McMaster Leads by 11 in SC Gov. Race But Poll Shows Plenty of Upside for Cunningham

August 30, 2022
Cunningham McMaster SC

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is at 50% and leads his Democratic opponent Joe Cunningham by 11 points in his race for re-election. McMaster got 54% in the 2018 contest.

In a hypothetical presidential rematch, Donald Trump leads Joe Biden 46% to 34%. The 12-point margin is the same as in 2020 when Trump carried the state 55% to 43%.

While these are disappointing top-lines for Democrats in the Palmetto state, they can point to several encouraging signs in the cross-tabulations.

  • At this stage of the race, Cunningham is running five points ahead of President Biden.
  • Cunningham currently gets only 64% of the African American vote. One-fifth (20%) of African American voters are either undecided or may vote for a third-party candidate in the race for President, an illustration of the disappointment with the Democratic brand that impacts the Governor’s race. Historically, Democrats in SC earn nine out of ten African American votes.
  • Cunningham matches McMaster in the intensity of support. For both, 35% of voters are strongly committed.
  • Independents favor Cunningham 43% to 35% with 20% undecided.
  • South Carolina voters are evenly split on the Dobbs decision, 45%-45%, with 10% unsure. Independents oppose the decision by 53% to 38%.
  • Those who disagree with the Dobbs decision are more likely to be undecided in the Governor’s race.

McMaster’s bill to ban abortions even in the case of rape and incest will cost him votes. 15% of McMaster supporters and 78% of undecideds say they are less likely to vote for him because of this bill, including more than two-thirds of undecideds who say they are much less likely to vote for him because of it.

You can find full-weighted crosstabs and toplines here.

About Blueprint

Blueprint Polling is a sister company to Chism Strategies that conducts survey research in federal, state, and local elections. This survey of 721 voters August 24-25, 2022, included landline and mobile phone responses and has a margin of error of +/- 3.65%. Blueprint conducted this research with no input or funding from any candidate, committee, or interest group. For more information call Brad Chism at 601.918.4563 or email