On Saturday, February 27, South Carolina will once again hold the spotlight when the Democratic Primary takes place between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. As it stands right now, all recent polls of the race indicate Clinton with a strong lead of anywhere from twenty to thirty points. As a result, Sanders has been campaigning outside the state for a good portion of the week focusing on Super Tuesday states.
Report from Politico:
With just a few days until the South Carolina Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is all but writing the state off.
He hasn’t said that, of course, but his schedule reflects it.
Sanders was in Massachusetts Monday night and Virginia Tuesday morning. While he attended a televised town hall in South Carolina Tuesday night and followed with an early morning news conference, his itinerary Wednesday consisted of events in Kansas City, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. After that, his schedule called for a trip to Ohio Thursday — with stops in other March-voting states likely to be added, an aide said.
A candidate’s time is a campaign’s most precious resource, so by spending so much of it somewhere other than South Carolina, the Sanders campaign is engaging in the cold calculus of primary politics — making the tough decision to send the senator to the states where he expects to be the most competitive.
It’s a reflection of the cloudy outlook in South Carolina — where Hillary Clinton currently holds a double-digit lead in every poll ahead of Saturday’s primary — but also of Sanders’ strategic map through mid-March. The campaign’s goal is to project the message that he is running a durable national campaign, and central to that plan is a strong showing on Super Tuesday (March 1), followed by solid performances in big-state primaries like Michigan on March 8 and Ohio on March 15.
South Carolina will likely be for Hillary Clinton what New Hampshire was for Bernie Sanders, a massive victory by a huge percent of the vote. In this case, Sanders is looking past South Carolina to many other states where he will be more competitive which is probably his best bet. However, if Clinton wins down south, then heads into Super Tuesday where she’s favored in most states, she may started to build a strong delegate lead.
If you look at the Super Tuesday polling on the Democratic side, there is only one state where Sanders is leading on average:
Massachusetts – Sanders +3.5
In the rest of the Super Tuesday states, Clinton is leading by at least 9 points or more. This is not good news for Sanders if he can’t pull together a national coalition and win more than the Northeast. Michigan, another hope for Sanders, shows Clinton leading by 19 points on average right now.