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South Carolina GOP Voters: DeSantis Nearly 20 Points Ahead of Trump

A new poll of Republican voters in South Carolina showed 52 percent preferred DeSantis compared to 33 percent for Trump.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — A new poll shows Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is outpacing former President Donald Trump among GOP voters. A South Carolina Policy Council survey of South Carolina voters conducted last week by Spry Strategies revealed 52 percent of voters supported DeSantis, while 33 percent supported Trump.

DeSantis wasn’t just scooping up the so-called “Never Trumpers.” The governor also received 63 percent of support from voters who held a somewhat favorable view of Trump, while 19 percent preferred Trump. Even among those who had a “very favorable” impression of Trump, 30 percent chose DeSantis, with the former president getting just 61 percent among those respondents who liked him the most.

The survey polled 640 likely voters via telephone between January 17–19 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.

Trump will have an opportunity to win over more South Carolina voters on Saturday. He has a scheduled campaign rally in Columbia alongside U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Henry McMaster.

The results from Palmetto State voters contrast with other polls this month that showed Trump holding a double-digit lead over the governor. Emerson College had the former president at a whopping 26 percentage points of DeSantis, while Morning Consult and Harvard CAPS/Harris polls showed Trump's lead was closer to 20 points. A December 2022 poll, however, gave DeSantis a massive 32 point lead over Trump among likely GOP voters in Florida.

Trump has been taking shots at DeSantis repeatedly since the governor won reelection in a historic landslide victory against Charlie Crist.

“I got him elected, pure and simple,” Trump said last week on the Walter Pooler podcast.

The verbal barbs have been coming for more than a year and Trump is showing no signs of slowing down, despite DeSantis’ unwillingness to respond.

“If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Trump told Yahoo Finance in October 2021. “I think most people would drop out, I think he would drop out.”