COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - After the news of a whistleblower accusing the President of covering up a conversation with the Ukrainian President came out, South Carolinians expressed more negative views towards President Donald Trump than the whistleblower online.
According to the University of South Carolina Social Media Insights Lab, since the readout of a call between Trump and the Ukrainian President was made public, about 60 percent of South Carolinians online wrote posts that were negative towards the President. In contrast, about 26 percent were negative towards the whistleblower.
Analysts say this is surprising considering how supportive South Carolina usually is of the President. Trump won the Palmetto State by about 14 percentage points in 2016.
Kaitlyn Park monitors this data for the lab and said many people online are simply confused. "Mainly people want to know more about the content of the whistleblower complaint," she wrote. Park also said people are curious about how this will impact the President.
In Lexington, a county the President carried by about 37 percentage points, some voters expressed that same confusion, but still had strong opinions on the recent headlines coming out of Washington.
“It’s definitely hard to follow because everyone is just kinda shouting their opinion at you and you don’t know what’s true and what’s a distortion of fact,” said Democrat Keeler Fina. A view shared by her Republican coworker Spencer Hower, but despite some confusion, Hower was still open to calling the whistleblower complaint a witch hunt against the President. A phrase Trump has used many times online to describe the recent whistleblower complaints and previously used to describe the Mueller report.
Hower said it's as if the Democrats are now saying coming up with a new reason to, "get our president out of office."
However, the recent headlines about Trump strongly concerned independent voters who spoke with WIS. “This is not a witch hunt these are facts...words the President spoke into a telephone while he was talking to somebody,” said Billy Walker. Walker says he has been following the story closely and has always voted for a person rather than a party.
While the story is fast developing and may just be beginning to unfold, it seems many voters in this key early primary state have their minds made up despite a degree of confusion.