Former vice president Joe Biden continues to lead the 2020 Democratic primary field, but a Monmouth poll of South Carolina reveals a difference between white and black voters that could signal trouble, The Washington Post reported.
In that survey, Biden gets a majority of the black vote, but among white voters his lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is within the margin of error.
That big advantage with black voters is important when compared with Hillary Cinton's position in 2016, the Post's Philip Bump writes in an analysis Thursday.
That year, Clinton's primary opponent for the nomination was Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Very quickly, a dynamic emerged: Clinton did much better with black voters than Sanders; and Sanders ran about even with white voters.
"The result was that as states voted, the demographics of the states were important," Bump noted.
Iowa and New Hampshire, both heavily white states, voted first. Clinton and Sanders tied in Iowa, and Sanders rolled over Clinton in New Hampshire. Nevada, with a relatively small black population, was another near-tie.
But Clinton won in a rout in South Carolina. By Super Tuesday, when there were a number of heavily black states voting, Clinton ran up a big delegate advantage she would never relinquish.
In all those states where the density of black voters was less than 10%, Clinton won 45% of the delegates. In states with black voter density greater than 10%, she won 67% of the delegates. And those states had a lot more delegates at stake — giving her the lead.
But Biden faces problems Clinton did not, Bump argues, including that his advantages across the map are not as dominant as South Carolina.
"It's not a head-to-head contest in 2020," he wrote. "It's a head-to-head-to-head-to-(repeat 200 times)-head contest.
". . . It's harder to pull away in part because the field is so big in the first place."
"Biden's position in polls shows both his strength and some ways in which his path forward might be trickier than Clinton's was three years ago," he added, noting also, "It's early."
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