With the 2016 presidential primaries taking place in February next year, immigration is the issue weighing heavily on the minds of South Carolinians. Republican polls in South Carolina are being dominated by controversial real estate magnate Donald Trump, who has taken a very hard line when it comes to dealing with the country’s undocumented immigrants.
Trump’s level of support may not be as strong as the polls might seem to indicate, however, as most people in the Palmetto State ‒ even Republicans ‒ are in favor of offering undocumented immigrants a pathway to US citizenship under certain requirements, a Winthrop poll for The State newspaper suggests. “The answer is not build a wall or send them home,” says Chip Felkel, SC political consultant. “That’s easy, cop-out easy.”The people in South Carolina do not support the idea of citizenship to the same extent as the rest of the United States, according to a nationwide poll conducted by Gallup. The poll revealed that while 58% are in favor of the idea in South Carolina, this is less than the national average of 65%. “The loudest voice is still Donald Trump,” Felkel admits. “It’s a red-meat issue.”
The Winthrop poll indicates that South Carolinians do view immigration as an issue, but not one as important to them as the economy, the US government and general moral values.