SC Politics – 2020 – Democratic Presidential Primary



Joe Biden unleashed an absolute thrashing this past Saturday on the rest of the field in a much needed victory. It will be interesting to see how this shapes voting that takes place only 3 days later on Super Tuesday.

Photo by Gage Skidmore.

However, sticking to South Carolina, a few takeaways from the data above and other general thoughts:

  1. Polling picked up on the momentum of Biden headed into the primary, but didn’t get the magnitude correct. None of the guidance had Biden getting above the 45% mark.
  2. Turnout in 2016’s SC Democratic Presidential Primary was 12.60%. Saturday’s 2020 mark was 16.33%. Neither is close to 2008’s 22.94% participation.
    1. There really isn’t enough to make any statements on general election shifts out of this primary. I would have expected higher turnout in this primary than in the 2016 Clinton-Sanders primary, as there was more competition.
    2. The one good takeaway for SC Democrats is that the turnout increased in the places you want it, i.e. the heavily populated counties of Greenville, Charleston, and Richland.
  3. Turnout was slightly down in the traditionally Democratic areas of the state, which is quite interesting. Two ideas could be at play:
    1. Republican interlopers, an idea suggested by Trump. However, I’m not sure the validity of this one as you would think that Bernie would have overperformed.
    2. The shift in population from rural to urban areas has taken many Democratic voters to places like Charleston, Richland, and Greenville counties. Therefore, the void left behind is that counties like Marion, Orangeburg, Dillon, Williamsburg are slightly less Democratic.

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