Hillary Clinton holds big lead going into South Carolina 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.
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.
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.
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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