If former vice president Joe Biden wants a shot at overtaking Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race, he needs a strong win in South Carolina on Saturday.
Multiple polls released on Thursday show that Biden is positioned to do just that.
According to a survey poll from Emerson, Biden leads Sanders in South Carolina by 16 points, earning 41 percent support compared to Sanders’ 25 percent. Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer trail further behind with 11 percent support each.
A poll released by Monmouth had a similar finding, with Biden ahead of Sanders in the Palmetto State by 20 points, 36 percent to 16 percent.
A third survey released earlier in the week showed Biden ahead by 18 points, with Steyer overtaking Sanders in the second place slot.
Overall, Biden leads in South Carolina by an average of 13 points, according to RealClearPolitics.
The margin will be important
While the polling suggests that a Biden win in South Carolina is likely, the margin of such a win will be key to how the rest of the Democratic primary plays out.
If Biden wins by a large margin in the state, it could be the beginning of a comeback to unseat Sanders as the Democratic front-runner. It will also likely force some of the other candidates to take a long look at how viable their campaigns are going forward.
As Chris Hayes pointed out on Thursday, a big Biden victory on Saturday “could alter the trajectory” of the race.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 28, 2020
If, on the other hand, Sanders can manage to finish a close second – as Republicans hope – in a state Biden should comfortably win, the Vermont senator could solidify his front-runner status heading into Super Tuesday.
The race for the Democratic nomination is far from over, but it could change dramatically over the course of the next week – and that starts with South Carolina on Saturday.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.