Poll: 1/3 of SC voters want to see Hillary Clinton on 2016 ballot

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - South Carolina voters want to see former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the 2016 presidential ballot.

According to a recent ABC News 4/Post and Courier poll, one-third of South Carolina voters wanted to see Clinton in the race, including 68 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Independents.

That mirror a recent Quinnipiac University poll conducted in Florida that show two-thirds of Florida Democrats want to see Clinton in the race. She also outperformed Republicans by a margin of 7 to 21 percent in that poll.

Polling data taken earlier in the month by Voter Survey Service shows Clinton has solid support among all age groups, but performs best with voters aged 55 to 64, which historically has a nearly 55 percent turnout.

The only group to vote more consistently is voters over the age of 65. In that group, 30 percent of South Carolina voters say they support a run by Clinton.

Clinton also has strong early support from voters 18 to 44, a group that traditionally does not show up at the polls, which means Democrats may have to build another strong grassroots campaign to keep younger voters invested through the campaign season.

The other top Democrat who could be considering a run for the top executive post in the country is Vice President Joe Biden.

However, Biden's polling with South Carolina voters is much weaker than Clinton. Only 1 in 20 voters say they want to see the vice president on the ballot, including fewer than 1 in 10 Democrats and Independents.

Biden's support remains weak across racial and gender lines, often well under 10 percent. He performs best in the Midlands, but only has 4 percent in the Lowcountry.

"On the Democratic side if Hillary Clinton decides to run it's difficult to imagine her having any trouble," said Robert Behre, a veteran political reporter at the Post and Courier. "On the Republican side, it's very much still a wide open, wide open contest."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush polls best among Republicans listed in the poll with slightly more than 1 in 5 voters saying they wanted to see him on the ballot in 2016.

He polls best among Republican candidates, pulling in 35 percent of the support against Sen. Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Paul comes in second among Republican candidates with 15 percent of the state's voters wanting to see him on the ballot. Paul draws support from young voters; nearly 1 in 5 voters under the age of 44 say they want him on the ballot. Meanwhile, only 9 percent from 55 to 64 back Paul.

The Kentucky Senator is also weak among women, but has fairly consistent, albeit light, support across the state.

Following Paul is Christie. Nine percent of South Carolina voters say they want to see him on the ballot. He performs best among voters over the age of 65 with 12 percent of that demographic choosing him.

However he still trails both Bush, with 22 percent, and Clinton, with 30 percent, of voters in the same category with all candidates considered.

Cuomo performs worst among the possible Republican candidates, pulling in only 2 percent of the support among the state's voters. He never rises above 5 percent in any demographic subset, the polling data shows.

What is consistent among the possible Republican presidential candidates is the lack of support they have across racial lines, which is a trend in recent presidential elections and an issue the GOP has tried to address in recent years.

Bush, Paul, Christie and Cuomo all have 5 percent or less from non-white voters in the state.

"I certainly think it's possible some other folks will emerge and certainly possible Jeb Bush will make a decision not to run. I suspect Hillary Clinton will run. But very, very interesting and something to look forward to for 2016," said College of Charleston Political Science Department chair Gibbs Knotts.

But the list presented in the poll is hardly set in stone with more than two years to go before the election and the ABC News 4/Post and Courier poll shows that.

A quarter of Republicans and nearly 1 in 5 Democrats in the state said they were looking for someone else to end up on the ballot.

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Obama continues to poll poorly in red SC

President Barack Obama has a 57 percent disapproval rating in the Palmetto State, according to a recent ABC News 4/Post and Courier poll. That includes nearly all - 92 percent - of Republican voters and half of Independents.

According to the poll, Obama's approval rating stands at 39 percent with most of his support coming from his own party. Eighty-six percent of Democrats approve of the president's job performance. An additional 40 percent of Independents also do.

"He's less popular today in the Palmetto State than he was two years ago when he lost to Mitt Romney by ten points," said Jim Lee, an official with Voter Survey Service, the company that conducted the poll.

The president's disapproval comes predictably from people who identify themselves as Republicans or conservatives, but 15 percent of Democrats also disapprove of the president's job.

By age, at least 50 percent of voters under the age of 55 disapprove of Obama's efforts in office; 47 percent of voters between the ages of 55 and 64 disapprove.

More men than women in the Palmetto State disapprove of the president by a margin of 63-54. The polling data also shows there is a 33-point split between approval and disapproval among Upstate voters and a 20-point split in the Lowcountry.

The true battleground for the president is in the Midlands where there is only a 2-point split between his approval and disapproval.

On the other hand, three-quarters of moderates and roughly four in five liberals approve of Obama. What's more, 84 percent of non-whites approve of him.

By contrast, 75 percent of whites disapprove of the president.

You know he's got really strong support amongst core Democrats," said Lee. "He's got really strong support in the African American community. But amongst Republicans, amongst conservatives in the south, he does much less well. And there's a lot of Republicans and a lot of conservatives in South Carolina."

With the president leaving office in 2016, his approval rating may not matter going forward for his political career. But it could help Republicans in South Carolina, according to Lee.

"The Republicans this November will nationalize the elections. They will make the elections for Congress and the U.S. Senate a referendum on Barack Obama," he said, adding they will likely work to associate strongly polling Democrats with the president to weaken them.

The poll was commissioned by ABC News 4 and the Post and Courier along with WYFF in Greenville, and WACHFox in Columbia. It was conducted by Voter Survey Service, a division of Susquehanna Polling and Research, from July 7-13 with 1,000 registered voters and July 16-20 with an additional 650 registered voters.

In order to be eligible to complete the survey respondents had to first indicate their likelihood of voting in the upcoming general election for Governor and U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Nov. 4. The full results include results from an automated system and live agent interviews to gather information from younger voters or people using only cellphones.

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