#BEpolls: How does South Carolina Look?

Days ahead of the crucial majority-Black voter primary, a glimpse at the polls.

Publisher’s Riff

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South Carolina’s presidential primary will be upon us on Saturday, February 29th - and, in a somewhat fitting way, on the last day of Black History Month. That’s because it’s a primary in which 60 percent of the electorate is African American, which is a big deal considering over a quarter of the overall Democratic Party electorate is Black. So, this will be a major test of candidate resonance with these voters and how effective they will be in capturing that bloc throughout the primary and, if they become the nominee, into the general election.

Here’s a look at what polls are saying at the moment about South Carolina. What we’re seeing is a sudden spike in support for Joe Biden (from a low of 23 percent on Feb. 21st to an average high of nearly 37 percent) - something he’ll need - and a rather sudden drop in support for Bernie Sanders (from a high of 23 percent on Feb. 24th to now 17 percent today). The expectation has always been that Biden will pick up South Carolina. The question was always “ok, got it. But, by how much?” South Carolina also has quite a few delegates: 54 …




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Post and Courier-Change Research

Starboard Communications

Monmouth University

Clemson University

East Carolina University

Public Policy Polling







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Lincoln Park Strategies-WURD National Black Voter Poll Results

First poll of 2020 done in partnership with a Black-owned media outlet shows majority of Black voters support the Democratic nominee ... depending on who that is

LPS-WURD National Black Voter Poll | @lpstrategies @onWURD

for more analysis, listen to Reality Check on WURD, Mon-Wed 10am ET streamed live at WURDradio.com, in Philly on 96.1 FM / 900 AM | #RealityCheck @ellisonreport

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) - WURD Radio (96.1FM / 900AM / WURDRadio.com / WURDApp), the only African American-owned talk radio station in Pennsylvania, and one of only a few in the country, recently partnered with Washington, D.C.-based Lincoln Park Strategies (“LPS”), a full-service analytic research firm, to conduct and release a major nationwide survey of 1,000 African American adults.  The purpose of this poll, the result of a comprehensive field assessment conducted by LPS, was to gauge Black adult opinions on the 2020 presidential field (including Democratic candidates and the Republican incumbent) and a number of key policy issues. The full results can be found here on wurdradio.com.

Out of those sampled, 54 percent are women, 44 percent are men; 83 percent are registered to vote, 14 percent are not.

This Lincoln Park Strategies-WURD National Black Voter Poll (LPS-WURD Poll) finds that …

  • A slim majority of African American adults, 39 percent, will vote for the Democratic nominee for president depending on who that nominee is;

  • 37 percent say they will vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless and 10 percent are prepared to vote for the incumbent President Donald Trump.


The poll also shows 11 percent of Black adult respondents saying they will not vote in the 2020 presidential election, in addition to 3 percent who are prepared to vote for a third-party nominee. A majority of respondents (44 percent) believe that defeating Trump is the priority in 2020, as opposed to 24 percent who feel defeating Trump and the issue stances of the Democratic nominee are equally important and another 22 percent who believe the issue stances of the Democratic nominee are important. 

When looking at Black opinions on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary field’s “electability” against the incumbent Donald Trump, the LPS-WURD poll finds …

  • 53 percent of respondents expressed support for Bernie Sanders versus Trump in a hypothetical “head-to-head” match-up

  • 51 percent for Joe Biden

  • 48 percent for Mike Bloomberg

Elizabeth Warren ranked 4th among survey respondent choices at 44 percent, followed by Pete Buttigieg (41 percent), Amy Klobuchar (40 percent) and Tom Steyer (39 percent).  With conversation about Black voters over the last couple of weeks centering around Bloomberg’s past embrace of the controversial policing method known as “stop and frisk,” a majority of respondents (35 percent) answered that a candidates “prior support” of the tactic would influence their vote for president versus 26 percent who said it would not. Nearly a quarter of Black adult respondents, 22 percent, said that a candidate’s sexual orientation would likely “impact” their support of him or her. 

In the Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders receives 41 percent of Black voter support, followed by Joe Biden at 36 percent and Mike Bloomberg at 27 percent. 

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In other results, respondents identified healthcare, jobs and the economy, and social issues as the top three issues they would like addressed.  Three-quarters of respondents, 75 percent, said that they are likely to fill out the upcoming Census online (42 percent) or by mail (33 percent); 17 percent of respondents said that they don’t plan on completing the Census form (7 percent) or they did not know about it (10 percent). 

This is the first nationwide political opinion poll of Black adults in 2020 done in partnership with a Black-owned media outlet, and it is among the first of this year to deeply examine Black voter sentiment.  With the South Carolina presidential primary only days away on February 29th - where over 60 percent of voters in that primary are Black - and Black voters nationally accounting for a significant and decisive share of the overall Democratic primary electorate, there is increased public and media interest in the role the Black electorate will play in deciding the next Democratic Party nominee for president and who wins the White House in November. 

The LPS-WURD Poll is the result of 1,000 total interviews among African American adults conducted between February 13 - February 21, 2020 in an online survey. Results were weighted to ensure proportional response. The margin of error for overall results is 3.1% at the 95% confidence level. Full poll results and tabs can be found here on wurdradio.com

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About WURD Radio - WURD (96.1FM | 900AM | wurdradio.com | WURD App) is the only Black owned and operated multimedia talk radio station in Pennsylvania, and one of a few in the country. WURD serves as the heartbeat and pulse of Philadelphia’s Black community by providing information and solutions that educate, uplift and inspire. Since our inception in 2003, we pride ourselves on being a strong voice for the issues that matter. More information on WURD is at wurdradio.com or by following @onWURD on Twitter and Instagram.

About Lincoln Park Strategies - Lincoln Park Strategies is a full-service analytic research firm that partners with corporate, non-profit, and political clients around the globe to meet all of their research and data needs. In an ever-changing world, Lincoln Park Strategies continues to transform and expand the way we collect and analyze data for our clients. All of our quantitative, qualitative, and analytic research methods provide more than just a simple binary view of the world, but instead give a complete, integrated, and long-term view of the landscape in which our clients are situated. More information is at LPStrategies.com or by following @lpstrategies on Twitter. 


#BEpolls: The Problem with Pollsters Choosing Presidential Candidates

The Democratic Party should really change what constitutes a "qualifying" poll

Dr. G.S. Potter | Contributing Editor

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Below is a list of the “Qualifying Polls Sponsors” that the Democratic Party uses to decide who gets to stand on a debate stage – and who doesn’t.

While you read this list, you might want to ask yourself: how many of these organizations are owned and operated by Black, Brown or Indigenous people? How many of these universities are HBCUs? How many of these polls are offered in languages other than English?  How many of the researchers writing the questions to be asked are anything but white and middle class?  ….

ABC News

Washington Post

CBS News/YouGov


Des Moines Register

Fox News

Monmouth University

National Public Radio

NBC News/Wall Street Journal; NBC News/Marist

New York Times; Quinnipiac University

University of New Hampshire

USA Today/Suffolk University

Winthrop University

The 2020 Democratic Presidential Election cycle started off with the most diverse set of candidates the party had ever produced. And while the fundraising threshold is often targeted as being unfair to candidates of color and candidates whose constituencies are from low income communities, it is the polling threshold that functionally eliminates voices of color from the debate stage.

And not only does that voice remain overwhelmingly White, but it is also overwhelmingly wrong. 

Take the debacle that was the Iowa caucus, for example.  In a performance that can at best be described as embarrassing, the Qualifying Poll Sponsors (QPS) couldn’t have been more wrong about voter preference. 

Fox News, for example, reported on January 26 that …

… Bernie Sanders has pulled within three percentage points of front runner Joe Biden, who appears to have lost support to billionaire Michael Bloomberg.  Biden receives 26 percent support among Democratic primary voters and Sanders 23 percent. They are followed by Elizabeth Warren at 14 percent, Bloomberg 10 percent, Pete Buttigieg 7 percent, Andrew Yang 5 percent, and Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer are at 3 percent apiece. All others receive 1 percent or less.

According to a January 29 article, Monmouth University similarly stated …

Biden stands at 23 percent support and Sanders at 21 percent in the poll, which was conducted Thursday through Monday. The former vice president’s 2-point edge over the populist independent senator who’s making his second straight White House bid is well within the survey’s sampling error.  Buttigieg – who at 38 is the youngest candidate in the Democratic presidential field – stands at 16 percent, with Warren of Massachusetts at 15 percent.

On February 1, two days before the Iowa caucus, the Washington Post reported,

A Washington Post average of the most recent Iowa state polls shows four candidates clustered closely at the top, with Biden at 23 percent, Sanders at 21 percent, Buttigieg at 18 percent and Warren at 15 percent, along with Klobuchar at 8 percent and other candidates at 3 percent or below.

The Des Moines Register-CNN-Mediacom poll published Jan. 10 revealed a similar picture of the race’s top tier, showing Sanders at 20 percent support, Warren at 17 percent, Buttigieg at 16 percent, Biden at 15 percent and Klobuchar at 6 percent.  It’s worth noting that the poll this QPS was scheduled to produce immediately before the Iowa caucus were scrapped because of an admitted error with the survey questions. 

It’s also worth noting there are likely a multitude of errors that have not been admitted.

Eventually, the actual outcome of the Iowa caucus was

Still, these polling entities are allowed to decide who gets to stand on the debate stage, and ultimately who gets to continue running for President.  Not the people.  The Pollsters. 

There should be more transparency and accountability in the Democratic polling process. Black, Latino, and Indigenous media outlets and universities have been completely left out of this process.  They need to organize to ensure that changes.  The methodologies and questions being used and generated by Qualifying Poll Sponsors also need to become transparent.  If White bias, or any other form of bias, is inappropriately skewing the results of QPS polls, these errors need to be identified and remedied immediately. Academics of color should be at the forefront of these efforts.  The channels through which the questions being asked should also be highly scrutinized. The languages and formats that questions are asked in should also be identified so as to not exclude voters that speak languages other than English, disabled voters, and low income voters.  

The Democratic Party must be able to identify who its voters are and how they are responding with laser-like precision if it is going to defeat the Republican Party in 2020. If it can’t even identify who should (or shouldn’t) make a debate stage, how does the party even stand a chance?  This nation does not have the luxury of ignoring inclusion or only scratching its surface. If the internal mechanisms behind the party aren’t immediately altered to ensure that White bias is eliminated from voter polling methods, the DNC will be flying blindfolded into the most important Presidential election in modern history.

Comparing Commutations: A Story of Real Numbers on Trump's Big Clemency Day

You'd get the impression that Donald Trump is a champion of "criminal justice" reform. Is that really the case?

Publisher’s Riff

for more analysis, listen to Reality Check on WURD, Mon-Wed 10am ET streamed live at WURDradio.com, in Philly on 96.1 FM / 900 AM | #RealityCheck @ellisonreport

Image result for number of clemency by trump

Donald Trump is having another good week, at least politically and optically. A busy day of presidential clemency - a total of 7 pardons and 4 commutations - gives him the opportunity to fashion himself as a champion of criminal justice reform during a presidential election in which Democrats battling for his job will use that issue as a key measuring stick lined up against the records of multiple candidates. Announcing these many pardons and commutations in a day, and in dramatic fashion, also achieves two immediate tactical goals …

  1. It diverts attention from the president directly intervening in the affairs of a, supposedly, independent Justice Department on sensitive cases related to his corruption … and now claiming he is the nation’s “chief law enforcement officer”

  2. It serves to portray him as compassionate on “criminal justice” issues in a direct contrast to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as the Democratic presidential contender continues to take hits on how he oversaw widespread “stop and frisk” policing during his three terms.

The impression will also be given that Trump is not only concerned about major miscarriages of justice, but that he is as active - indeed, more active - than his predecessor President Barack Obama. But, perspective is needed. First: it’s important to look deeper into the biographies of those granted clemency - many either convicted for corrupt acts or in close proximity to Trump’s immediate political orbit.

Here’s where Democratic Party messaging strategists should be immediately hitting back with pre-packaged topline data points and fact to better manage a chaotic political environment that Republicans continue to dominate …

Clemency: Obama vs. Trump vs. Clinton

From the Justice Departments own public data sets

In three years, Trump has issues just granted 24 total clemency petitions compared to a total of 1,927 for Obama’s entire presidency; out of those, however, were 23 total clemencies during his first time (just one clemency shy of Trump’s first term clemency record).

Indeed even Clinton issued more combined pardons and commutations than either Trump or Obama in their first three years of office: a total of 56.

Obama Used Clemency More … Than Most Modern Presidents

Obama did reject a rather large number of clemency petitions: only 5 percent were granted. That’s the average of most presidents - but, relatively low compared to presidents like Harry Truman, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson who granted 41 percent, 39 percent and 38 percent of clemency requests.

The difference however is that Obama implemented an actual Clemency Initiative to closely examine these requests and to pick the right ones. This makes him the most methodical and deliberate president on this tool (perhaps deliberate in a subtle bid to not seem too soft on “criminals” as the nation’s first Black president), an effort designed to pick out and remediate the most egregious examples of criminal justice convictions.

Here’s Pew Research

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#BEpolls: Looking at Nevada's Current Polls & Demographics

Days ahead of its caucus, race will also be a key determinant in the outcome. How might that play out?

Publisher’s Riff

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With the Nevada Democratic Party caucuses for president arriving on Saturday, February 22nd, it might be important to take a quick look at what that electorate looks like. Key polls have already dropped showing some fresh shifts in Democratic voter opinion since Iowa and New Hampshire. The racial demographics in that state, and others, are among the most important.

Here’s a reference set of averaging for that exercise …



Here are more granular and recent individual polls since the beginning of February …

Las Vegas Review Journal

Data For Progress

Point Blank Political

Beacon Research


A look at the state’s demographic profile, compared to other early states …




This is a snapshot of the 2016 caucus entrance polling by gender, age and race, how that broke down. Black (13%), Latino (19%) and Asian (4%) accounted for a combined non-White 36% of that caucus electorate …

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