The Democratic presidential candidates will start making their way through the Southeast after a brief stop in the West. The South Carolina Democratic primary follows the Nevada caucus and takes place on Saturday, February 27. Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucus.
South Carolina voters can find their polling location here. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.
The Palmetto State represents the largest number of delegates that have been at stake thus far with 59. At this stage of the primary process, the delegates are divided up between the candidates based on the results. The losing candidate will still get a portion of the delegates. Early polls indicate Clinton has a large lead over Sanders in South Carolina.
Polls are fluid and are not necessarily reflective of the primary results. The Sanders campaign hopes they can make up the ground in a short amount of time.
Here’s some more background about the South Carolina Democratic primary:
1. South Carolina Is the Fourth Democratic Primary and Caucus
South Carolina is first stop in the Southeast for the Democrats during the primary and caucus season. There are 59 delegates at stake for Sanders and Clinton. It is the most of any state so far.
Clinton narrowly won the Iowa caucus with 49.9 percent of the votes compared to 49.6 percent for Sanders. Sanders had a sizable victory in New Hampshire with 60 percent of the votes compared to Clinton’s 38.3 percent.
Clinton entered the Nevada caucus as a slight favorite according to RealClear Politics polling average leading up to the event although the race was expected to be close.
2. Hillary Clinton Enters South Carolina as a Strong Favorite
Clinton enters South Carolina as the favorite to win the Democratic primary. According to early polls from CNN, Clinton led Sanders with 56 percent of votes compared to 38 percent. The poll also demonstrated a large gap between the two candidates among African-American voters. African-Americans said they favored Clinton by a 65 to 28 percent margin.
The good news for the Sanders campaign is only 34 percent of African-Americans said they have firmly decided who they will vote for leaving the door open for Sanders to gain some ground in the Palmetto state. Overall, 43 percent of South Carolina Democratic voters said they have firmly decided who they will vote for meaning the election results could be widely different than early polling numbers.
3. Barack Obama Won the 2008 South Carolina Primary
Obama defeated Clinton by a large amount in the last Democratic primary in South Carolina. He won the primary with 55.4 percent of the votes compared to Clinton’s 26.5 percent. The 2008 primary possesses one noticeable difference than 2016. There were three main candidates still in the running for the Democratic nomination.
John Edwards came in third in the primary with 17.6 percent. Unlike their Republican counterparts, Sanders and Clinton are the only two candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination.
In the general election, Obama did not have the same success in South Carolina. Republican nominee John McCain won the state with 53.8 percent of the votes compared to Obama’s 44.9 percent. Traditionally, Democratic candidates have struggled to win many states in the Southeast where the Republican party has had strong support.
4. South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn Endorsed Hillary Clinton
According to CNN, Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn endorsed Clinton. The endorsement is a boost for the Clinton campaign for two reasons. Clyburn is a Democratic congressmen in South Carolina which would help Clinton in the upcoming primary.
Secondly, Clyburn is the highest ranking African-American in Congress and could help Clinton in a state with a high African-American voting base. In the 2008 primary, Clyburn remained neutral in the election and the endorsement is expected to be big for Clinton in her attempt to win the South Carolina primary.
5. Both Sanders and Clinton Will Look to Appeal to Minority Voters in South Carolina
There is a strong African-American voting base in South Carolina that Sanders and Clinton have tried to gain support from leading up to the primary. Jaime Harrison, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, explained the situation to The Washington Post.
“The key demographic is African American women. Clinton has to maintain her support, ” Harrison explained.
Harrison was referring to the support both she and her husband have received from African-Americans in the state for quite some time. Sanders does not have the name recognition of Clinton, but is looking to appeal to younger minority voters.