Latest Polling: Who Will Take South Carolina and Nevada, Bernie or Hillary?
With Bernie Sanders pulling even (and in one case ahead) in national polls, this is looking to be a long summer for Clinton and Sanders partisans alike. After splitting Iowa and New Hampshire, both camps are looking to build momentum going into Super Tuesday with wins in Nevada and South Carolina, but where do the two next primary states stand as of right now? Let's take a look.
Nevada: Saturday, February 20
This is the first contest where Democrats and Republicans part, so don't be confused that the GOP primary is this Saturday in South Carolina while the Dems are battling it out in Nevada. The consensus on Nevada is that there is no consensus; the state is notoriously difficult to predict given its elaborate caucusing system.
Polling guru Nate Silver thinks the state is favorable to Clinton, tweeting, "Nevada should be a Clinton-leaning state, no matter how much her campaign spins. Would be a big win for Bernie." Silver's website, FiveThirtyEight, gives Clinton a 75% chance of winning, but given the nature of Nevada's caucus, these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.
Here's a breakdown of the polls so far, including the Real Clear Politics average.
The Clinton camp has been trying to dampen expectations for Nevada, with spokesperson Brian Fallon bizarrely claiming on MSNBC last week that 80% of voters in Nevada are white (it's more like 60%) in an attempt to paint Sanders support as entirely monochromatic. AlterNet's Steven Rosenfeld is on the ground and senses a shift in Sanders' direction, as does Politico's Annie Karni, who calls it a "surge," but we won't know for sure until tomorrow night.
South Carolina: Saturday, February 27
South Carolina is far easier to quantify and is looking far less favorable to Senator Sanders. While Sanders has made improvements with voters of color over the past month, Clinton is still favored by non-whites 60% to 40% and South Carolina's Democratic primary is 55% African American. The latest polls show him making minimal progress in the Palmetto State: FiveThirtyEight currently gives Clinton a 99% chance to win and the Real Clear Politics average looks daunting, with Sanders' upward momentum too little too late:
All the polling in South Carolina comes with one major caveat: How Nevada turns out may radically alter the voting in Sanders favor. A meaningful win in Nevada could give Sanders frontrunner status and voters could give him a second look, but based on all current indicators it's Clinton's race to lose.