Poll: Clinton holds steep lead over Sanders in SC

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Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHannity tells Trump: I'm voting for you in November McConnell: ‘Ticket-splitting’ will preserve GOP Senate majority Romney signals interest in independent candidate MORE maintains a double-digit lead over Democratic presidential rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersClinton allies see big boost from Brown endorsement The Trail 2016: Biting the hand that feeds him Budowsky: The campaign from hell MORE in South Carolina, a new poll finds.

A new Bloomberg Politics survey found that Clinton received 53 percent, 22 points above the Vermont senator’s 31 percent.

Clinton holds a substantial edge over Sanders among African-Americans, a voter bloc that both candidates have been courting ahead of South Carolina’s Democratic primary on Feb. 27. The former secretary of State leads Sanders by nearly 40 points among likely black primary voters.

The Palmetto State has a more diverse electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire, and Clinton has sought to consolidate supporters among prominent black Democrats after Sanders’s resounding New Hampshire victory. 

Some of Clinton’s campaign surrogates have called into question the senator's commitment to civil rights and criminal justice reform. But he has been making inroads with this voter bloc and has recently landed several high-profile endorsements. 

Sanders holds a slim lead over Clinton among likely white primary voters, 45 percent to 42 percent, and a much wider lead with white voters under the age of 45, 67 percent to 22 percent.

"It isn't that Sanders has faded. But she's just holding a commanding lead" in South Carolina, said pollster J. Ann Selzer.

"If you're Clinton and you've just come out of a crushing defeat in New Hampshire and there's Bernie-mania everywhere with younger people, your footing isn't that sure," she said. "There's nothing to sneer at in terms of how Bernie Sanders is doing."

A new Monmouth University poll released earlier on Thursday found the former first lady holding a 2-to-1 advantage over Sanders in South Carolina, but showed that the Vermont Independent has slightly closed the gap since a November poll.

The poll was conducted by Selzer & Co. from Feb. 13-16 and surveyed 403 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.

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