New polls show Biden leading in South Carolina

Former Vice President Joe Biden tops the Democratic primary field in the early voting state of South Carolina, according to new polls from Quinnipiac University and the University of North Florida.

About a third of likely voters in South Carolina plan to support the former vice president, according to both polls.

Quinnipiac has Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders following him with 13% and 11%, respectively. In single digits are South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 6%, businessman Tom Steyer with 5%, businessman Andrew Yang with 4%, California Sen. Kamala Harris with 3%, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker with 2%. No other candidate receives above 1% in Quinnipiac’s poll.

Steyer has now hit the polling threshold to qualify for the December debates, reaching above 4% in the Quinnipiac poll, his fourth. He still hasn’t reached the fundraising threshold, so he isn’t officially on the stage, with a few weeks left to qualify.

The University of North Florida poll, which is not a qualifying poll for debates, found similar results for the top few candidates, with Warren and Sanders at 10% each and Steyer at 8%.

Black voters who are likely to participate in the South Carolina primary strongly back Biden (44%) over other options (10% Steyer, 10% Warren, 8% Sanders, 4% Harris), according to the UNF poll.

Likely voters in the Quinnipiac poll think the most important issue for basing their vote on in 2020 is health care (30%), followed by the economy (20%).

The UNF poll finds that a majority of likely Democratic voters in South Carolina would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act (55%) than replace it with “Medicare for All” (39%).

Voters would rather vote for someone who can beat President Donald Trump just slightly more than someone who represents their views — 51% to 44%. About three-quarters say that they would vote for their least preferred Democratic candidate if they won the primary over Trump, while 11% said they wouldn’t vote, and 7% would support Trump.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from November 13-17 among 768 likely South Carolina Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points.

The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida poll was conducted from November 5-13 among 436 likely South Carolina Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.