In the South Carolina Democratic primary held on Saturday, President Biden secured an overwhelming victory against two long-shot candidates, capturing approximately 96% of the vote with 97% of precincts reporting. However, the Palmetto State experienced a notably low turnout, with only around 131,000 voters participating in the 2024 Democratic primary, accounting for just about 4% of registered voters statewide.
Comparing 2024 South Carolina Democrat Turnout to Previous Years
This year’s Democratic primary turnout fell significantly below previous contests. In 2020, approximately 540,000 people, constituting around 16% of voters, participated in the Democratic primary. In 2016, more than 373,000, or over 12%, took part in the same process. In 2012, when former President Barack Obama ran unopposed, and in 2008, with 532,151 turning out, the participation rate stood at around 23% of registered voters, according to the South Carolina Election Commission.
President Biden’s Delegate Count in South Carolina
CBS News projects that President Biden will secure all 55 pledged delegates at stake in South Carolina’s primary, defeating Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and self-help author Marianne Williamson, as expected for an incumbent president facing limited opposition from long-shot candidates. Despite the anticipated outcome, the South Carolina primary was seen as a crucial indicator of the president’s support among Black voters, who played a pivotal role in revitalizing Biden’s 2020 campaign after initial setbacks in earlier state primaries.
Reasons Behind the Early South Carolina Democratic Primary
In a departure from previous years when South Carolina ranked fourth among nominating contests, the Democratic National Committee moved the state’s primary to the forefront of the calendar in 2024. The decision was based on the Palmetto State’s more racially diverse electorate, deemed more representative of the country as a whole. Notwithstanding this shift, New Hampshire adhered to tradition by holding its first-in-the-nation primary last month, where President Biden did not appear on the ballot.
Upcoming Republican South Carolina Primary
The state’s GOP primary is scheduled for February 24, following the traditional order of state primaries. The contest is considered a significant test for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who served as the state’s governor from 2011 to 2017, as she attempts to make headway amid former President Donald Trump’s prevailing influence in the race. Early voting for the Republican primary begins on February 12 and concludes on February 22, with polls open on February 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additionally, polling places will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the day of the primary.