Newly launched, The Citadel Poll will survey South Carolina voters each year 

As the United States approaches the 2024 presidential election, faculty at The Citadel are learning more about how South Carolina voters feel about the potential candidates, as well as their opinions on preferred leadership traits and other topics. 

The Citadel Poll — which was recently launched to survey public perceptions in South Carolina — aims to better understand what is on the minds of voters in the state. It’s a new public service initiative from the Department of Political Science, housed within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

 “Our mission to educate principled leaders is greatly served by this unique academic and community experience and we expect the entire Citadel community to benefit from our scholarly attempt to better understand the American voter,” said Brian Madison Jones, Ph.D., dean of The Citadel’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences.  

A core mission of The Citadel has been developing principled leaders to serve their state and nation. The new Poll is a way to use The Citadel’s expertise – particularly about leadership – to understand what the state cares about and give South Carolina residents an opportunity to be heard. The Citadel Poll will also help understand population growth in the state and how it’s changing. The Poll will occur twice a year to survey public attitudes in the state, with Citadel faculty involved in the initiative occasionally conducting national surveys on important policy topics.  

The two Citadel faculty members who designed the first Poll questionnaire are DuBose Kapeluck, Ph.D., department head and professor of Political Science and Mark Owens, Ph.D. The Citadel Poll represents interviews with 1,000 registered South Carolina voters who were contacted by phone call or text.  

“The Citadel Poll is a way the college can provide a valuable service to the citizens of the state and also teach cadets and students the value of rigorous data analysis. Faculty at The Citadel have been leaders in the academic study of state politics for half a century,” said Kapeluck. “The Poll is a way to continue that tradition and better understand the ways in which South Carolina changes over time.” 

For future polls, Citadel cadets and students will be able to provide input into the questions and topics covered, as well as use the data collected for their own scholarly work. Cadet and student involvement on The Citadel Poll will provide a solid framework for those considering future careers in politics and campaigns. 

“The Citadel’s commitment to service extends to informing the public about what matters, a poll is a great way to do that,” said Owens. “There is no better way to teach cadets and students the value of listening to different perspectives and our diverse views than to share a survey of what their neighbors say as anonymous respondents in a survey.” 

Part of the first Poll’s questionnaire included topics of leadership traits, and how the current presidential candidates reflect what the public wants from them as leaders. The findings from the initial Poll, which surveyed 1,000 South Carolina voters between Feb. 5-11, include: 

  • Former President Donald Trump holds a considerable lead over former Governor Nikki Haley ahead of the South Carolina Republican primary. 
  • South Carolina voters currently favor leadership that prioritizes accomplishments where the outcome is likely certain, more than feeling calm and secure. 
  • Voters who have lived in South Carolina for more than five years are more likely to vote in-person on Election Day, rather than voting in-person early or by mail, than those who moved here in the last five years. 

“The Poll allows us to directly contribute to the important conversations needed to sustain our great republic. I am particularly excited for the members of our faculty who are conducting the Poll analysis, Dr. Mark Owens and Dr. DuBose Kapeluck, who are great representatives of all Citadel faculty who apply their love of learning and intellectual inquiry to local and national service,” said Jones. 

More information about The Poll as well as a full list of responses can be found at this link.