A new Clemson university poll has Biden opening up a massive lead in South Carolina and Bernie Sanders the frontrunner in 3rd behind billionaire Tom Steyer.
The Clemson “Palmetto Poll” finds new candidates keeping pace with more familiar names as the South Carolina primary election vote draws to a close on February 29. Seven Democratic candidates are available for presidential primary voters to choose a favorite in the spring contest. Voters, all of whom said they planned to vote, made the following choices:
Joe Biden has called South Carolina the “firewall” for his presidential campaign, meaning that regardless of what happened before the Palmetto State vote, the outcome there would ensure his survival as a candidate.
With its “First in the South” label still intact, South Carolina offered a large African American constituency (57%) an opportunity to express their opinion about the Democratic candidates. Joe Biden’s previous association with former senators Strom Thurmond and Fritz Hollings, and his frequent visits to the state, gave him an advantage with voters. He leads all contenders with more than one-third of the vote.
Our polling shows that Biden has wide name recognition and stood in favor with older Democratic primary voters. Nearly half of those polled (40%) said they made up their minds “before the primaries began” in 2020. Despite his victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Bernie Standers could not overcome Biden’s strength in this southern state, but the Vermont senator still is popular with a projected third place finish.
The surprise showing is by Tom Steyer – who has played a small role in other primary elections, but appears as a prominent force in the Palmetto State electorate. Such a finding comes as no surprise to those familiar with South Carolina. Candidate Steyer waged an aggressive media campaign weeks before the election and made personal appearances across the state in anticipation of the February 29 vote.
One telephone respondent may have summed up the sentiment of others when he said, “Things are getting worse, we need someone new, Tom Steyer.” Michael Bloomberg does not appear on the SC primary ballot. However, his national spending habits and poll popularity allowed him to have a place at the SC primary discussion. A
lmost everyone, 92% of those called, said they had heard of Bloomberg. Even though most voters said they knew who he was, their opinions of the former NYC mayor, were divided.