YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - As the democratic presidential candidates prepared for the South Carolina debate stage Tuesday night, the latest Winthrop Poll indicates one in five people who plan to vote in Saturday’s Democratic primary election remain undecided.
Several likely voters told WBTV that they will be watching Tuesday’s debate closely for answers to their remaining questions.
“Mostly I want to see about the Obamacare - if it’s still going to be going through,” said Margaret Glynn, a Rock Hill resident. “Because everybody needs medical attention.”
“There’s a lot of homeless out here, so things need to be done,” said Shawn Roberts, another Rock Hill resident.
“The primary issue for me as a student in Rock Hill, South Carolina is education,” said Benjamin Antill who is a student at Winthrop University.
Healthcare, the economy and education are all issues that Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffman affirms likely voters want to see addressed.
“Unemployment is low, but part of that is a lot of folks are working a couple of jobs to get by so they want to hear about that,” said Scott Huffmon, the director of the Winthrop Poll. “They want to hear - always - about education in South Carolina… that always bubbles to the top.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden narrowly leads Winthrop’s latest poll released just this past Friday with 24 percent of likely voter support. He’s followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders with 19 percent and then Tom Steyer, who at 15 percent, has really pushed his campaign in the Palmetto State.
South Carolina is the fourth state for primary voters, but it’s the “First in the South,” and the first where the majority of democratic voters are African American.
“Over 60 percent of the voters in the primary are going to be African-American and two-thirds are going to be women,” said Huffmon. “So the crown jewel of the South Carolina Democratic Primary are black women. Barack Obama figured that early and was able to reach out to them.”
Biden has been trying to garner that same support, but with the numbers so close, Huffmon says the debate, as well as a rumored endorsement for Biden, from South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn are key.
“If Jim Clyburn, who normally does not endorse, comes out with an endorsement-- that’s going to be big and that’s an indicator to South Carolina voters,” said Huffmon.
Of the likely voters we spoke to only one had already made up their mind on a candidate, but all agreed tonight’s debate in Charleston could make the difference.
“Talking out the issues is one of the important parts of the election,” said Antill.
“Depending on how they portray themselves and depending on how they act will definitely depend whether I pick them or not,” said Winthrop student Jaylon Chennault.
Huffmon added the “First in the South” primary in the Palmetto State is important for both parties and often an indicator heading into the general election. Huffmon noted, “Any Republican in the modern era who sweeps the entire south has become president and any Democrat who has cracked the south with wins in at least two states has become president.”
Historically, come the general election for president, South Carolina has traditionally voted Republican. The SCGOP is not holding a primary this weekend as the party voted back in September of last year to its full support behind President Trump.