Many Democratic voters in Super Tuesday’s presidential primaries made up their minds just before casting a ballot — a sign of fluidity in a race recently upended by Joe Biden’s blowout in South Carolina.
The share of late deciders ranged from about one-third of voters in North Carolina to roughly 40 per cent in Massachusetts, according to AP VoteCast surveys of voters in several Super Tuesday contests. Moderate and conservative voters in each state were slightly more likely than their liberal counterparts to delay a decision to the last minute.
The indecision shows voters grappling with their choices in a race that is changing quickly. Biden’s big win in South Carolina on Saturday revived his struggling campaign and helped push three of his rivals toward the exit.
Biden is now trying to consolidate moderate voters, block Sen. Bernie Sanders, box out Sen. Elizabeth Warren and overcome the hundreds of millions spent by billionaire Mike Bloomberg _ who is on the ballot for the first time Tuesday.
Here’s a snapshot of Democratic voters in Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia — who they are and what matters to them — based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast surveys, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. Additional polling results will be added throughout the night.
Moderates and conservatives
Moderates and conservative accounted for the majority of Democratic voters in each of the four states, just as they have in previous contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Those primary voters also generally preferred a presidential candidate who would pursue practical centrist policies rather than one who would champion bold liberal policies.
Still, roughly half of voters, or more, in each state indicated they wanted to see a candidate who would fundamentally change how the political system works in Washington over one who would return the political system to the way it was before President Donald Trump was elected.
Looking toward November
Democratic contests in these four states do appear to be drawing some potential swing voters. About 20 per cent of voters said their vote in November will depend on who wins the nomination.
Most of this group identified as moderates or conservatives, a sign that they might be open to Trump or consider not voting for any candidate in November.
Democratic candidates have been tasked with proving they can bring together a multiracial and multi-ethnic coalition in order to compete in November. Biden’s South Carolina win was propelled by support from African American voters. Latino voters helped Sanders post a strong showing in Nevada. Bloomberg is getting his first chance to prove his appeal with both groups.
More than half of Alabama’s Democratic primary voters were African American, and all voters in this state gave an edge to Biden over Sanders and other candidates on who could best handle race-related issues as president.
Biden also enjoys an advantage on racial issues over Sanders from voters in North Carolina and Virginia. But the two are closer to even on who would handle health care issues best as president.