vote, despite a week in which he criticised former President George W. Bush and suggested he may have “lied” about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in the country.
- He won among born-again or evangelical Christian voters, a group that had broken for Cruz in Iowa.
- He was the top choice for voters whose top issues were immigration (51%), the economy and jobs (36%), and terrorism (31%).
- Finally, the 74% of South Carolina voters who agree with Trump’s provocative proposal to temporarily bar most Muslims from entering the US chose him at a 44% clip.
With his win on Saturday, Trump became the fourth Republican presidential candidate to have won both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries since 1980. The other three candidates — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and John McCain — went on to win the nomination.
“Let’s make no mistake: Trump, amazingly, is in a commanding position to become the Republican presidential nominee,” Larry Sabato, Geoffrey Skelley, and Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, wrote Sunday.
They added: “The fact that he won about the same share of the vote in New Hampshire and South Carolina — two wildly different states — shows the broad appeal of his campaign among a significant portion of the Republican electorate.”