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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: South Carolina – Personal Traits – Fauci vs. Trump on Handling the Pandemic

Your Daily Polling Update for Tuesday, July 21


Up 1 from Saturday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on eight polls. The range is 36% (Quinnipiac) to 48% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes, it would still be 42%…. President Trump’s disapproval rating averages 56% today (same as Saturday), which is 14 points higher than his approval.


Among general election voters

(Fox News) Biden over Trump: +8 (49-41)
(WaPo/ABC) Biden over Trump: +10 (54-44)
Average of last four polls: Biden +9.3

RON’S COMMENT: Biden maintains wide leads in these two polls. However, the Fox News poll shows Biden’s margin tightening from 12 points a month ago to 8 points now. Both polls show the coronavirus issue is badly hurting Trump…. Internal data from the Fox News poll:

  • Biden wins Democratic women 91-3 and Democratic men 89-7.
  • Trump wins Republican women 83-7 and Republican men 88-5.
  • 9% of Biden supporters say there is a “strong chance” they could change their minds and 15% of Trump supporters say there is a “strong chance” they could change their minds.
  • The country is split on whether they think Trump will be re-elected, 45-45.
  • Voters favor voting by mail in the presidential election, 63-28.
  • Biden’s personal rating is 54% favorable/43% unfavorable. (Looks like just about all the anti-Trump voters are giving Biden favorable ratings). Among independents, Biden is 42% favorable/51% unfavorable.
  • Trump’s personal rating is 43% favorable/56% unfavorable. Note: Trump’s negative rating has never dipped below 50% during his presidency. Among independents, Trump is 26% favorable/70% unfavorable.
  • 29% of voters rate the economy positively and 69% rate it negatively.
  • In the WaPo/ABC poll, Biden leads Trump on the coronavirus issue 54-34, a solid 20 points. Three and a half months ago, Trump led by 2 points (45-43).

Trump over Biden over: +4 (50-46)

RON’S COMMENT: Trump won South Carolina by 14 points in 2016. This poll shows his lead is now at 4 points, a drop big enough to raise some eyebrows…. In the survey, Biden has a 74-point lead among black voters and Trump wins whites by 35 points. Biden wins women 51-47 and Trump wins men 53-41…. This poll also shows Republican Sen. Tim Scott to be the state’s most popular official, 60% approve/28% disapprove…. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is 52% approve/41% disapprove.


Among voters statewide

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) over Jaime Harrison (D): +7 (48-41)

RON’S COMMENT: Incumbent Graham maintains a less than awesome lead. Six years ago he won re-election by 16 points. He remains the favorite…. Graham wins whites by 31 points and Harrison wins blacks by 53 points. Graham’s job rating is 50% approve/42% disapprove…. Handicappers rate the race likely Republican…. From the poll report: “Voters are split over the relationship between Graham and Trump with 36% of voters believing that Graham is ‘too close’ to President Trump compared to 21% saying ‘about right’ and 6% saying ‘not close enough.’  A 37% plurality of voters indicate that they are uncertain.”

Bill Hagerty (R): 36%
Manny Sethi (R): 32%
George Flinn (R): 5%
Other 9%
Undecided 20%

RON’S COMMENT: Incumbent Republican senator and former presidential candidate Lamar Alexander is not seeking re-election. Three polls in a row find Hagerty ahead in the GOP primary by small margins…. Republican Hagerty is a businessman, former ambassador to Japan and previously served as the state’s chief economic development official. Sethi is an orthopedic surgeon. Finn has run races for Congress…. The primary is August 6…. Democrat James Mackler is in the race. He’s an attorney, Iraq U.S. army veteran and was a 2018 candidate for the U.S. Senate…. Handicappers rate the general election safe Republican.


Among voters nationwide

Regardless of how you might vote, who do you trust to do a better job on each of the following — Joe Biden or Donald Trump? 

% = Biden/Trump
The economy: 44%/43%
Coronavirus: 51%/34%
Race relations: 52%/31%

RON’S COMMENT: This Fox News poll shows Trump’s advantage on the economy, his best issue, has vanished. It also shows that the coronavirus issue is very damaging to him––Biden leads that one by 17 points.


Among voters nationwide

Do you think Joe Biden has the intelligence to serve effectively as president? 
Yes: 51%
No: 36%

Do you think Donald Trump has the intelligence to serve effectively as president? 
Yes: 42%
No: 52%

Do you think Joe Biden has the compassion to serve effectively as president? 
Yes: 56%
No: 30%

Do you think Donald Trump has the compassion to serve effectively as president? 
Yes: 36%
No: 57%

Do you think Joe Biden has the mental soundness to serve effectively as president? 
Yes: 47%
No: 39%

Do you think Donald Trump has the mental soundness to serve effectively as president? 
Yes: 43%
No: 51%

RON’S COMMENT: Biden beats Trump on these three traits––with his biggest margin on compassion and his smallest margin on mental soundness.


Among voters nationwide

Do you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following have responded to the coronavirus pandemic? 

% = Approve/Disapprove
Dr. Anthony Fauci: 74%/20%
Your state government: 67%/31%
The federal government: 50%/47%
President Donald Trump: 43%/56%

RON’S COMMENT: Looks like the White House made a major political blunder going after Fauci.


By Nick Consler

Key findings from a survey conducted by Cohen Research Group for Fireside and Adfero:

  • Constituents across America want their member of Congress to communicate with them frequently on COVID-19 matters. 
  • Nearly 50% of likely voters said they would like to be emailed with updates on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments or testing availability, and close to one-third expect their members of Congress to help them with unemployment benefits. Social distancing due to the pandemic underscores the necessity of up-to-date communication tools to relay information to constituents in home districts.
  • Likely voters want to hear from their members about a vaccine or treatments and are looking to receive that information in an expedited manner.
  • Nearly half (47%) of likely voters expect to be contacted by their member of Congress about COVID-19 at least once a week, with 13% even requesting daily updates.
  • Email communications are preferred by all age groups, especially those between 45-54 (56% chose as top method).
  • Women (36%) are somewhat more likely than men (25%) to expect help with state unemployment benefits.
  • Blacks (45%, 41%) and Hispanics (42%, 37%) are significantly more likely to expect help with state or federal unemployment benefits than Whites (28%, 28%) and Asians (21%, 29%).
  • Likely voters not working (24%, 25%) are less likely to expect their members of Congress to help them with state or federal unemployment benefits than those currently working (37%, 35%).
  • By a 2-1 margin, Democrats (40%) expect help with state unemployment benefits than Republicans (21%).
  • 22% of urban likely voters want to be contacted daily while only 9% of suburban or rural voters want daily updates.
  • “This data shows that whether people are now working from home, unemployed or continuing to perform their pre-pandemic job, they want to hear from their members of Congress on developments around COVID-19 and unemployment,” said Josh Billigmeier, CEO of Fireside. “Now more than potentially ever before, members of Congress have a captive audience that is expecting to be communicated with.”
  • For full report, go to here.


Who was the last Democratic nominee for president to carry South Carolina?

(See answer below)


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Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Gravis, July 17
CONSTITUENCY SURVEY: Adfero Omnibus Survey by Cohen Research Group, June 21-24

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Publication schedule: Lunchtime Politics will continue to publish Tuesdays and Thursdays, but will add special editions when important new data becomes available. We will return to daily publication closer to the election. Thanks to all our readers and best of health, Ron


Jimmy Carter––in 1976. Republicans won the state in all ten presidential elections since then.

Lunchtime Politics is owned and published by Ron Faucheux, Chief Analyst at Certus Insights. For interviews or speeches about polling and political trends, contact Dr. Faucheux at

The publisher of this report cannot attest to the reliability or methodology of surveys that it does not conduct.

Copyright 2020 Ronald A. Faucheux

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Ron Faucheux

Dr. Faucheux is a nationally respected public opinion analyst with a unique background in public policy and legislative research, public communications and message strategies. He combines professional competence with pragmatic problem solving skills.