The numbers coming out of South Carolina is the very definition of a blow-out:
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) breaks it down for us:
Biden won 48%-20% over Sanders. He won white voters comfortably (33%-23%) and crushed Sanders among black voters (61%-17%). He won voters of every education level. He even beat Sanders among self-identified Independents, a core group for the Vermont senator.
The victory was powered by an electorate that was more moderate than the first three states. Half of South Carolina voters identified as moderate (41%) or conservative (9%) and half as somewhat liberal (30%) or very liberal (19%). But Biden won every group. The victory revealed an important demographic and ideological divide in the Democratic Party: black voters, especially in the South, are a moderating force in the national party. Biden promised that nobody should count him out until South Carolina’s more diverse electorate had its say and he was right.
Axios morning email thingie:
Joe Biden’s landslide in the South Carolina primary (won every county, and took 48% to Bernie Sanders’ 20%, Pete Buttigieg’s 8% and Elizabeth Warren’s 7%) raises existential questions for Mike Bloomberg and could slow Sanders’ runaway train.
- The first-in-the-South blowout could give new life to Biden’s withering electability argument — and ramp up pressure on other moderates to drop out, Axios’ Margaret Talev, Alexi McCammond and Stef Kight write.
Between the lines: It’s not at all clear Biden can carry this win beyond a state where he has longstanding relationships and the benefit of a majority black Democratic electorate.
- With Super Tuesday just two days away, Biden is almost out of time to raise the money, air the ads and regain the momentum that’s lagged until now.
- There’s no sign Biden’s moderate rivals will drop out beforehand. That could help Sanders keep amassing delegates, and make him hard to catch.
Joe Biden can now make the case he’s got a coalition: black voters, older voters and the type of Never-Trump, Romney-Clinton suburban independents who were so crucial to Democratic House wins in 2018.
- 7 p.m. ET, when the race was called, was the Biden campaign’s biggest hour of online fundraising to date.
- The campaign’s digital director, Rob Flaherty, tweeted that the campaign’s “No Malarkey” mugs sold out in two hours.
By the numbers: The South Carolina electorate was 5% whiter than it was 2016 — something Hamby had predicted — but these weren’t Bernie voters.
- They were swing-y suburban moderates — affluent college-educated whites — who live across the border from Charlotte and along the coast, and who’ve flocked to the Democratic Party since Trump’s election.
- Independents made up 10% more of the electorate than in 2016, and moderate/conservative turnout was 5% higher.
- There were more first-time primary voters than in 2016, and Biden won them by 7 points, undercutting Sanders’ argument he’s the one who can expand the electorate.
- Exit polling put 61% of the African-American vote with Biden, with Sanders at 16%, per the WashPost.
As in Iowa, with precincts outside Des Moines, the surge in the Democratic primary was from suburban whites, much like the 2018 midterms.
- Absentee ballot data showed white, Democratic turnout in South Carolina more than doubled from 2016, while African-American turnout
South Carolina is a singular state, Joe Biden has long-time and deep ties there. His strategy was to bank on it, and it paid off. But the real success here is the voters themselves: they showed up. In historic numbers. If there is one thing to take away from this result it is that when the Democratic voters show up, blow-outs happen.
The electorate does not want Donald Trump.