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South Carolina is Far More Important Than Iowa in the Dem. Primary

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    Iowa may be first, but the fourth state to vote in the 2020 Primary season is likely the most important, at least for the top tier candidates in the Democratic field. That's because South Carolina is the first state to vote in the primaries that has a large African American population, a significant voting bloc in the Democratic Party.

    Whoever wins the Iowa caucus will undoubtedly get major news coverage for a number of days, but Iowa isn't really emblematic of the nation as a whole considering the state is overwhelmingly Caucasian, older, and more conservative than the rest of the country. South Carolina, on the other hand, is far more reflective of a changing nation *and* of a changing Democratic Party. Whoever can get a majority in their primary would, at least in my opinion, be able to claim that they are the candidate who has the best chance to build a winning coalition to take back the White House in 2020.

    No matter what happens, I have a strong feeling that the Democratic field will be down to four or five candidates max after voters head to the polls in South Carolina. And that's when the real race to the finish line will begin.

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    If the top 4 candidates stay as is right now - Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg - I suspect that Buttigieg will do surprisingly well in Iowa. He might not win it over the other three, but I think it'll be a lot closer than most would think. Nationally Pete is polling about 7-8%, but in Iowa he is outpacing Sanders at the moment, getting 15.8% of the vote.

    In Iowa right now its:

    Warren - 22.5%
    Biden - 18.8%
    Buttigieg - 15.8%
    Sanders - 15.3%

    That's more or less a dead heat. I wonder what that will do for each campaign if those 4 all end up splitting Iowa or close to it. Perception of any one of the 4 could change quite a bit if they end up with a surprising win; could sway voters that didn't give Sanders or Mayor Pete a chance to take them more serious.

    But that will all be deceiving as once the SC primary rolls around my guess is Biden comes out very well there. The polling in SC is much more dramatically different right now than the national poll, and quite a bit different from Iowa:

    Biden - 35%
    Warren - 15.5%
    Sanders 12.8%
    Harris - 7%
    Steyer - 4.5%
    Buttigieg - 4%

    Pretty massive difference between the two states. Like I said, Iowa results could change this a lot down the stretch. But I don't think anyone can beat Biden in SC regardless, unless something really bad happens in his campaign between now and then.

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    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    If the top 4 candidates stay as is right now - Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg - I suspect that Buttigieg will do surprisingly well in Iowa. He might not win it over the other three, but I think it'll be a lot closer than most would think. Nationally Pete is polling about 7-8%, but in Iowa he is outpacing Sanders at the moment, getting 15.8% of the vote.

    In Iowa right now its:

    Warren - 22.5%
    Biden - 18.8%
    Buttigieg - 15.8%
    Sanders - 15.3%

    That's more or less a dead heat. I wonder what that will do for each campaign if those 4 all end up splitting Iowa or close to it. Perception of any one of the 4 could change quite a bit if they end up with a surprising win; could sway voters that didn't give Sanders or Mayor Pete a chance to take them more serious.

    The Iowa poll you shared is interesting. It (mostly) reinforces my opinion that Iowa isn't really emblematic of the Democratic Party as a whole, but that's mostly because Buttegieg is polling exponentially better in Iowa than he is in generic polls. On the other hand, generic polls are as worthless as a $3 bill because we don't have a national primary. So maybe Buttegieg is on to something and I'm making the same mistake I did with writing off Bernie back in 2016.

    J.K.Logic Wrote: But that will all be deceiving as once the SC primary rolls around my guess is Biden comes out very well there. The polling in SC is much more dramatically different right now than the national poll, and quite a bit different from Iowa:

    Biden - 35%
    Warren - 15.5%
    Sanders 12.8%
    Harris - 7%
    Steyer - 4.5%
    Buttigieg - 4%

    Pretty massive difference between the two states. Like I said, Iowa results could change this a lot down the stretch. But I don't think anyone can beat Biden in SC regardless, unless something really bad happens in his campaign between now and then.

    This poll only surprises me because Harris is polling under 10%. In the same breath, I should probably check myself and not automatically assume African Americans will vote for her just because she's black.

    What will be really interesting is when/if Warren or Sanders bows out, which is eventually inevitable. With proportional representation, they will likely split the progressive votes in each primary, which will undoubtedly help Biden. If one of them bows out then things could get really interesting.

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    JaredS Wrote:

    What will be really interesting is when/if Warren or Sanders bows out, which is eventually inevitable. With proportional representation, they will likely split the progressive votes in each primary, which will undoubtedly help Biden. If one of them bows out then things could get really interesting.

    Agreed. I don't think we have a great handle on who really can win this ticket until one of the top candidates bows out, like you said. Because where will that 15-20% support go? We rightly don't know. If it goes to Biden, Biden wins for sure. But that's no guarantee. If it goes to Warren or Sanders or even Buttigieg or Harris, the game changes completely and becomes much more of a pure toss up.

    These poll numbers vary pretty widely from state to state. In Texas, O'Rourke is polling at 16.5%, only trailing Biden. But in most other polls (not his home state) he barely registers.

    In California, Warren is currently leading with 24.5% over Biden's 23.5%. And it's Harris' home state so she is polling better than national avg but not as much as you would expect at 8%.

    Of course in Massachusetts, Warren is leading at 28.5%.

    So I would say national polling avg are just that - an aggregate, it doesn't mean that every primary state is thinking anywhere close to the same thing.

    Getting all this info from Real Clear Politics. They show the national poll numbers, and then break it down via states.

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    With the way Democrats allocate their delegates, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the super delegates wind up tilting the scale. If that happens then what happened in the 2016 Democratic primary will look like child's play.

    I'm getting way ahead of myself though. When it comes to South Carolina, I think it's Biden's to lose.