Caucus and primary results in South Carolina and Nevada provide some new insights into the thinking of the most politically active Americans in those states.
I will look at the polling for the Republican votes first, and then at the Democrats in a subsequent article.
The South Carolina primary reinforces a problem Republicans who favor immigration reform are confronting. While 53% of those voting in the Republican primary supported offering legal status to the undocumented, and only 44% favored deportation, the issue was not an important one for most Republicans.
In fact, only 10% said that immigration was important. Trump supporters, though, disproportionately said it was the most important issue. They were also the group to most favor deportation as the way to resolve the undocumented immigration question. As we saw in New Hampshire, while a majority of Republicans favor a path to legalization, those who are most fired up about immigration are also most likely to favor deportation.
Even more frighteningly, 74% of all of those surveyed favored a temporary ban on Muslims immigrating to the United States. The appeal of keeping out Muslims has spread to three out of four in the South Carolina party.
The principal Nevada caucus result for the Republicans discussed by the media has been the entrance poll claiming that Donald Trump won the Hispanic vote there. Evidence is that the sample size was too small to reach that conclusion, but, even if he did, it is unlikely to predict how Nevada Latinos will vote in the general election. Nate Silver of 538 observed of Hispanic Republican Caucus-goers: “they are not politically representative of the larger Hispanic community.”