Bernie Sanders Is Three Times More Popular Than Joe Biden Among Young Black Voters, Poll Shows

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is opening up a significant lead among young black voters in his challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a new poll on the eve of the South Carolina primary.

A Morning Consult poll released Friday said that 46 percent of black voters under the age of 45 would vote for Sanders if their state's primary or caucus were held today.

This puts the progressive firebrand comfortably ahead of his rivals. Former Vice President Joe Biden—who is relying on black voters to revitalize his struggling campaign—was chosen by 15 percent of those surveyed, just behind billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg on 17 percent.

Sanders appears to have a problem with older black voters, however, and the responses from this demographic offer Biden some much needed encouragement. Those over 45 were around twice as likely to back Biden over Sanders, Morning Consult said, with Bloomberg also beating the Vermont senator among this group.

Biden needs a win in Saturday's vote. South Carolina has been described as his "firewall state" given its large proportion of black voters, among whom the vice president remains highly popular.

But Sanders has been closing the gap in recent weeks, buoyed by the momentum of his narrow win in New Hampshire and landslide victory in Nevada.

The poll also showed that young black voters are more open to socialism than older respondents. Thirty-three percent of young black voters said the U.S. should move away from capitalism and towards socialism, compared with 13 percent of those over 45.

Sanders—a democratic socialist who has championed policies similar to those in European social democracies—has been cast as a revolutionary for his redistributive proposals, though he has argued that nothing he is proposing is radical.

His opponents in both the Democratic and Republican parties have cast Sanders as a socialist, and warned that a presidential ticket headed by a leftist cannot win back the White House.

But Sanders and his allies have pointed to national polling showing him defeating President Donald Trump.

Young black voters were generally more concerned about the economy, which was the top voting issue for 40 percent of the under 45s—significantly more than the 26 percent of young voters and 29 percent of young Hispanic voters who agreed. Twenty-two percent of those 45 and older also said that the economy is the most pressing issue.

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, 2020, black, voters
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are pictured during the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty