South Carolina’s political attention now moves to the Democratic presidential race. But, if polling is any indication, it should have relatively little suspense before voters head to the polls on Saturday.
According to the Real Clear Politics poll tracker, South Carolina Democratic voters are favoring former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Vermont US Sen. Bernie Sanders by a large margin. The polling averages since early February have Clinton receiving 57.4 percent support to Sanders’s 33.3 percent. While Sanders was able to close early gaps in other early primary states, South Carolina has thus far remained firmly in Clinton’s camp.
Sanders held several appearances throughout the state on Sunday and Monday, trying to reach the African-American base who makes up a majority of South Carolina Democratic voters. He spoke at a dinner for a predominantly black Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia on Sunday night, but faced a much more favorable (predominantly white) crowd of 5,200 at the Bon Secours Wellness Center in Greenville. He also made a appearance in Sumter on Monday morning with actor Danny Glover.
“If we stand together and demand that the United States government represent all of us, not just the one percent, there’s nothing we cannot accomplish,” he said at the Greenville event to loud applause.
Clinton will be in the state on Tuesday, when she appears at a “Breaking Down Barriers Forum” in Columbia. Also appearing will be several mothers who lost their sons to gun violence or incidents with police. They include Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.
South Carolina sets up more favorably for Clinton than Iowa or New Hampshire due to the larger percentage of African-American residents, according to former Gov. Jim Hodges. Hodges is supporting Clinton’s candidacy.
“South Carolina is much more diverse, so candidates need to appeal to a broad cross-section of our state that I think looks much more like our country.” Hodges said. “The voters, white and African-American, also tend to be older. And, as a result of that, I think you’ll see the message change. You’ll see a focus on a range of a lot of economic issues that concern people here in the state.”
Sanders insisted he’s going to try for South Carolina, however. “No state is a lost cause. We have made enormous ground up in South Carolina,” he said last week, according to the New York Times. “Primaries and caucuses are not winner take all.”