Since he entered the Democratic presidential primary race in April of last year, Joe Biden has been generally regarded as the party’s front runner.
However, if recent polling in South Carolina is any indication, the former vice president may be in danger of losing his position. That’s what the results of a Post and Courier–Change Research survey that was released on Sunday seem to suggest, anyway.
Biden losing ground
The poll reports that Biden holds only a 5-point lead over self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) in the state of South Carolina. Taken between Jan. 26 and Jan. 29, the survey had a 4% margin of error.
Biden claimed a 24% share of total support, which represented a 3% decrease from his standing in the same poll conducted during a month prior. Sanders, for his part, came in with 19% support this time around.
In what might be surprising to some, billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer received 17% support in the Palmetto State. Despite never having held elected office, Steyer was reported by Forbes to have spent over $200 million dollars on his campaign last year alone.
Black support critical
Biden’s strongest base of support is within the African American community, a crucial demographic in states like South Carolina where voters in that group form a majority of Democratic voters.
The Post and Courier–Change Research poll showed that the former VP’s support among black voters in the state stood at 30%, 6 points ahead of second-place Steyer.
At 16%, Sanders was significantly less popular in South Carolina’s black community, although he still managed to outpace Pete Buttigieg. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana garnered a paltry 2% among African American poll respondents.
Iowa goes first
South Carolina isn’t the only place where Biden seems to be showing weakness; his numbers in Iowa don’t appear particularly strong either.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls as of Feb. 3 shows Sanders with a lead of 3.6 percentage points in the Hawkeye State.
Rather than voting in a traditional ballot box election, Iowa residents will select a winner on Monday via a system of local caucus events. Despite being a relatively small state, the fact that Iowa is the first to select its delegates gives it outsized importance in the overall race for the presidential nomination.
Let the games begin.