(Columbia, SC) — It’s only a snapshot in time, but the August results of a South Carolina online, rolling GOP Presidential Primary poll found former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley the consensus majority winner of the 15 candidates on a ranked choice voting ballot. Fellow South Carolinian Senator Tim Scott placed third after all votes were counted, while former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came in second.
The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce and Better Ballot SC are sponsoring both a Republican and Democratic monthly Presidential Primary online poll using ranked choice voting (also called instant runoff voting). This unscientific poll offers the opportunity for voters to learn how ranked choice voting works and to share how they really feel about the presidential candidates.
Under this increasingly popular election system, candidates must earn a majority of votes to win. Unlike in a traditional election where a candidate can win with less than 50% of the vote, ranked choice voting ensures that the winning candidate has the support of a real majority of voters.
No runoffs are necessary under ranked choice voting because voters can rank the candidates in order of preference on Election Day. If a voter’s 1st-choice candidate is eliminated, their vote counts for their 2nd-choice candidate, and so on until a winner is identified. There is no need for a voter to come back and vote again in a separate runoff election.
Ranked choice voting also eliminates the “spoiler effect” and “vote-splitting,” where a lower-performing candidate “siphons” votes away from a similar, higher-performing candidate. Voters can support their favorite candidate without fearing that they’ll “waste” their vote or hurt another candidate they like (or help one they don’t like) because their vote will simply count for their next-favorite candidate if their first choice is eliminated. The fact that two well-known South Carolinian politicians were running in the Republican poll had no impact on how well either performed.
The full and illuminating results of each round of voting in the August Republican Presidential Primary poll can be found here (click “play the animation”): https://www.
The August Democratic Presidential Primary poll, in which Marianne Williams was the winner, can be found here (click “play the animation”): https://www.
All registered voters in South Carolina are encouraged to vote each month until the political parties choose their Presidential candidate next year.
The September voting has already begun and voters can participate here: