South Carolina Poll: Joe Biden’s Lead Shrinks As Bernie Sanders Surges

Former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic primary race as the frontrunner, retaining the No. 1 position in national polling for months. That changed after Biden’s collapse in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont taking his place.

Biden’s campaign now appears to be shifting the bulk of its resources to South Carolina, where the Delaware Democrat has always been popular, maintaining monstrous polling advantages over his competitors. According to new polling from East Carolina University, however, cracks are emerging in Biden’s South Carolina firewall.

According to the poll — which was conducted days after the New Hampshire primary — Biden’s lead has been reduced to nine percentage points, from 37 to 28 percent. Sanders has surged — the Vermont senator is now polling at 20 percent, up six points since February 3.

Billionaire Tom Steyer, who was a non-entity in both Iowa and New Hampshire, appears to have generated significant support in South Carolina, where he is polling at 14 percent. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in fourth place, with 8 percent support. Buttigieg is followed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 7 percent. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is polling at 1 percent.

Among African Americans — one of the most significant Democratic voting blocs in South Carolina — Biden is in the lead with 36 percent of the vote. Sanders is in second place with 20 percent and Steyer in third with 17. The rest of the field is stuck in single-digit territory.

There is a generational divide among African Americans, however. Biden is way ahead among those 55 and older, polling at 49 percent. Steyer is in second place with 9 percent, Bloomberg in third with 8 percent, and Sanders in fourth with seven percentage points.

Among voters under the age of 54, Sanders is in the lead with 29 percent. The second place belongs to Biden at 26 percent and the third to Steyer, who is polling at 23 percent among younger African Americans in South Carolina. Warren is the only other candidate to reach double digits, with 10 percent support.

The polling reflects a broader trend, which suggests that Sanders is supported by younger Democrats while Biden enjoys the backing of older generations. Among all South Carolinians older than 65, Biden is in first place with 47 percent and Sanders is polling at 8 percent.

Among those under the age of 35, however, Sanders is in first place with 36 percent. Steyer is polling at 21 percent, Warren at 14, and Biden is supported by 13 percent of the young electorate.

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