A new Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of South Carolina voters finds former President Donald Trump with a 23-point lead over former Governor Nikki Haley 58% to 35%. Seven percent are undecided. With undecided voters’ support accounted for, Trump’s support increases to 61%, and Haley’s to 39%.

“South Carolina holds an open primary; there is a divide among Republican and independent affiliated voters,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said. “Voters who affiliate as Republicans break for Trump over Haley, 71%-29%, while voters who affiliate as independent break for Nikki Haley 54% to 46%.”

  • Trump’s support is highest among voters under 40, with 69%, while Haley’s support is highest among voters in their 50s, at 48%.
  • Haley leads Trump among voters whose highest degree is college, 52% to 48%, but trails among postgraduates 43% to 57%.
  • Haley also wins among the relatively few Republican primary voters who consider threats to democracy (63%), education (62%), and abortion access (53%) the top issues in the state, while Trump wins overwhelmingly with voters who say the economy (69%), immigration (74%), and crime (62%) are their top issues.

In a general election rematch between Trump and President Biden, 51% support Trump, 37% support Biden, and 13% are undecided.

A plurality (44%) of South Carolina voters oppose the state’s current abortion law that bans abortion after six weeks, while 38% support it. Nineteen percent are unsure. Public opinion on the state’s current abortion law is nearly identical to January’s South Carolina poll

  • Women voters are five points more in opposition to the state’s abortion law than male voters, 46% to 41%. 

South Carolina voters find the economy to be the most important issue at 33%, while 13% find immigration to be the top issue, 13% education, 12% healthcare, 9% crime, 6% threats to democracy, and 4% abortion access. 


The Emerson College Polling/The Hill South Carolina survey was conducted February 14-16, 2024. The sample of registered voters, n=1,000, has a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE), of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, age, party affiliation, and region based on 2024 registration modeling. Turnout modeling is based on U.S. Census parameters, and voter registration data (SC S.O.S.).

It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.

Data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, age, and region based on 2024 registration modeling. Turnout modeling is based on U.S. Census parameters, and South Carolina voter registration information. Data was collected by contacting an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, MMS-to-web, and a voter list of emails provided by Aristotle, an online panel of voters provided by Alchemer.

This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling and sponsored by Nexstar Media. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross tabulations can be found under “Full Results.”