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Biden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll

Biden leads Sanders by single digits in South Carolina: poll
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE (D) remains the leader of the Democratic field in South Carolina, but faces a strong showing by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform Sanders: Progressives will work to 'rally the American people' if Biden wins MORE (I-Vt.), who is close on his heels in in the state, according to a new UMass Lowell poll.

Sanders sits just 2 percentage points behind Biden in the survey of likely primary voters, with 21 percent and 23 percent of respondents indicating their support for Sanders and Biden, respectively. They both sit comfortably ahead of the third-place contender, billionaire Tom SteyerTom SteyerDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 2020 election already most expensive ever TV ads favored Biden 2-1 in past month MORE, who has garnered 13 percent support in the poll.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden defends his health plan from Trump attacks Progressives blast Biden plan to form panel on Supreme Court reform Biden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver MORE (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Buttigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE (D) were tied behind Steyer at 11 percent in the poll, while no other candidates registered double-digit levels of support in the survey.

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South Carolina represents a major test for candidates among voters of color, as black voters make up 60 percent of the electorate in the state — a major shift from previous contests in the majority white states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden leads among black likely voters in the poll with 43 percent, while Sanders polls at 20 percent. Of note is improvement for Buttigieg, who received support from 16 percent of black respondents. Buttigieg has struggled to garner support from the African American voting bloc in the past. 

"[O]ur poll has this as a close race, with Biden only ahead by 2 points and Sanders inside the margin of error. With just 10 days to go, Biden needs to hold this lead and prove he can win if he wants to make a play on Super Tuesday,” said poll director Jonathan Dyck in a statement.

The UMass Lowell poll was conducted between Feb. 12-18, with a pool of 400 likely South Carolina primary voters. The margin of error is 7.5 percentage points.