NEWS: New poll spotlights Trump, McMaster, state services

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  A new Winthrop Poll shows South Carolinians are about evenly split in their views of President Donald Trump with the 47 percent of those disapproving edging out the approvers by 4 percentage points.

“I like him – he’s something new, something fresh,” said downtown Charleston resident Julie Blackburn, who was walking along the Battery with her home-schooled daughters Thursday.  “I think he’s in it for the right reasons.  I definitely think he’ll do what he says he’ll do.

“I think it has been a long time since we’ve had a president who stands up for America and not somebody who takes the job for a job.”

Retired Realtor Max Hill, a longtime Charleston Republican, also approves of Trump.

“His appointment of a strict constructionist to the Supreme Court is extremely gratifying. It is the main reason I voted for him.”

Also approving of Trump is retired Navy Capt. David Shimp of Mount Pleasant.

“As the previous president made clear, ‘elections have consequences.’  President Trump is following through on his promises with certain resolve and high energy,” Shimp said.  “If all the din and rancor ever yields to reasoned and fact-based assessments, the country will see a positive contrast to at least the last eight years.”

Finding Trump supporters from South Carolina on Charleston’s busy tourist streets was not as easy as the poll results might suggest.   But it wasn’t hard to find people who voiced disapproval of him.

Walker E. Major, a retired Marine from Goose Creek, was fishing Thursday along the Battery. He was clear about his disapproval of Trump:  “He doesn’t have a plan on anything.  He didn’t expect to get elected.  What was his plan?  He didn’t need money, prestige or a job.  He’s just a figurehead.

“He’s blaming everybody else.  He’s saying things that don’t’ make sense.  He’s tweeting.  The man is something else.”

Leigh Mishoe of Summerville said she “absolutely, 100 percent, unequivocally disapproved” of Trump because of his governing inexperience and political inexperience.

“He’s just a rich boy who has never had to work for anything in his life.  He’s just an egomaniac.”

A College of Charleston student named Jonathan said he was still on the fence about Trump, but said he leaned against him because “he’s all over the place.  He needs to quit doing the Twitter.”

Charleston tour guide Alfred Ray said he didn’t see Trump being a leader.

“He seems to put his foot in his mouth and change his course every other day.”

A lot of jury is out still on McMaster

The Winthrop Poll, published Thursday, showed Gov. Henry McMaster with a 47 percent approval rating, but noted the approval was 26 percentage points higher than his disapproval numbers, which put him “very much ‘above water.’”

“The key for Governor McMaster are those 28 percent who have yet to form an opinion of his job performance,” said poll director Scott Huffmon.  “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.”

People interviews bore out Huffmon’s conclusions with Ray noting he didn’t yet have much of an opinion on the governor.  “McMaster doesn’t have any kind of radical Republican agenda, I think.  He hasn’t been around long enough in office yet.”

Mishoe, still with Trump in mind, noted about McMaster:  “He’s not as tyrannical of an attitude.”

Other poll results

Six out of 10 people polled said they strongly or somewhat felt services provided by the state of South Carolina, such as funding for highway troopers, social workers, mental health workers and schools, had not kept pace with the state’s growth.  Only 30 percent said they strongly or somewhat felt the state kept up with service levels.

  • Approval rating for state legislature:  47 percent
  • Disapproval rating for state legislature:  38 percent
  • Nation headed in right direction:  35 percent
  • Nation headed in wrong direction:  59 percent
  • S.C. headed in right direction:  54 percent
  • S.C. headed in wrong direction:  36 percent

Biggest S.C. problems:

  • Roads/bridges/infrastructure — 18.7 percent
  • Education — 12.1 percent
  • Jobs, unemployment – 10.1 percent
  • Racism – 6.5 percent

Check the full poll results to learn more about people’s views on other politicians, religion and people’s perceptions on chance for success.

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