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Poll: Biden's lead narrows to 4 points over Sanders in South Carolina

Poll: Biden's lead narrows to 4 points over Sanders in South Carolina
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE's lead over Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez says Democrats must focus on winning White House for Biden All fracked up: Biden's Keystone State breakdown The Memo: Five reasons why Trump could upset the odds MORE (I-Vt.) in South Carolina has narrowed to just 4 points as the state's presidential primary nears, according to a new NBC News-Marist survey released Monday.

The slim lead is well within the survey's margin of error of 6 percentage points. Twenty-seven percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they favored Biden, while 23 percent said they would support Sanders, who has emerged as the clear front-runner in the race after a decisive victory in the Nevada caucuses. 

Sanders's strong showing in Nevada came on the heels of a victory in New Hampshire and a virtual tie with 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 in Iowa. 

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Billionaire activist 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 is in a distant third with 15 percent support, according to the poll. No other candidate in the field garnered double-digit support, with 9 percent of respondents backing Buttigieg and 8 percent supporting Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenAll fracked up: Biden's Keystone State breakdown What do Google, banks and chicken salad have in common? Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit MORE (D-Mass.). Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStart focusing on veterans' health before they enlist Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-Minn.) earned 5 percent support in the survey. 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not competing in South Carolina, instead focusing his campaign on Super Tuesday states. 

South Carolina's primary likely will be pivotal to Biden's presidential campaign. Despite poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, the former vice president has continually voiced confidence that he would perform strongly in more diverse states. South Carolina is the first state to vote with a Democratic electorate made up of a majority of African Americans.

The latest NBC survey shows Biden performing best among that demographic with 35 percent support. Sanders trails him in second with 20 percent support among African Americans. Steyer is at 19 percent. 

Recent surveys have offered a wide range of forecasts in South Carolina. A CBS-YouGov poll released on Sunday found that Biden's support had fallen by double digits and that his lead over Sanders was just 5 points. A survey from the left-leaning firm Publicly Policy Polling offered a starkly different result, showing Biden with a 15-point lead over the progressive senator. 

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Asked about the CBS-YouGov survey on Sunday, Biden said that his declining support among African Americans stemmed from Steyer's ad blitz in the state. Steyer has reportedly spent $20 million on TV and radio ads in South Carolina in the run up to the primary on Saturday.  

"I think a lot’s happening in terms of the amount of money being spent by billionaires to try to cut into the African American vote," Biden said. 

The NBC News-Marist poll was conducted between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21 among a sample of 539 likely Democratic primary voters in South Carolina.