Monday, December 11, 2023

Early Primary State Voters Willing to Move Past Trump, Biden

As Trump and Biden focus their attention on the early primary state of South Carolina, Palmetto State voters are thinking about the future, one that focuses on public policy solutions, not “gotcha” politics and controversies of the past. Voters are expressing a willingness to move on from both the former and current president if they can’t meet the moment with real solutions to the problems facing everyday voters.

South Carolinians are looking for concrete proposals to address inflation. 78% of SC voters are concerned with their family’s ability to pay their bills due to inflation, with nearly half (48.4%) saying they are very concerned, according to a new poll from the South Carolina Policy Council. Less than four in ten SC voters believe America on the right track, with 58% saying it is on the wrong track.

Voters across the board still believe that lower taxes help spur economic growth.

Nearly four in five (79%) likely SC voters said further tax reductions are important for creating new jobs and attracting business, with 54% saying they are very important.

85% of GOP voters said further tax cuts are important for economic growth, as did 68% of Democrat voters and 81% of independent voters.

South Carolina voters are also demanding more government transparency. 83% agreed that government bodies should be required to livestream their public meetings on the internet for greater transparency and accountability.

Critically, the survey data shows voters are highly interested in moving on from both Biden and Trump.

In fact, 54% of likely 2024 SC voters agreed that “the country would be better off if neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump is elected President in 2024.” Only 30% said they disagree.

Other important takeaways include:

  1. A majority (51%) of likely voters viewed Trump unfavorably, compared with 46% who viewed him favorably.
  2. Biden is viewed unfavorably by 54% of likely voters, while only 45% viewed him favorably.
  3. Of Republican primary voters, only 37% said the GOP should nominate Trump in 2024, while 47% said the GOP should nominate someone else.
  4. In a head-to-head matchup, a majority of likely Republican voters favored Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (52%) over former President Donald Trump (33%) by a whopping 19%.
  5. Nearly half (46%) of Republican primary voters that viewed Trump very favorably said the GOP should nominate someone else.

Of the SC voters who viewed Biden very favorably, 38% still said America would be better off if neither Biden nor Trump were elected in 2024.

Of SC Democratic primary voters, only 43% said their party should nominate Joe Biden for re-election in 2024, while 38% answered someone else.  

A full 20% of Democrats were unsure of whom the party should nominate. Overall, more than half (58%) of likely Democrat voters indicated they are not sold on Biden in 2024.

While South Carolina is a reliable GOP state in the general election, data just to the north in purple North Carolina is shockingly similar, according to new polling conducted by Differentiator Data.

The results show that Trump is viewed favorably by just 38% of North Carolina’s likely voters. Only 42% of NC voters viewed President Biden favorably. Republican voters favored Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (47%) over Trump (35%) by 12 points in a six person GOP field. Nearly half of GOP voters that viewed Trump favorably would still pick DeSantis or another candidate.

For Trump and Biden to win back the voters they have lost, they will have to turn the page on the past and deliver an optimistic, forward-looking agenda for the future – a herculean task for two men who have been on the earth for eight decades. Another nasty personal fight between the two of them might produce an electoral winner, but not one who can capture the hearts and minds of Americans and successfully lead the country.

South Carolinians will be key in deciding which Republican and which Democrat will become their party’s nominee.  North Carolina, decided by just 1.75% in 2020, will be a key swing state in the 2024 general election.

Yet across the Carolinas, voters are already sending signals. Voters are hungry for fresh, new policy ideas. They want competent leadership that can deliver real policy solutions to address real world problems.

The question is, can either party and its candidates deliver?

Dallas Woodhouse is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Policy Council.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire.