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CNN's latest poll in South Carolina, a key early-primary state, confirms what other polls have shown: former President Donald Trump remains the clear leader of the Republican Party and there are no alternatives.
Trump is supported by 53% of South Carolina Republican voters, a higher percentage than his Republican rivals.
One wonders, for a candidate such as Sen. Tim Scott who doesn't even receive 10% of the support from likely Republican primary voters within his own state, how he sees a path to the top.
It is another question that caught my attention in the results of the poll.
We asked South Carolina likely voters the following questions in the CNN survey conducted by SSRS:
You may have heard that Donald Trump faces criminal charges in relation to his efforts to overturn 2020's presidential election. Please let us know if you believe that these charges, if they are true, should disqualify Trump as president, cast doubt on his ability to do the job but are not disqualifying or are irrelevant to his qualification for the office.
Question posed to Republican Primary Voters in South Carolina
Two-thirds of Republican primary voters, or 67%, in South Carolina, said that Trump's attempts to reverse the election are irrelevant to his suitability for the presidency, even if they were true.
The number of voters currently supporting Trump is 92%. This is the majority of Trump supporters in South Carolina.
This group of South Carolina primary voters may not be able to accept a crucial part of the question, namely that Trump's attempts to overturn 2020 elections are true.
In September, SSRS conducted a national survey for CNN and published the results.
The ultimate implication of this is that Trump supporters are not concerned if Trump tried to subvert an election, and they have, at best ambivalent feelings about democracy.
Take a look at the following quote by Rep. Mike Johnson, which was taken from a 2019 sermon that he delivered at the First Baptist Church ofHaughton in Louisiana, argued in favor of a 'biblically-sanctioned government', which included civil government along with family and church. He said that God-fearing individuals should be afraid of democracy.
By the way, America is not a democratic country. What is a democracy? What's for dinner? Two wolves and one sheep. You do not want to live in a democratic society. He said that majority rule is not always good.
This is an interesting lecture, because it shows Johnson's worldview and his concern that the US civil government has become too powerful.
Johnson's comments about democracy are veiled in a fear for the majority. He appears to suggest that good people like himself who do not want to live in such conditions are sheep, and the majority are wolves.
Republicans have been arguing that the US technically isn't a democracy for many years. In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic was still in its early stages, Sen. Mike Lee from Utah, frustrated by being isolated, said something similar to Johnson on Twitter.
"Democracy's not the goal; liberty, peace and prospefity are." We want to see the human condition flourish. Lee wrote that a 'rank democracy can hinder this.
Lee and Johnson were active members of the Capitol Hill who actively tried to help Trump reverse the election before January 6, 2021, even though they don't wish to discuss it.
A poll released last week also plays a role in this. PRRI's American Values Survey 2023 asked Americans if they agree that the country has gotten off track and that we need a leader willing to break rules to get things back on track.
Nearly half (48%) of Republicans agreed that this idea is the foundation of authoritarianism. This compares to 38% of Independents and 29% Democrats.
The survey asked whether 'true American Patriots' might resort to violence to save their country because of how far things have gone off track.
One third of Republicans agree with this statement compared to 22% of Independents and 13% for Democrats.
Some Americans are interested in winning the election of their choice, while others care more about democracy.