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South Carolina Might Be Closer Than Previously Thought, New Poll Finds

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been staking a win in South Carolina’s primary this Saturday as the jump-start his campaign needs to elevate himself back up to frontrunner status.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

However, new numbers from an NBC News/Marist poll demonstrate that he might not have the blowout he needs to make an impactful statement. He might not even win, it turns out…

While the poll shows Biden ahead, his lead has shrunk significantly, with 27 percent of Democratic primary voters saying they support the former vice president, and 23 percent saying they plan to vote for Sanders. Yet, when asked by pollsters whether they may change their minds before this weekend’s vote, 32 percent of Biden supporters said they might, while only 12 percent of Sanders’s supporters said the same.

That could result in Biden’s lead being even smaller when the final tally is counted, hardly the place he wants to be at before Super Tuesday just a few days later.

A big blowout against Sanders on Saturday would provide fodder for Biden to be able to say he’s a viable candidate whom moderate voters can rally around to stop the Vermont senator’s momentum. But if Sanders comes within 3 to 5 percentage points of Biden, it may cause those would-be moderate voters to “pump the brakes” on deciding Biden is the moderate candidate-of-choice.

That results in moderate voters remaining split between Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, going into Super Tuesday.

Nationally, Sanders is polling quite well — his RealClearPolitics average has him more than 11 points ahead of Biden. Performing well in South Carolina, a state that he wasn’t expected to do well within, could help cement his spot as the frontrunner.

Sanders doesn’t even have to win, but narrow the gap that Biden previously had against him, to prove himself formidable.

Sanders is already trending well in a number of important Super Tuesday states. In California, he leads Biden by 7 percent, and in Texas, he’s ahead of him by 3 percent. Those leads would undoubtedly widen if he wins in South Carolina, and it’s probable they’d stay where they’re at (or even improve) if he finishes a close second to Biden in The Palmetto State.



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