GVSU political expert evaluates primary results

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Heading into the South Carolina primary, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton must re-evaluate her message, while Republican frontrunner Donald Trump may face more attacks, according to Erika King, professor of political science at Grand Valley State University.

Hear an interview with Erika King here.

King said exit polls from the New Hampshire primary show Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders received broad-based support from democrats and independents. 

"The breadth of his support is a very telling point in his favor that shows he is not a fringe candidate who appeals to one aspect of the American public," she said.

King said many party leaders thought Clinton would be the clear-cut winner in the early primaries and that Clinton must re-evaluate her message. "Hillary has to re-evaluate how she wants to reach out to a wider constituency and hone her message to make it more coherent and focused for a wider base of support," King said.

Trump was predicted to do well, but King said his win by twice as many votes as his competitors was not necessarily predicted. "He seems to be benefitting from the fact that his opponents are running against each other and not against him," she said. "Trump and Sanders are benefitting from public mood — malcontent with the establish, wanting change and what leaders can do for people like the average American."

King said Republican candidate John Kasich did better than expected in New Hampshire because he campaigned with a clear message. "He had a message of bringing people together and being positive, which allowed him to standout in a state with a lot of independent voters," said King. "He is already planning a strategy that is focusing on some swing states in the Midwest, evident by his visit to Grand Valley Monday."

King pointed out that South Carolina is a more conservative state, which may help candidates with a more conservative message who didn't do as well as they had hoped come forward.