COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Former Vice President Joe Biden is still leading the pack among South Carolina Democrats, according to a new poll.
A Monmouth University poll released Thursday shows Biden leading by 27 points. Senator Kamala Harris is in second place in the Palmetto State with 12 percent of Democratic voters saying she is their first choice. Senators Bernie Sanders is polling at 10 percent and Elizabeth Warren is at nine. That puts the three Senators in close competition for second place by being within the 4.9 percent margin of error of each other.
Among black voters, the former Vice President’s lead is even wider. 51 percent of black voters said they support Biden. Harris is also second to Biden among black voters and her team said they are working to organize in rural communities across the state to make up the difference.
The former Vice President's team in South Carolina said they feel this reflects their hard work but "are not taking anything for granted."
This is consistent with the impression many political scientists in the state have of the race.
“Biden has long-standing support among the African-American community in this state. It’s hard to see another candidate making inroads into his lead, unless there is some major gaffe,” said Robert Oldendick, USC political science professor.
Other experts urge caution stating it is early in the race. Then-candidate Barack Obama was still trailing Hillary Clinton in the 2008 race by over 10 points as late as four months before the election.
Almost half of all Democratic voters said healthcare is the biggest issue to them this election. Monmouth said this is consistent with polling in other early primary states.
Recent national polls tell a similar but less wide lead for the former vice president.
According to the latest Fox News poll, Biden is leading the race across the country by 12 points at 33%. Sen. Bernie Sanders is second with less than half of that at 15%.