Key black lawmaker's backing factors big in Biden's South Carolina win: poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Carolina breathed new life into Joe Biden’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday as the former vice president won broad support from the state’s all-important African-American community, according to Edison Research, which called the race for Biden as soon as voting ended.

Edison found that six out of 10 African Americans, who make up more than half the state’s Democratic electorate, voted for Biden over the other six contenders. Fewer than two out of 10 supported U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who came into Saturday’s contest with a lead in delegates.

Edison compiles voter polls and live election results for media organizations including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Reuters.

The exit poll also found that the endorsement of Biden by a senior African-American congressman from the state influenced a considerable number of voters. Six out of 10 Democratic primary voters said that U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn’s endorsement was a factor in their decision.

Clyburn, who is majority whip in the House of Representatives and the third-ranking Democrat in the chamber, has represented South Carolina in Congress since 1993.

South Carolina’s primary voters also appeared to be more moderate than other states. Only about half described themselves as liberal. In comparison, a majority of caucus-goers in Iowa and Nevada and primary voters in New Hampshire described themselves as liberal.

Here are other highlights from the Edison poll, which was based on interviews with 2,032 people who voted on Saturday at 35 locations around South Carolina. The proportions may change as more polling is conducted and the votes are tallied:

** Eight out of 10 South Carolina voters in the Democratic primary said they will vote for the party’s nominee regardless of who it is.

** Two out of 10 say they are participating in the Democratic primary for the first time.

** Five out of 10 want a candidate who “can beat Donald Trump” more than a candidate who agrees with them on major issues.

** Four out of 10 say healthcare is their top issue, while two of 10 cite race relations, two of 10 cite income inequality and one of 10 cite climate change.

** Five out of 10 say they support replacing private health insurance with a government-run plan: an initiative commonly known as Medicare For All.

** Older African Americans were more likely to support Biden. The former vice president won seven of every 10 black primary voters who were at least 60 years old.

** Younger black voters were largely split between supporting Biden and Sanders.

** Biden won the largest share of women voters, with support from five out of every 10 women who participated in the Democratic primary.

** Biden won the support of three out of every 10 white, college-educated women in the Democratic primary, the largest share of all the candidates.

** Nearly three out of 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters identified as independent, which is up from 2016.

** Four out of 10 said they made up their minds about how to vote in the last few days before the primary.

** Five out of 10 want the next president to return to Obama’s policies; three of 10 want more liberal policies; two of 10 more conservative ones.

** Five out of 10 say the U.S. economic system needs a complete overhaul.

** Five out of 10 say they are angry about the Trump administration; four of 10 are dissatisfied but not angry.

** Seven out of 10 say they have an unfavorable view of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

** Nearly eight out of 10 say they have a favorable view of Biden.

** Five out of 10 say they have a favorable view of Sanders.

** Sanders won the largest share of young white voters.

** Four out of 10 say Biden has the best understanding of concerns of minorities.

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