One day after two new polls indicated that former Vice President Joe Biden could be headed for a dramatic comeback in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, thanks to the upcoming South Carolina primary, another poll released on Thursday shows Biden surging to a massive 20-point lead in the Palmetto State.
According to the survey conducted by Monmouth University, 36 percent of South Carolina Democratic voters say they will vote for Biden, compared to only 16 percent for second-place Sanders. Billionaire activist Tom Steyer placed a close third in the poll with 15 percent support.
Biden also appears strong in Florida, which holds its primary vote on March 17. According to a survey released Thursday by St. Pete Polls, Biden is in line for 34 percent of the vote in Florida, while Sanders trails in a distant third, at 13 percent.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is currently in second place in the Sunshine State, though his 25 percent still places him nine points behind Biden.
The Monmouth South Carolina poll represented a slight boost for Biden compared to the most recent prior Monmouth poll in the state, taken in October. In that poll, Biden grabbed 33 percent support, Sanders placed third with 12 percent, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren came in second at 16 percent. But in the most recent survey, Warren dropped to just eight percent support.
To qualify to take pledged delegates out of South Carolina’s primary, a candidate must command at least 15 percent of the vote.
The new Monmouth poll was taken following Tuesday’s Nevada caucus vote, which was won easily by Sanders with almost 47 percent of the vote. But Biden finished second with 20 percent, becoming the only other candidate to finish above the statewide delegate threshold.
In a Clemson University poll released Wednesday, Biden led Sanders by 18 percentage points. In a Public Policy Polling survey, Biden led Sanders by 15 points.
The political data site FiveThirtyEight.com, which compiles polling and other factors into an overall election forecast, also sees Biden cruising to a South Carolina victory. The site gives Biden an 80 percent chance of winning Saturday’s primary, compared to just 17 percent for Sanders, the next-most-likely winner.
According to the FiveThirtyEight.com prediction, Biden is most likely to win 34 percent of the vote in South Carolina, allowing him to walk away with 26 of the state’s 54 pledged delegates. The site projects Sanders to take 17 delegates. If those predictions prove accurate, Sanders will survive South Carolina with the lead in overall delegates, at 62, while Biden will move into second place with 41 pledged delegates.
Bloomberg is not on the ballot in South Carolina, but according to the Monmouth poll, 25 percent of South Carolina voters say that they would be at least “somewhat” likely to vote for him if he had qualified. But two percent said that they planned to vote for Bloomberg — until they were made aware that his name will not appear on their ballot.