Majority of South Carolinians Say Schools, State Services Haven't Kept Pace

South Carolina

By G. Jackson

Most South Carolinians believe that the number of state services, such as highway troopers, social workers and schools, have not kept pace with the growth of the state, according to a recent Winthrop University poll released Thursday.

Although 62 percent of poll respondents said the pace was lacking, the number was even more telling, since respondents named infrastructure and education as the top two problems facing the state.

Nearly the same amount of people, 62 percent, said the state’s economy was getting better. Jobs and unemployment were the third top problem in the state, even as the state enjoys a nearly 15-year low jobless rate. A majority of residents remained bullish on personal, state and national economic conditions.

President Donald Trump continued to have a higher disapproval rating, 47 percent, than approval rating, 43 percent. Among Republicans—who helped him win the state with 55 percent of the vote, he remains popular.

Two months into the job and Gov. Henry McMaster has a 47 percent approval rating, with 25 percent disapproving. Poll director and Winthrop political science professor Scott Huffmon said the early numbers were strong for McMaster, who is campaigning for a full term. McMaster, previously lieutenant governor, replaced Gov. Nikki Haley on Jan. 24 when she was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

“The key for Governor McMaster are those 28 percent who have yet to form an opinion of his job performance,” Huffmon wrote. “More than a quarter of South Carolinians are taking a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude in these early months of his administration, but, among those who express an opinion, it is more favorable than unfavorable.”

South Carolinians had mixed feelings toward Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. The senior senator drew a nearly even split with a 45 percent approval, 47 percent disapproval rating.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, however, remains popular among Republicans—82 percent—and 60 percent of the overall public.

Pollsters surveyed 878 respondents by cell phone and landline from April 2 – 11. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent. The full results can be found here.