South Carolina Democratic Polls: Hillary Clinton Still Has a Big Lead on Bernie Sanders

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Hillary Clinton, shown speaking at a February 12 rally in Denmark, South Carolina, holds a double-digit lead over Bernie Sanders in the Palmetto State. (Getty)

Hillary Clinton’s South Carolina firewall isn’t quite as strong as it was a month ago, but it appears to be holding up.

The Democratic frontrunner badly needs a win in the February 27 “First in the South” primary in order to halt the momentum of Bernie Sanders, who essentially tied Clinton in Iowa, then routed her by more than 20 percentage points in New Hampshire.

The good news for Clinton: Though Sanders has narrowed the gap considerably over the past two months, Clinton still holds a commanding lead in the Palmetto State. RealClear Politics, which aggregates a running average of polls in South Carolina and elsewhere, shows Clinton leading Sanders by 24 percentage points in an average of polls conducted February 10-15. The list of polls includes a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday that showed Clinton leading by 21 percentage points.

A theme throughout the polls: Sanders has erased Clinton’s lead among white voters, who are about evenly split between the candidates. But Clinton retains a big advantage among African-American voters, who make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in South Carolina. Clinton also holds a sizable advantage among Democrats, while Sanders leads among independents who plan on voting in the Democratic primary. (South Carolina is an “open primary” state, meaning independent voters can vote in one party’s primary.)

Here’s a look at the latest Democratic polls in South Carolina:

RealClear Politics Polling Average

The RealClear Politics South Carolina polling averages includes four polls conducted between February 10 and February 15: A CBS News/YouGov poll conducted February 10-12; a Gravis Marketing poll conducted February 11-3; an American Research Group (ARG) poll conducted February 12-13; and the aforementioned Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll conducted February 14-15.

Hillary Clinton 59.5%
Bernie Sanders 35.5%

PPP Poll

The PPP poll was conduced February 14-15. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

Hillary Clinton 55%
Bernie Sanders 34%

PPP Poll: African-American Voters

Fifty-four percent of the voters surveyed by PPP identified as African-American.

Hillary Clinton 63%
Bernie Sanders 23%

PPP Poll: White Voters

Hillary Clinton 46%
Bernie Sanders 46%

ARG Poll

The ARG poll was conducted February 12-13. It has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Hillary Clinton 65%
Bernie Sanders 27%

Gravis Marketing Poll

The Gravis Marketing poll was conducted February 11-13. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Hillary Clinton 59%
Bernie Sanders 41%

CBS News/YouGov Poll

The CBS News/YouGov poll was conducted February 10-12. It has a margin of error of 8.7 percentage points.

Hillary Clinton 59%
Bernie Sanders 40%