New Monmouth poll shows Joe Biden with 20-point lead in South Carolina primary

Kirk Brown, The Greenville News
New Monmouth poll shows Joe Biden with 20-point lead in South Carolina primary

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Results of a poll released Thursday morning show former Vice President Joe Biden holds a commanding lead in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer in a close battle for second.

The Monmouth University Poll showed Biden's support in South Carolina stands at 36%, with Sanders receiving 16% and Steyer at 15%. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was at 8% and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had 6%. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar had 4%, and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was at 1%.

Results of a Clemson University Palmetto Poll released Wednesday showed Biden leading with 35%, Steyer in second at 17% and Sanders third with 13%.

The Monmouth and Clemson polls indicate that Biden has a larger lead in the first-in-the-South Democratic primary than other recent surveys, including one poll released Monday showing Biden with only a 1-point lead over Sanders. All of these polls were conducted before influential U.S. Rep. James Clyburn endorsed Biden on Wednesday.

"Biden appears to be holding on to his core support among African Americans in South Carolina," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a statement accompanying the survey's results. "The recent endorsement by Rep. James Clyburn should help solidify that."

Black voters are expected to cast more than half of the ballots in Saturday's primary, which comes three days before nominating contests in 14 states and one U.S. territory on Super Tuesday.

The Monmouth poll showed 45% of black voters in South Carolina back Biden, with 17% supporting Steyer and 13% for Sanders.

Palmetto Poll:  Joe Biden has big lead in South Carolina primary

Biden needs a win in South Carolina to revive his campaign after disappointing showings earlier this month in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary and a second-place finish in the Nevada caucuses last Saturday.

"A key metric for Biden in this make-or-break state is that his support appears to be firm," Murray said. "There is still a large chunk of the electorate who are undecided, but they are mainly moderate black voters. That's a group that tends to like Biden."

Results of the Monmouth poll are based on the responses of 454 South Carolina voters who are likely to cast ballots Saturday. The survey has a margin of error of 4.6%.

Follow Kirk Brown on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM

This article originally appeared on The Greenville News: South Carolina primary: Monmouth poll shows Joe Biden with commanding lead