Welcome to the Friday, February 2, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Here’s what is at stake for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in South Carolina
- Biden ends January with presidential approval at 41%, three percentage points lower than this point during the Trump administration
- #FridayTrivia: How many states have at least one form of statewide citizen-initiated ballot measure available to voters?
Here’s what is at stake for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates in South Carolina
The first month of 2024 has come to a close—and so, too, have the first presidential nominating contests. Iowa Republicans endured bracing weather on Jan. 15 to participate in the country’s first presidential caucus, while New Hampshire voters in both parties cast primary ballots on Jan. 23.
Now, all eyes turn to South Carolina and Nevada, the next states holding primaries or caucuses. South Carolina will hold a Democratic primary on Feb. 3 and a Republican primary on Feb. 24. Nevada will hold a Democratic and Republican primary on Feb. 6, and a Republican caucus on Feb. 8.
Before we look at both states, here’s where delegate counts sit following Iowa and New Hampshire.
On the Democratic side, no delegates have been awarded at this point. That’s partly because Iowa’s all-mail Democratic caucus is ongoing (the results will be released on March 5). The other reason is that a calendar dispute between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and New Hampshire election officials meant no delegates were up for grabs (more on this below).
The current Republican delegate counts are shown below:
- An estimated 63 delegates are at stake—55 pledged delegates and eight automatic delegates (more commonly known as superdelegates). Delegate allocation will be proportional.
- The primary is open, meaning any registered voters can participate.
- To win the Democratic nomination, a presidential candidate needs to receive support from a majority of the pledged delegates on the first ballot: an estimated 1,895 pledged delegates. There are an estimated 4,532 delegates—3,788 pledged delegates and 744 automatic delegates.
- The Democratic Party will select its presidential nominee at the 2024 Democratic National Convention, which will take place Aug. 19-22 in Chicago, Illinois.
The DNC’s presidential preference schedule would have placed South Carolina as the first nominating state of the year. Although New Hampshire has historically gone first (except Iowa, which holds caucuses), the DNC’s Rules Committee voted on Dec. 2, 2022, to approve a proposal reordering the early presidential primary calendar, with South Carolina voting first, on Feb. 3, and New Hampshire and Nevada voting on Feb. 6.
New Hampshire election officials cited a 1975 law that requires the state to hold its presidential primaries at least a week before similar elections. New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley said, “The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary and it is not theirs to take away. This news is obviously disappointing, but we will be holding our primary first.”
In return, the DNC informed New Hampshire that no delegates would be allocated following the Jan. 23 primary. President Biden’s (D) name did not appear on the New Hampshire Democratic primary ballot, although he won via a write-in campaign.
Republicans will hold their South Carolina primary on Feb. 24. We’ve identified the following noteworthy candidates who are still actively campaigning: Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, and Ryan Brinkley. Overall, 10 candidates will appear on the Republican ballot, though many of those candidates have ended their campaigns.
- South Carolina will have an estimated 50 delegates. Delegate allocation will be a hybrid system.
- The primary will be open.
- To win the Republican nomination, a presidential candidate must receive support from a majority of delegates—an estimated 1,215 delegates. There are an estimated 2,429 delegates—2,325 pledged delegates and 104 unpledged delegates.
- The Republican Party will select its presidential nominee at the 2024 Republican National Convention, which will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from July 15-18.
The Republican presidential nominee has won South Carolina in every election between 1980 and 2020. Jimmy Carter (D) was the last Democrat to win the state.
Democrats will vote in the primary on Feb. 6.
- Nevada will have an estimated 48 delegates—36 pledged delegates and 12 superdelegates. Delegate allocation will be proportional.
- The primary will be closed, meaning only registered Democrats will be able to vote in the election.
Republican voters will have two chances to vote for candidates. The first, on Feb, 6, is a state-run primary. The contest is not endorsed by the state Republican Party, and no delegates will be allocated based on the primary results. Trump will not appear on the primary ballot, though Nikki Haley will.
Republicans will also vote on Feb. 8 in a caucus. Trump and Brinkley will participate in the caucus, but Haley won’t.
- Will have an estimated 26 delegates. Delegate allocation will be proportional.
- Will be closed, meaning only registered Republicans will be able to participate.
The winning major party presidential nominee carried Nevada in each election between 1980 and 2012. Between 1900 and 2020, Nevada was carried by the Democratic presidential candidate in 54.8% of elections and by the Republican candidate in 45.2%. The overall national winner carried it in 87.1% of those elections.
Following South Carolina’s Republican primary, Michigan will hold Democratic and Republican primaries on Feb 27.
We’ll bring you more on those contests—and all the ones coming in March—in future editions. Click below to learn more about the 2024 presidential race.
Biden ends January with presidential approval at 41%, three percentage points lower than this point during the Trump administration
Since we’re on the subject of the presidential election, let’s take a quick look at presidential approval ratings.
At the end of January, approval polling averages showed President Joe Biden (D) at 41% approval. Fifty-five percent of voters disapproved of his performance. This was two percentage points higher than his approval rating at the end of December.
Throughout January, Biden’s approval rating ranged from 40% to 41%. His lowest approval rating during his presidency was 38% on July 27, 2022. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.
At this time during the Trump administration, presidential approval was three percentage points higher at 44%.
Our polling index takes the average of polls conducted over the last thirty days. We show all polling results side-by-side because we believe that paints a clearer picture of public opinion than any individual poll can provide. We update our index daily as new results are published.
Click below to learn more.
#FridayTrivia: How many states have at least one form of statewide citizen-initiated ballot measure available to voters?
Mississippi’s initiated constitutional amendment process was created in 1992, and it required signatures from the state’s five congressional districts. The Mississippi Supreme Court invalidated the process in 2021, however, because the state lost a congressional district following reapportionment in 2001.
Citizen-initiated ballot measures take different forms. Broadly, there are initiatives, which allow voters to collect signatures to place a new statute or constitutional amendment on the ballot, and referendums, which allow voters to decide whether to uphold or repeal laws. There are different types of measures within those two categories.
Including Mississippi, whose initiative process is still enshrined in the law, how many states have at least one form of statewide citizen-initiated ballot measure available to voters?