Biden Wins South Carolina Primary with Record Low Turnout

On February 4, 2024, President Biden secured an easy victory in South Carolina’s Democratic primary, winning 96% of the vote with 97% of precincts reporting. However, the turnout for this primary was exceedingly low, with only 131,000 South Carolinians casting their votes, making up just 4% of registered voters in the state. This marks the lowest turnout in recent presidential primaries for Democrats, despite the fact that previous contests were more competitive.

Compared to previous years, the turnout for the 2024 South Carolina Democratic primary was significantly lower. In 2020, 540,000 people (16% of voters) participated in the primary, while in 2016, 373,063 (12% of voters) did the same. In 2012, former President Barack Obama ran unopposed, but in 2008, 532,151 people (23% of registered voters) turned out, according to the South Carolina Election Commission.

President Biden is projected to win all 55 pledged delegates at stake in the state’s primary, defeating his two long-shot opponents, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and self-help author Marianne Williamson. This was expected, as the current president faced opposition only from these minor candidates. The South Carolina primary was seen as a test of Biden’s support among Black voters, who played a crucial role in reviving his 2020 campaign after lackluster performances in earlier state primaries.

The South Carolina Democratic primary was moved to the top of the calendar this year by the Democratic National Committee, citing the state’s more racially diverse electorate that better represents the country as a whole. However, New Hampshire defied this move by holding its first-in-the-nation primary last month, as is tradition, although Biden did not appear on the ballot.

The Republican primary in South Carolina is scheduled for February 24, following the traditional order of state primaries. This contest is expected to be a major test for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is seen as a potential challenger to President Biden in the 2024 election.  

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