NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

New survey from NPI partner PPP gives Joe Biden a comfortable lead in South Carolina

In a new poll of South Car­oli­na vot­ers released fol­low­ing the results of Saturday’s Neva­da cau­cus­es, Joe Biden holds a clear lead over his Demo­c­ra­t­ic rivals.

The sur­vey by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (NPI’s pub­lic opin­ion research part­ner) shows the for­mer Vice President’s sup­port at 36%. Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders came a dis­tant sec­ond, at 21%. No oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date broke into the dou­ble digits.

This poll bucks the trend of pre­vi­ous sur­veys in the Pal­met­to State (which had Biden and Sanders with­in a few points of each oth­er), indi­cat­ing that the “come­back” loud­ly pro­claimed by Biden’s cam­paign after his (dis­tant) sec­ond-place fin­ish in Neva­da might be more than just hot air.

Biden’s rise in the polls seems to be dri­ven in large part by a col­lapse for Tom Stey­er; the Cal­i­forn­ian billionaire’s sup­port has dropped by more than half to 7%.

This would seem to indi­cate two things:

  • first­ly, that Biden’s result in Neva­da was good enough to reas­sure vot­ers look­ing for an alter­na­tive to Bernie Sanders that Biden is their man;
  • and sec­ond, that Tom Steyer’s tac­tic of spend­ing inor­di­nate sums on TV and Inter­net cam­paign ads – like he did in Neva­da, to no avail – is not working.

Biden’s lead in South Car­oli­na stems from the over­whelm­ing sup­port of black vot­ers. While the race is very tight between the can­di­dates among white vot­ers (Sanders sits at 22%, Biden at 20%, War­ren and Buttigieg at 15%), Biden dom­i­nates among African Amer­i­cans, with 50% sup­port­ing him.

Biden has spent his entire cam­paign empha­siz­ing his role in the admin­is­tra­tion of America’s first black pres­i­dent, and also has rela­tion­ships with­in the black com­mu­ni­ty that go back half a cen­tu­ry to his time as a coun­ty coun­cil mem­ber and then a Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor from Delaware.

Biden’s team should not rest on their lau­rels in South Car­oli­na, though. Bernie Sanders, who cement­ed his front-run­ner sta­tus in Neva­da, also proved in that con­test that he is capa­ble of gath­er­ing enor­mous sup­port from minor­i­ty vot­ers. Sanders cur­rent­ly leads nation­al­ly among black, Lati­no and Asian vot­ers, and has been the most pop­u­lar can­di­date among young African Amer­i­cans for months.

Sanders’ sup­port among young peo­ple is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant for South Car­oli­na, as a crit­i­cal part of his suc­cess in Neva­da seems to have been the fact that moti­vat­ed young sup­port­ers of col­or per­suad­ed their par­ents to sup­port him – which result­ed in him out­per­form­ing his polling by over 10%.

If Sanders’ grass­roots move­ment can repro­duce that phe­nom­e­non, he may give Biden more of a run for his mon­ey than the Vice Pres­i­dent is expecting.

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  1. […] View Original […]

  2. […] tar­get: Tom Stey­er. Stey­er has per­formed well in polls in South Car­oli­na (with some recent excep­tions), and has invest­ed heav­i­ly in attract­ing black sup­port­ers – he could potentially […]