Winthrop University: Latest Winthrop Poll: Biden's Lead in S.C. Narrows
Contact Information
News & Events
200 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-2236
803/328-2855 (Fax)

Latest Winthrop Poll: Biden's Lead in S.C. Narrows

February 19, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A fourth of those surveyed in this most recent Winthrop Poll said they were leaning toward voting for Biden, the former vice president.
  • Other candidates planning to run in the S.C. primary with support were U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 19%; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, 15%; South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 7%; and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 6%.

Winthrop Poll

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Joe Biden remains the top choice for South Carolina voters for the Democratic Party presidential nominee but other candidates are gaining ground and nearly 1 in 5 likely voters are still undecided, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. Given the margin of error, his lead of 24% to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 19% may be scant indeed.

South Carolinians head to the polls on Feb. 29 to participate in the Democratic Party Presidential Primary. Voters in the Palmetto State do not register by party.

A fourth of those surveyed in this most recent Winthrop Poll said they were leaning toward voting for Biden, the former vice president. Of the African American voters contacted, Biden had even higher numbers, at 31%. 

Other candidates planning to run in the S.C. primary with support were Sanders, 19%; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, 15%; and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 7%; and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 6%. The remaining two candidates fell under 5%. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not on the S.C. ballot.

Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon noted that, “Flames seem to be licking through the cracks in Biden’s firewall. His support has dropped by double digits since the late September Winthrop Poll. Without a strong showing in South Carolina, Biden’s campaign will be limping into Super Tuesday. Even a win, if not significant and decisive, will be interpreted as a loss by his opponents. Bernie Sanders, now second behind Biden, has more than doubled his support, both overall and among African American voters. With roughly one-fifth of voters remaining undecided, election day could hold some surprises. Elizabeth Warren has dropped by nearly 10 points since late September. One of the most significant movements came from Tom Steyer, whose ad blitz in the state took him from an unknown 2% in the late September Winthrop Poll to 15% now.”

South Carolina is important in the presidential process because it is the first primary in the South and because it is the first time presidential candidates can be vetted by large numbers of African-American voters.

See questions and answers here.

A little more than half surveyed by the Winthrop Poll said they were sure of their choice. Yet 43% of respondents said they might change their mind.

Eighty percent of poll respondents said they would vote in November for the party’s nominee, while 85% of African-American voters said they would.

Nearly half of poll respondents (44%) said their primary objective was to beat President Donald Trump, while nearly an equal number (45%) said it was key for the Democratic nominee to share their views.

The Winthrop Poll found that it made little difference to S.C. voters for a candidate to be either openly gay or a woman. Voters, particularly African-American voters, were more hesitant to support candidates who did not reflect the diversity of their political party.

Methodology

For this latest Winthrop Poll, callers spoke to 443 likely voters for the Feb. 29 S.C. Democratic Presidential Primary. Phone calls were made Feb. 9-19 primarily during weekday evenings, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon and evening and were made in English. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.7% at the 95% confidence level. Results that use all only African-American respondents have a margin of error of +/- 5.9% at the 95% confidence level.

The Winthrop Poll is paid for by Winthrop University. It is one of 18 threshold polls chosen by the Democratic National Committee to determine who among the two dozen 2020 presidential candidates qualify for debates.

For additional information, or to set up an interview with Poll Director Scott Huffmon, please contact Judy Longshaw at longshawj@winthrop.edu or 803/323-2404 (office) or 803/984-0586 (cell).

Button ArrowALL NEWS
Last Updated: 10/4/21