south carolina

PARTY LOYALTY: HOW STRONG?

SOUTH CAROLINA POLL EXPLORES ESTABLISHMENT SUPPORT, ATTITUDES TOWARD GOVERNMENT

This website has written in the past about the rise of independents in American politics.  But to what extent does that translate into a voter’s preference at the polls? In other words at what point does the surging support we’re seeing across the country for political independents begin undermining party loyalty at the polls?

Market Research Foundation conducted polling in South Carolina in an effort to examine citizens’ attitudes toward partly loyalty – and to examine their views on the role and effectiveness of government.  Why South Carolina?  The Palmetto State tends to vote Republican, but it is home to a large and independent-minded segment of the electorate that does not particularly relate to either of the two major parties.

Our findings?  Loyalty runs in South Carolina deep for Democrats – not so deep for the GOP.

“Self-identified Democrats are far more loyal to their party than self- identified Republicans,” a new MRF report reveals. “Forty-one percent of Democrats said they ‘always’ voted for the Democratic candidate while only 24 percent of Republicans ‘always’ voted for the Republican.”

Asked whether they would vote for the candidate of their preferred party even if they were not enthusiastic about that individual, 37 percent of Democrats said they would stick with their party’s nominee.  Only 30 percent of Republicans felt the same way.

“Fully 66 percent of Republicans would actively consider a third party candidacy while 54 percent of Democrats would do so,” the report revealed.

In other words South Carolina may be Republican-controlled, but the GOP’s hold on power appears to be tenuous – the result of a lack of better alternatives at the ballot box, not any particular affinity for the party.

The MRF poll – which surveyed 511 voters from August 5-7, 2014 – also found that free market solutions were embraced by Palmetto State voters much more than government solutions.  Independents, Republicans and Democrats in South Carolina all agreed the free market is the best way to address America’s health care challenges.  Meanwhile strong pluralities of all three groups felt the same way about education.

“To the extent any candidate relies on government solutions to problems facing a community, he or she is actually undercutting their own credibility with the public,” the report concluded.

For more insight on the South Carolina data, which MRF will be further mining in the weeks to come, click on the links below.

MRF PARTY LOYALTY REPORT (.pdf)
MRF SOUTH CAROLINA POLL (.pdf)
MRF CROSSTABS (.xlsx)