Super Tuesday is just around the corner, but don’t get ahead of yourself; today is the Democratic primary in South Carolina. This is the first test for the two candidates in the South and the last of the early races. Here’s what to watch for.
There are 53 pledged delegates at stake for the Democrats in South Carolina; a total of 2,382 delegates are needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Though Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the only two viable candidates for the nomination, they’re not the only two names on the ballot in the Palmetto State. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who has suspended his campaign, and Chicago businessman Willie Wilson will also be choices available to voters.
This is an open primary; a voter can participate in either party’s primary but not both. There is no Election Day voter registration in South Carolina. Photo I.D. is required to vote in South Carolina. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads the Democratic race with 52 pledged delegates.* South Carolina is expected to be a resounding victory for Clinton, due in large part to the state’s large minority population. In 2008, then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama won 55 percent of the vote in large part by carrying the African American electorate. The latest poll from Emerson College, released on Thursday, has 71 percent of South Carolina African American’s supporting Clinton opposed to 25 percent for Bernie Sanders.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Clinton has a 99 percent chance to win South Carolina.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is second in the Democratic race with 51 delegates. Sanders is coming off of a five point loss to Clinton in Nevada in which he polled better with minorities, particular Hispanics, than expected. Don’t expect the minority exit polls to be as friendly to Sanders in South Carolina.
*This article does not account for unpledged superdelegates, because these delegates are not committed to a candidate and can change at any point before the party’s convention.