Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have commanding leads in the race for their parties' nominations in South Carolina, according to the latest Fox News poll.
It’s no wonder Trump is leading. He’s ahead among both those who prioritize national security and economic issues. He’s the top pick among voters on the two most important candidate qualities -- strong leader and, to a lesser degree, honest and trustworthy. Plus, he’s considered the most electable -- by a lot.
Here are the numbers:
Trump leads with 35 percent among South Carolina Republican primary voters. Ben Carson gets 15 percent, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio receive 14 percent each.
All other candidates are in single digits, including Jeb Bush at 5 percent.
The poll, released Wednesday, was conducted Saturday through Tuesday evenings. Trump made provocative remarks Monday about barring Muslims from entering the United States.
It looks like his comments help him in South Carolina. Support for Trump increased eight points after his statement -- from 30 percent the first two nights vs. 38 percent the last two nights. The shift is within the margin of sampling error.
Republican pollster Daron Shaw says, “There are enough people in the last two nights of the sample to question the widespread assumption that Trump’s comments will hurt him among GOP primary voters.” Shaw conducts the Fox News Poll with Democratic pollster Chris Anderson.
There’s no gender gap in Trump’s support, as about a third of men (37 percent) and women (32 percent) GOP voters make him their first choice.
Younger voters are less enthusiastic about The Donald. Twenty-nine percent of those under 45 back him compared to 38 percent of those ages 45 and over. Moreover, 30 percent of those under 45 say they would never vote for Trump.
The favorites among white evangelical Christians voting in the GOP primary are Trump (34 percent), Carson (18 percent), Cruz (15 percent) and Rubio (12 percent).
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham gets rough treatment from those who know him best. Only two percent of his home-state voters support him in the nomination race. And nearly one in five (18 percent) say they would never support him for the GOP nomination.
The top “never” support candidates are Trump, who has 24 percent saying they wouldn’t back him, and Bush, at 19 percent.
Among those part of the Tea Party movement, 28 percent say they would never back Bush or Graham.
National security is the most important issue for GOP primary voters in deciding their vote. Thirty-nine percent feel that way compared with 24 percent who prioritize economic issues. Some 16 percent say immigration issues will be most important and 6 percent say social issues.
Trump holds a wide lead among voters who say national security is their top issue. He receives 32 percent -- twice the support for Carson, Cruz and Rubio, who each get 16 percent among national security voters.
And those who prioritize economic issues back the same four candidates: Trump (32 percent), Rubio (14 percent), Carson (12 percent) and Cruz (12 percent).
At the same time, the poll shows national security is an area of vulnerability for Trump: 25 percent say he is the “most qualified” Republican to handle the issue, closely followed by Cruz at 18 percent. Another 11 percent pick Rubio. Only 6 percent say Carson.
Compare that to the 48 percent landslide Trump gets when GOP primary voters are asked which Republican candidate is “most qualified” to handle the economy. No other candidate even garners double digits on this measure. The next closest are Bush and Cruz at 9 percent each, followed by Rubio at 8 percent.
Strong leadership is the top trait GOP primary voters want in their party’s nominee (26 percent), closely followed by being honest and trustworthy (22 percent). Those characteristics outrank nominating someone who would shake things up in Washington (16 percent), have true conservative values (14 percent) and beat the Democrat (10 percent).
Voters who say strong leadership is the most important trait are most likely to support Trump by a wide 23-point margin. He receives 36 percent among this group, followed by Cruz at 13 percent, Rubio at 12 percent and Carson at 11 percent.
While Trump still tops the list among those who prioritize honesty, it’s by a narrower 4-point margin: Trump (24 percent), Carson (20 percent), Rubio (13 percent) and Cruz (12 percent).
GOP primary voters think Trump is the Republican most likely to beat Clinton in the general election next year. Some 42 percent feel that way. Next is Rubio at 14 percent.
In the race for the Democratic nomination, there’s really no competition for the former secretary of state in the Palmetto State. Clinton trounces Bernie Sanders by a margin of 65-21 percent, while Martin O’Malley garners just 3 percent among South Carolina Democratic primary voters.
Clinton’s support is highest among women (72 percent) and black voters (82 percent). Just over half of men also back her (54 percent). White voters are about as likely to support Sanders (37 percent) as Clinton (39 percent).
Overall, there are striking differences in the mood of partisans in South Carolina.
Nearly 6 in 10 Democratic primary voters are satisfied with how things are going in the country today (59 percent). Almost all of their Republican counterparts, 89 percent, are unhappy with the way things are going.
In addition, a majority of Republican voters (61 percent) says it feels like the economy is getting worse for their family, while over half of Democrats say things are getting better (53 percent).
The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted December 5-8, 2015, by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among a random sample of 801 South Carolina voters selected from a statewide voter file. Results for the 364 likely Democratic primary voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points and for the 437 likely Republican primary voters it is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.