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Biden holds wide lead in 2020 SC race, new Clemson poll shows

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Biden Clyburn

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Wednesday morning during U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn’s endorsement announcement in North Charleston. Brad Nettles/Staff

Fresh from getting the top Democratic endorsement in South Carolina, former Vice President Joe Biden got a boost with a new poll showing him with a commanding lead in the Saturday primary.

Biden doubled up billionaire activist Tom Steyer 35 percent to 17 percent in a poll from Clemson University released Wednesday.

The margin is one of Biden's biggest in recent weeks after his lead shrank to single digits since late last year.

That came amid surges by Steyer and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Biden has consistently led S.C. polls over the past year with margins as large as 30 percentage points.

He received the long-awaited endorsement from U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the state's most powerful Democratic politician, just hours before the poll was released. 

Steyer, who has invested heavily in South Carolina in his upstart bid that has won over black voters — who account for two-thirds of Democratic ballots cast — typically has been third in other recent S.C. polls.

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Sanders, the race's national front-runner, was third at 13 percent. Some recent polls have placed Sanders within the margin of error of tying Biden.

Sanders was shellacked in the 2016 S.C. presidential primary versus eventual nominee Hillary Clinton. His success in the other early-voting states this month should provide him enough momentum for Super Tuesday races next week without a top showing in South Carolina. 

Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend., Ind., and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren followed at 8 percent each in the latest S.C. poll.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was at 4 percent, while Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard received 2 percent.

Twelve percent of voters said they were undecided days before the primary.

The Clemson poll, released a day after a nationally televised debate in Charleston, surveyed 650 likely S.C. Democratic primary voters from Feb. 17-25. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

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