Poll shows strong lead for Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, Nevada


A new poll shows Hillary Clinton leading among Democratic candidates in two early voting states. The news comes a day before Democratic presidential candidates are set to hold their first primary debate of the presidential election cycle. 

According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, 49% of voters who plan to participate in South Carolina’s Democratic primary say they would vote for Clinton, 24% would vote for Vice President Joe Biden (who has not decided if he will run yet) and 18% would vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Without Biden as a choice, Clinton’s lead increases to 70% and Sanders gains 2 points for a total of 20%.

In Nevada, among those who say they will vote in the Democratic caucus, 50% would vote for Clinton, 34% would vote for Sanders and 12% would vote for Biden. If Biden is not considered, Clinton’s receives 58% of the votes, while Sanders receives 34%.

Voters in both states say they think Clinton would be the best Democratic candidate to handle the economy, foreign policy, health care, climate change and race relations.

The poll comes after Sanders’ campaign has gained support in other key states, New Hampshire and Iowa. Clinton has seen her poll numbers take a hit as she has faced continued scrutiny over her use of a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state.

According to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll, Sanders has held onto his lead in New Hampshire since September with support from 42% of voters who plan to participate in the Democratic primaries. Clinton received 28% and Biden received 18%.

Polling in Iowa shows that Clinton maintains her lead among the Democratic candidates, but when she and Sanders are matched up against Republicans, Sanders’ percentages are higher.

Recent polls have also shown more positive impressions of Biden than Clinton and Sanders.

Still, Clinton remains the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and she will be front and center in the first Democratic debate on Tuesday night. Sanders, as well as former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee will also participate in the debate.

The CNN/ORC polls were conducted by telephone between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10. A total of 1,009 South Carolina adults were interviewed, 301 of whom said they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary. There is a margin of error of +/- 5.5%. In Nevada, a total of 1,011 adults were interviewed, 253 of whom said they were likely to participate in the Democratic presidential caucus. There is a margin of error of +/- 6%.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist polls were conducted between Sept. 23 and Sept. 30. In New Hampshire, 1,044 registered voters were interviewed, 404 of whom said they are likely to vote in the Democratic primary. There is a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.