A cadre of Democrats are beginning to doubt if Joe Biden’s dominating advantage in South Carolina will hold if the former vice president comes up short in the first three nominating contests.
Biden, who has been eclipsed by the likes of South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Iowa and New Hampshire, continues to dominate the Democrat field in South Carolina. Since announcing his candidacy in April, the former vice president has led in every single poll coming out of Palmetto State by double digits.
Biden’s standing among South Carolina Democrats was on display in a recent CBS/YouGov survey that found the former vice president leading his nearest challenger, Warren, by 28 percentage points. The former vice president’s dominance has been mostly fueled by strong support from black voters, who by most estimates will make up more than 60 percent of South Carolina’s primary electorate in 2020. An October poll conducted by Winthrop University indicated Biden was the favored candidate of 46 percent of black Democrats across South Carolina.
Such strong support from the black community is mirrored nationally and has remained unabated despite contentious revelations about the former vice president’s opposition to busing and his more recent praise of segregationist Democrats. Now some strategists wonder, however, if black voters will stick by Biden were he to falter in the first three nominating contests of Iowa, New Hampshire, in Nevada.
“The support won’t be there if he’s slipping,” a Democrat strategist told the Hill. “There’s just no way.”