Former Vice President Joe Biden’s support plummeted in South Carolina just days before the state goes to the polls.
Biden, who once led the field by nearly 30 points in the state, now leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by just five points, according to a new CBS News/YouGov poll.
Biden still leads with 28%, followed by Sanders at 23%, former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer at 18%, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Waren at 12%, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 4%.
The poll was conducted before Sanders roundly won the Nevada caucus with nearly half the vote.
The poll shows that Biden’s support among African Americans, the majority of Democratic voters in the state, has dropped by 19% since November. Biden is at 35% among black voters, followed by Steyer at 24%, and Sanders at 23%.
Biden backs off South Carolina talk:
Biden previously described South Carolina as a “firewall” for his campaign. Now he says he never said it.
"You said it, my firewall. I've never said it," he told CBS News on Sunday. "I said I'm going to do well there. And I'll do well there and I'll do well beyond there as well."
Just says earlier, Biden told NBC News that “I have a real firewall in South Carolina.”
Biden blamed his decline on Steyer.
"What's happening is you have Steyer spending hundreds of millions, tens of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars, out campaigning there," he said. "And so I think a lot is happening in terms of the amount of money being spent by the billionaires to try to cut into the African-American vote."
Biden gets key endorsement:
Biden may get a boost with South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, planning to endorse him before the primary, according to Politico.
But when he was given the opportunity to criticize Sanders, Clyburn passed.
"Anybody who refers himself as democratic socialist" has always faced "really dire consequences throughout South Carolina,” he acknowledged, before adding that Sanders “brings a lot” to the table for rural America.
"I have worked very closely with Bernie Sanders on many issues, community health centers, we've been working on that together for 15 years. I do believe that community health centers as well as other initiatives in rural America, I think that Bernie Sanders brings a lot to the table for people to consider," Clyburn said.