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Polling Gets Sauce-y

What do you get when you combine BBQ sauce and presidential politics? (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
What do you get when you combine BBQ sauce and presidential politics? (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When barbecue sauce and presidential campaigns come together, who knows what could happen. South Carolina, known for its great BBQ, inspired some interesting and unique questions.  

This weekend, Public Policy Polling surveyed 897 likely Republican primary voters and 525 likely Democratic primary voters in the Palmetto State. And, the 29th question on the survey introduced the topic: “Do you prefer mustard, tomato, or vinegar based barbecue sauce?”  

About 31 percent of the Republicans surveyed chose tomato, 26 percent for both mustard and vinegar and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.  

From there, these sauce connoisseurs were asked about whom they supported in the primary.  Of the mustard-based crew, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is favored by 34 percent. The tomato-based voters gave Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the win at 36 percent. and vinegar-based South Carolinians led with Rubio as well, at 32 percent.  

Those 17 percent who could not chose a sauce base are fans of Ben Carson, who won 31 percent of their vote. Business mogul Donald Trump outpaced his rivals in the poll overall, but apparently BBQ lovers in South Carolina are not generally Trump supporters.  

When asked if those polled are committed to his or her choice, only tomato-based people were fully committed, polling at 32 percent over 26 percent. For each base, about half of those polled said they are evangelicals.  

Republican sauce aficionados were evenly spread among spread gender and age.  

For those voting in the Democratic primary, 31 percent favor vinegar-based BBQ sauce and 28 percent voted for tomato-based. Mustard-based came in at 24 percent and “not sure” had 18 percent.  

Of the mustard-based crew, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is favored at 27 percent. The tomato-based voters also gave Clinton the win at 29 percent and vinegar-based South Carolinians led with Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., at 35 percent. These vinegar Democrats are also the only group who said they could possibly change their mind — for the candidate, not the sauce — between now and the primary.  

And similarly, Democratic South Carolina sauce devotees are generally from an even spread of gender, race and age categories.


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