SOUTH CAROLINA (CBS/WBTW) –   Joe Biden has won the South Carolina primary, CBS News projects based on exit polls. Based on interviews on Saturday, CBS News estimates the former vice president has a big lead over his campaign rivals. 

Biden’s much-needed win comes after disappointing finishes in the first three early voting states. 

This week, the former vice president won the key endorsement of South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House and one of the most powerful forces in South Carolina politics. His nod did not go unnoticed by voters: 47% of voters said the endorsement was important to them, compared to 38% who said it was not.

Here are some early exit poll results:

When did you decide?

Many South Carolina Democratic primary voters decided on their vote choice late. More than a third of Democratic primary voters decided on their candidate in the last few days. More than twice the number that decided that late in 2016. (15%)

Clyburn’s endorsement

Almost half of South Carolina Democratic primary voters say that Rep. Clyburn’s endorsement was an important factor in their vote today.

Concerns among black voters

43% of South Carolina Democrats say Biden is the candidate who best understands the concerns of racial and ethnic minorities, a number that increases to 55% among black voters, ahead of the other candidates.


Health care is the most important issue for SC Democratic voters today – 39% pick it, followed by income inequality (21%), race relations (18%) climate change (14%).

More black voters than whites choose race relations as their most important issue. But health care is the top priority for black voters.

Return to Obama policies or move to more liberal policies

More South Carolina Democrats want the next president to return to Barack Obama’s policies – 51% do-  while roughly 3 in 10  want to change to more liberal policies. The % wanting a return to Obama policies is a currently higher than it was in New Hampshire (40%)

Candidate qualities

From a list of candidate qualities, someone who can bring needed change (38%), tops the list followed by someone who can unite the country (27%), followed by a candidate who cares about me (24%).

While change was the top candidate quality among black voters, it was closely followed by someone who cares about them. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to say they want a candidate who cares about them.

Trump and electability

More SC Democrats prefer a nominee who can beat President Trump (just over half) to one they agree with on major issues (about 43%). 

The economic system

On the economy, a majority of Democratic voters in SC say the economic system in the U.S. needs a complete overhaul in the U.S. rather than just minor changes (35%), just a mere one in 10 think it is working well enough as is.

Views are more divided in South Carolina on a Medicare for all type health care system (currently 50% support, 44% oppose.) In earlier contests, closer to six in 10 supported such a plan. 

Polls will be open across South Carolina from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Anyone who is in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to cast a vote. South Carolina has an open primary, which means all registered voters can vote in Saturday’s primary.

You can check your voter registration, find your polling place and view a sample ballot on the SC Election Commission’s website here.

Absentee ballots must be returned to county elections offices by 7 p.m. on Saturday, SC Votes also says. Those who requested absentee ballots, but want to vote in person at their polling place must return their un-voted absentee ballot to their county elections office and “receive a letter authorizing you to vote at the polls.” Absentee ballots can’t be returned at polling places.

The following candidates have been certified and will appear on the ballot for Saturday’s primary, SC Votes says:

  • Joseph R. Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Tom Steyer
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Deval Patrick- has withdrawn, but name will appear on ballot
  • Andrew Yang- has withdrawn, but name will appear on ballot
  • John K. Delaney- has withdrawn, but name will appear on ballot
  • Michael Bennett- has withdrawn, but name will appear on ballot
  • Cory Booker- has withdrawn, but name will appear on ballot

Voters will be asked to show a form of photo identification at their polling place. SC Votes says this includes:

  • SC driver’s license
  • identification card issued by the SC Department of Motor Vehicles- includes the SC Concealed Weapons Permit
  • SC Voter Registration Card with photo
  • federal military identification- includes the VA Benefits Card
  • US passport- includes the US Passport Card

In January, News13 reported there would be changes to several polling locations in Horry County for Saturday’s primary.

Two polling locations in Horry County have changed for the primary, according to the Horry County Voters Registration and Election department.

Burgess #2, which usually votes at the Burgess Community Center, will now vote at St. James Middle School, located at 9775 St. James Rd. in Myrtle Beach. Nixons #3 usually votes at the North Strand Recreation Center, but will now vote at Riverside Elementary School, located at 1283 Highway 57 South in Little River. These changes are temporary for the upcoming elections.

Permanent voting location changes in Horry County are:

  • Bayboro – Bethany Baptist Church, 3160 Hwy. 45, Loris
  • Dogwood – Chesterfield Baptist Church, 8591 Hwy. 90, Longs
  • Red Bluff – Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 6907 Hwy. 905, Conway
  • Socastee #2 – Palmetto Shores Church, 6250 Dick Pond Rd., Myrtle Beach

For voting information in other counties in the News13 area, visit the links below:

In September, the SC Republican Party voted to forgo the 2020 GOP Presidential Preference Primary, saying the decision will save South Carolina taxpayers over $1.2 million.

Count on News13 for the latest updates from Saturday’s primary and other election coverage on-air, on our elections website here, on our mobile app and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.