Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE’s lead shrank in his firewall state of South Carolina, though he still holds an 8-point edge, according to an East Carolina University (ECU) poll released Friday.
Biden gets the support of 28 percent of likely South Carolina primary voters, followed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) with 20 percent and businessman Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE with 14 percent. No other candidate breaks double digits in the poll ahead of the Feb. 29 primary in the Palmetto State.
The poll comes as Biden leans on South Carolina to reverse his fortunes after fourth- and fifth-place showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively, but his allies have started to fear the poor results could follow him there, too.
Biden’s support dropped 9 points since the last ECU poll, which was conducted right before Iowa’s caucuses. Meanwhile, Sanders, who garnered the most votes in each of the first two states, has surged in South Carolina from 14 percent earlier this month, surpassing Steyer for second place.
Biden is still buoyed by strong support from black voters, 36 percent of whom favor him while 20 percent support Sanders. Another 17 percent back Steyer, who has invested heavily in winning over black support in the state.
However, African Americans appear to be split along generational lines. Black voters 55 years and older support Biden by a 40-point margin, but black voters age 54 and younger favor Sanders over the former vice president by a narrow margin of 29 percent to 26 percent.
South Carolina’s primary is the first real opportunity for candidates to show their support among black Democrats, a key voting bloc for the party that will make up over 60 percent of the state’s primary electorate.
The ECU poll surveyed 703 likely voters from Feb. 12-13 and has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.
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