If the Republican establishment wants to slow Donald Trump’s momentum, it has its work cut out for it in South Carolina. The first poll there since Trump’s dominant performance in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary on Monday shows that he has extended his lead in the Palmetto State ahead of its “first in the South” primary scheduled for Feb. 20.
The poll, conducted on behalf of the Augusta Chronicle, Fox News 5 Atlanta and Morris News Service, showed Trump with 36.3 percent support among likely voters in the GOP primary, up from 32 percent that last time the poll was in the field a month ago.
Trump’s gain did not come at the expense of his nearest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who took 19.6 percent, up from 18 percent in January. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also gained, going from 11 percent to 14.6.
The biggest winner, though, was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. After a strong second place showing in New Hampshire, the poll found that his support in South Carolina had tripled, from 3 percent to 9 percent.
The news wasn’t as good for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had been polling at 13 percent in January after receiving the endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Following relatively weak performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bush is looking to rebound in South Carolina, but the poll suggests his momentum has been blunted, showing his support falling to 10.9 percent.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a one-time Republican frontrunner, continues to fade from the race. After polling at 9 percent in South Carolina a month ago, he garnered only 5 percent this time.