Hillary Clinton scored an overwhelming victory Saturday on the strength of nearly unified support from African-American and older voters in South Carolina, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. She captured nearly 90 percent among voters age 65 and older and about the same share of the black vote. She even narrowly beat Bernie Sanders among white voters. She ran up huge margins among all education and income groups, liberals, moderates and conservatives, late deciders and those who say they’ve long known who they were going to vote for.
She also ran very strongly among those who attend religious services at least weekly, and among the lowest income voters, both groups with large numbers of African-Americans. Clinton also ran better among women than men, but walloped Sanders among men as well. Only among white men did she fall short of a majority.
Given the thrashing Clinton administered Saturday, it’s hard to find a demographic group that Sanders won. As in earlier contests, Sanders showed some strength among young voters, winning a narrow majority of those under 30. He also edged Clinton among independents. Sanders received more than six in 10 among voters who said this was their first primary election, but this group was a very small share of the electorate (about one in 10). Not surprisingly, he won a majority among voters who want the next president to pursue more liberal policies than President Obama has.
Clinton won majorities among groups who, in earlier states, had supported Sanders. She captured about six in 10 of the votes of those who said income inequality is the most important issue, and a similar number among gun owners.
It’s hard to find a Clinton weakness, but concerns about honesty and trustworthiness still showed up in the exit poll, at least among white voters. Most white voters said that Clinton can be trusted, but four in 10 disagreed. (Few black voters expressed any concern on this question.) About a quarter of white voters said honesty was the most important candidate quality they were looking for, and the vast majority of them – about nine in 10 -– voted for Sanders.
Sanders also beat Clinton by a margin of about two-to-one among younger white voters, those under 45 years of age.