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Biden Holds On to Commanding Lead in South Carolina

Former Vice President Joe Biden has retained his 20-point lead in South Carolina among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a new poll released Monday. 

(CN) – Former Vice President Joe Biden has retained his 20-point lead in South Carolina among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a new poll released Monday.

Because South Carolina is the first state in the South to hold a presidential primary in 2020, it has received a considerable amount of attention Democratic presidential candidates since the beginning of the election cycle.

The Palmetto State’s Feb. 29 primary will be the fourth such contest in the nation, after caucuses in Iowa and Nevada and a primary in New Hampshire.

Biden continues to enjoy far more support than any of his Democratic primary rivals in South Carolina, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday that shows he maintains a 20-point lead in the race.

The former vice president has the support of 33% of likely voters, the poll shows, as his closest competitor Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren came in a distant second place at 13%.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has the support of 11% of Democratic voters in South Carolina in the latest poll, while South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in fourth with 6%.

The latest survey shows that Biden’s favorability has not faded in South Carolina since a Winthrop University poll last month showed him with the same 20-point lead.

Warren, meanwhile, fell 4 percentage points from 17% in the Oct. 1 Winthrop poll.

During an environmental justice forum in South Carolina on Nov. 8, Warren tried to distance herself from Sanders by voicing support for a controlled form of capitalism, as opposed to a Democratic socialist system. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, author Marianne Williamson, and former U.S. Representatives John Delaney and Joe Sestak also spoke during the event.

Biden has a huge lead among African-Americans in South Carolina, which is significant due to the large number of black voters who have told pollsters they are not certain who they will vote for.

The former vice president has the support of 44% of black voters in the state, according the poll, compared to 10% for Sanders, 8% for Warren and less than 1% for Buttigieg.

After the top four candidates, Monday’s survey shows Steyer polling at 5% among all likely Democratic voters in South Carolina. Businessman Andrew Yang came in at 4%, followed by California Senator Kamala Harris at 3% and Booker at 2%.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from Nov. 13 to 17 and included 768 respondents. It has a margin of error of 4.8%.

Monday’s poll comes amid public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry over President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump pushed for investigations into the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as Biden and his son, Hunter. The younger Biden sat on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

Multiple witnesses have said they understood the release of a $400 million military aid package and a meeting at the White House were conditioned on Zelensky’s public announcement of the investigations.

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