Hillary Clinton holds big lead going into South Carolina primary

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Clinton Tears Into Republican Rivals Ahead of SC Primary

It's now the Democrats' turn in South Carolina, where voters will head to the polls on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Democratic primary comes a full week after Republicans in the same state gave Donald Trump his second double-digit victory of the primary season. After his significant win in Nevada on Tuesday, Trump has amassed 82 delegates — far more than anyone else in the GOP field.

While Trump has logged repeated big wins, neither of the candidates running for the Democratic nomination can say the same. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton squeaked by in Iowa and won by about five points in Nevada, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders nabbed a landslide victory in New Hampshire.

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But South Carolina might deliver Clinton her first big win of the year, after her presumptive nomination turned into a hard-fought battle with Sanders. According to a YouGov/CBS News poll from Feb. 12, Democratic voters in South Carolina prefer Clinton to Sanders by a 19-point margin.

While those are good top-line numbers for the Clinton campaign, she continues to falter among younger voters, with her strongest pockets of support coming from voters who are 45 and older. That trend started in Iowa, when Sanders bested Clinton 84 percent to 14 percent among voters younger than 30; he also beat her 58 percent to 37 percent among voters aged 30 to 44. As the visualization above shows, Sanders holds double-digit leads among those same age groups in the Palmetto State.

Check out photos of Clinton on the campaign trail in South Carolina:

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Hillary Clinton holds big lead going into South Carolina primary
CHARLESTON, SC - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits a South Carolina Strong non profit facility for former felons in North Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday February 24, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clintongreets supporters after visiting the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1422 February 24, 2016 in North Charleston, ahead of the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary on February 27. Last Saturday, the South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary shattered records with 137,092 more votes cast than in any previous primary. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slips as she walks up the stairs into the non-profit SC Strong, a 2 year residential facility that helps former felons, substance abusers, and homeless move into self-sufficiency February 24, 2016 in North Charleston. The South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary is held on February 27. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits a South Carolina Strong non profit facility for former felons in North Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday February 24, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clintongreets supporters after visiting the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1422 February 24, 2016 in North Charleston, ahead of the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary on February 27. Last Saturday, the South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary shattered records with 137,092 more votes cast than in any previous primary. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1422 February 24, 2016 in North Charleston, ahead of the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary on February 27. Last Saturday, the South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary shattered records with 137,092 more votes cast than in any previous primary. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic Presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the non-profit SC Strong, a 2 year residential facility that helps former felons, substance abusers, and homeless move into self-sufficiency February 24, 2016 in North Charleston. The South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary is held on February 27. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits a South Carolina Strong non profit facility for former felons in North Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday February 24, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Democratic Presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clintongreets supporters after visiting the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1422 February 24, 2016 in North Charleston, ahead of the South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary on February 27. Last Saturday, the South Carolina GOP Presidential Primary shattered records with 137,092 more votes cast than in any previous primary. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits a South Carolina Strong non profit facility for former felons in North Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday February 24, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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However, unlike in New Hampshire, where Clinton started off strong but then fizzled at the end of last year, Clinton has maintained a strong overall lead in South Carolina. The historical polling averages in the state show that although Sanders' numbers have improved since the fall, Clinton continues to dominate.

In the days leading up to the primary, Clinton is highlighting her stance on gun control, a crucial issue in a state that saw a mass shooting in Charleston last June. It's also one of the few topics where she and Sanders differ. As a longtime representative from a rural Northeast state, Sanders has a much more nuanced perspective when it comes to guns, whereas Clinton has argued for federal background checks and tightening the gun show loophole.

At the beginning of this week, Clinton campaigned in South Carolina with mothers whose children have died from gun violence. On Tuesday, she spoke about guns and police brutality in a church in Columbia, with former Rep. Gabby Giffords (herself a victim of gun violence in 2011) and leaders from the Black Lives Matter group. A recent Monmouth poll shows that among South Carolina's black voters younger than 50, Clinton garners 60 percent support compared to 26 percent for Sanders.

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For his part, Sanders is working at making inroads with South Carolina's African-American voters, who make up more than half of the Democratic-voting population in that state. Spike Lee cut a radio ad for Sanders on Tuesday, where the filmmaker tells South Carolinians to "wake up" and reminds them Sanders was active in the civil rights movement.

Clinton's camp has long leaned on her support among minority voters as a so-called firewall that could boost her to the nomination. Her recent win in Nevada, combined with a strong showing in South Carolina, certainly plays into that storyline, and would give her momentum heading into voting on Super Tuesday.

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