Poll: South Carolina Voters Say Biden The Most Electable Democrat Against Trump

July 26, 2019by Maayan Schechter
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Presidential Candidates forum hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at Cobo Center in Detroit, Mich. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/TNS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — To beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, South Carolina Democrats say that former Vice President Joe Biden would be the most electable Democratic candidate to take the White House out of the more than 20 vying for the same seat.

Monmouth University’s first South Carolina poll in the 2020 cycle, released Thursday, said 41% of likely Democratic voters in South Carolina picked the former Delaware senator because of his electability, versus the 37% of South Carolina voters who prioritized issues when picking candidates, including health care and jobs.

The poll surveyed 405 voters likely to vote in the state’s Feb. 29 Democratic primary, out of 659 registered voters contacted by landline and cellphone for the poll from July 18 to 22. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Biden’s lead among likely South Carolina Democratic voters remains strong, despite missteps on the campaign trail and a recent apology tour after two black presidential candidates — U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris — criticized his record and remarks on race-related issues.

Earlier this month, Biden apologized during a campaign stop in Sumter for his comments about working with segregationists.

“Was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again? Yes, I was. I regret it,” Biden said. “I’m sorry for any of the pain or misconception I may have caused anybody.”

Thirty-five percent of South Carolinians surveyed identified as white, versus 62% who identified as black, the poll said, putting its sample in line with the electorate expected to participate in the upcoming primary.

Among the findings:

Biden maintains a substantial lead among South Carolina voters, 39% of whom said they would pick the former vice president if they had to vote right then. The top candidates trailing Biden in the poll were:

  • U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris: 12%
  • U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders: 10%
  • U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 9%
  • Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind.: 5%
  • U.S. Sen. Cory Booker: 2%
  • Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke: 1%

In South Carolina, Biden’s largest boost came from the state’s black voters, who make up two-thirds of the state party’s voting bloc.

At 51% among support from black voters, Biden’s support among white Democrats is just 24%, according to the poll.

“Despite some supposed missteps on the issue of race, Biden maintains widespread support with this voting bloc,” said Patrick Murray, who heads the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Black Democrats tend to be more moderate than white primary voters. Biden is the best known candidate currently occupying that lane.”

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©2019 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

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