While polling in Iowa and New Hampshire shows close races about two months from voting, former Vice President Joe Biden has what appears to be an insurmountable lead in South Carolina and a comfortable edge in Nevada, the other two of the “early four” states.
The Iowa caucuses kick things off Feb. 3, with the New Hampshire primary eight days later. The Nevada primary is Feb. 22 and South Carolina votes Feb. 29.
In an online poll in South Carolina conducted at the end of November by FairVote, Biden came in at 40 percent, garnering nearly three times as much support as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 14 percent. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in at just under 11 percent and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren received 9.6 percent.
FairVote also conducted a ranked choice poll of 400 likely Democratic voters in South Carolina and Biden received 60 percent support compared to 34 percent for Sanders.
In the ranked choice poll, respondents were asked to rank 10 candidates from most preferred to least. In a ranked choice system, the candidate with the least first-place votes continues to be removed until one candidate surpasses 50 percent. Each time a candidate is removed, their votes then get distributed to the other candidates. Biden passed 50 percent after just one round, at which point he was at 50.6 percent, compared to 21 percent for Sanders, 16 percent for Buttigieg and 13 percent for Warren.
In Nevada, a mid-November poll showed Biden with a 10 percentage-point lead over Sanders, 33-23, with Warren at 21 percent and Buttigieg at 9.
March 3 is Super Tuesday, with 16 states holding primaries that carry more than one-third of Democrats’ pledged delegates.
Based on the averages of polls conducted over the past two months, Biden is leading in most of the larger states that vote on Super Tuesday, including Texas, North Carolina and Michigan.
Warren has a slim lead over Sanders and Biden in California, with an average of 24 percent support across seven polls. Biden and Sanders are at 22 percent and 19 percent, respectively, with Buttigieg at 9. In the most recent California poll, however, Sanders and Warren received 24 percent and 22 percent support, respectively, while Biden was at just 14 percent and Buttigieg at 12 percent.
Similar to South Carolina, Biden also has a commanding lead in North Carolina, averaging 33 percent across five polls. Warren is a distant second at 16 percent with Sanders at 14 percent and Buttigieg at 5 percent.
In Texas, Biden stands at 26 percent over two polls, compared to Warren at 19 percent, Sanders at 15 percent and Buttigieg at 7 percent.
Three Michigan polls show Biden averaging 28 percent support. Warren is at 22 percent and Sanders 20 percent, with Buttigieg at 6 percent.