In South Carolina, Biden is Democrats' top choice

By Jennifer De Pinto

/ CBS News

New CBS News poll finds Biden ahead

Joe Biden is the top choice for his party's nomination among South Carolina Democrats, according to the latest CBS News Battleground Tracker. But Democratic voters in the Palmetto are considering other candidates too. And this is true of African Americans as well, who could make up 60% of the electorate in the state's primary next year.

Candidates not listed in graphic received 1% or less in the poll.
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Most African-Americans are considering Biden and half are considering Sanders. A third of black voters are considering supporting Kamala Harris.

South Carolina will be the first Democratic contest in 2020 where a majority of the voters will likely be African-American.

The poll was conducted before Biden made his remarks about working with segregationist senators in the past.

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Biden's ties to President Barack Obama are helping boost him to the front of the pack in South Carolina and across early voting states. More than eight in 10 (including most whites and blacks) say his history as President Obama's vice president is a reason they are considering backing him, outranking things like his policy stances and his time in the Senate.

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South Carolina voters considering Sanders, Harris or Warren are more likely to cite these candidates' policy stances as a reason for their potential support, ahead of their time in the Senate.

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Like white Democrats in the state (78%), most blacks (76%) say it's extremely important that a candidate convince them he or she can beat President Trump. Right now, most considering supporting Biden think he can probably do that.

Democrats in South Carolina do differ some ideologically from Democrats in other states holding early contests. Fewer Democrats here identify as liberal (47%), compared to those in New Hampshire (63%) or Iowa (57%).

Along those lines, South Carolina Democrats are bit less likely than those in Iowa and New Hampshire to say they prefer the Democratic nominee be someone who is progressive.

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Having a candidate understand one's faith is also more important to South Carolina voters. Two-thirds say a candidate needs to understand their faith either completely or some — higher than in Iowa (56%) or New Hampshire (44%). This is more important to African-American voters than white voters in South Carolina.

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Still, in all three states most say a candidate needs to understand their economic situation in order to get their vote, ahead of other issues asked about in the poll.

This CBS News survey is conducted by YouGov online between May 31 – June 12, 2019. A representative sample of 1,600 registered voters in South Carolina was selected, including 644self-identified Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote. The margin of error is approximately 4.9%pling error slightly. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

First published on June 20, 2019 / 6:26 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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