Just days ago Bernie Sanders was closing in on Joe Biden in the South Carolina Democratic Primary. Sanders got with four percentage points of passing Biden when a reversal occurred. Just one day before voters go to the polls, Joe Biden is expected to pull out a necessary win and be distributed a majority of the delegates once all the votes are counted on February 29, 2020.
It wasn’t because Biden had a great debate performance during the 10th Democratic Debate in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday. It wasn’t because Biden received a major South Carolina state newspaper endorsement. It certainly wasn’t that Biden told less lies than other candidates. And finally, as every comedian will tell you, it was NOT because Biden became gaffe free on the South Carolina campaign trail. As anyone who follows Biden will tell you, Biden is a Gaffe machine and is material rich for every comedian on the circuit.
No, what its all came down to was the single most important endorsement by an individual in South Carolina politics. That individual is House Majority Whip Congressman Jim Clyburn. Frankly, South Carolina Democrat politics is the among the few states that have people of color making up the majority of voters. These voters look to Clyburn for guidance and (more often then not) follow his lead by pulling the lever for the candidate he endorses
After Biden had poor showings in two of the last three contests, Bernie Sanders came within four percentage points of taking the lead in South Carolina. That all changed when Biden scored the golden Clyburn endorsement and a better ground game (left over from the Obama campaign) virtually saving him from another dismal performance.
Readers who follower PolitiSite know about our election projection methodology, but for those new to us, our momentum model and how we arrive at our conclusions on particular primary elections can be found by looking at our projections for Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. The methodology is contain within those articles. We take the time each election cycle to explain our model during the first three political contests.
Who Will Win the South Carolina Primary?
Based upon careful analysis of the polls, and calculating momentum going into Saturday February 29, 2020 South Carolina Democratic Primary we see the following: Biden has been able to increase his slight four percentage (4%) point lead to plus ten (+10) percentage points ahead of Bernie Sanders.
There are three candidates that have notable momentum changes: Steyer (who we project will come in third) has slight positive momentum going in to Saturday, we expect him to do slightly better than the Real Clear Politics Average of 13.7%. Our projection shows he should come it at 15.5% instead. Steyer was running a clear second during most of our tracking period but was overtaken by Sanders following his strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The next Momentum change is strong downward momentum for Klobuchar. We see her getting 4% or less. We see Klobuchar coming in sixth (6th) place.
The last momentum change our model tracked is Sanders vs. Warren. As Sanders has continually risen in the polls and has won contests, Warren has showed inverse proportionate downward momentum. Basically, Warren and Sanders have similar messaging and as voters consider who will become the eventual nominee, voters are moving from Warren to Sanders. We have Warren coming in fifth (5th) behind Buttigieg.
Politisite Polling Projections for the South Carolina Democratic Primary
- Joe Biden (+10) – Will win by at Least 10 points
- Bernie Sanders
- Tom Steyer
- Pete Buttigieg
- Elizabeth Warren
- Amy Klobuchar (will come in 4% or lower)
- Tulsi Gabbard
- *Micheal Bloomberg
- Note: Micheal Bloomberg isn’t on the ballot in South Carolina. We have rated him last as a result.
Note: Pete Buttigieg in last two polls is surging and Tom Steyer is lagging. This may be a reversal where Buttigieg come in in third rather thank fourth place.
Crossover voting is allowed in South Carolina and some groups have been posting on social media to disrupt a Biden win by voting for Sanders. We think Operation Chaos voting will not be significant enough to change the outcome of the South Carolina Democratic Primary.
South Carolina Democratic Primary Conclusion
Based on our polling projections and the state of the Democratic Presidential Nomination Race, we expect the following candidates to drop-out following the South Carolina Democratic Primary
- Amy Klobuchar
- Tulsi Gabbard (we expected her to withdraw after Nevada)
- Elizabeth Warren
- Possibly if Pete Buttigieg comes in 4th or less
South Carolina Democratic Primary Election Results
So, there you have it. We await the South Carolina Primary results and solicit your feedback via Twitter @PolitiSite