Among South Carolina Democrats, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over her chief rival, Bernie Sanders, according to a new Winthrop Poll.
When asked which candidate they favored in the state’s Feb. 27 primary, 71 percent said Clinton, compared with 15 percent for Sanders and 2 percent for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Among African American voters, Clinton’s support was even more solid, with 80 percent saying they’d vote for the former secretary of state.
Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon said South Carolina is important in the presidential process because it is the first primary in the South and the first state where presidential candidates can be vetted by large numbers of African-American voters.
In South Carolina, he said, African Americans can make up more than 50 percent of the Democratic presidential primary voters, which is a much larger percentage than in the Iowa Caucus or New Hampshire primary.
Other Facts of Note:
- Vice President Joe Biden’s decision last month not to enter the race has affected voters’ choices. Thirty-four percent of Clinton supporters, and 46 percent of Sanders supporters said they would have chosen Biden over their first choice had he run.
- When asked if respondents thought Clinton could win the general election, 87 percent said yes. Only 29 percent said yes about Sanders, with 9 percent for O’Malley.
- President Barack Obama is still popular among South Carolina Democrats, with 90 percent giving him a “favorable” rating. Seventy-nine percent said they viewed Clinton favorably.
- As for the Republican field, Democratic voters were divided on who they thought would be the easiest and most difficult to beat in the November general election. New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump came in first in both categories, followed by Jeb Bush in both categories.
The poll was conducted among 832 South Carolina residents by landline and cell phones between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.
Visit the Winthrop University website to see the full poll results.