The South Carolina Primary: A Quick Look at Black Voters

By Sarah Dutton 

The South Carolina Democratic primary not only represented a must-win state for Joe Biden if he wanted to keep his candidacy viable, but it was also the first contest with a sizable African American voting population.  And with help from that voting bloc, Biden won the primary there. 

According to the Edison exit poll data there, 56% of voters in South Carolina were African American – down from 61% in 2016 – and they overwhelmingly supported Biden; he won 61% of their vote. Bernie Sanders came in second, far behind at 17%.  (Biden won among white voters as well, but by a far smaller margin.)  

Older black voters were especially strong Biden supporters; 69% of those over age 45 voted for Biden.

There were clear signs of how strongly black voters in South Carolina relate to Biden. Fully 84% of black voters hold a favorable view of Biden, higher than for any other candidate. He was the overwhelming choice for which candidate best understands the concerns of racial and ethnic minorities; 55% of black voters chose him.  And 60% of black voters said the endorsement of Biden by Representative Jim Clyburn – a senior black member of Congress from this state – was an important factor in their vote; 64% of them voted for Biden. 

And in what could only help Biden, 66% of black voters said they want a return to the policies of Barack Obama. 

As the Democratic nominating race moves into the Super Tuesday states, exit poll data will show whether Biden’s strong showing among black voters continues, and how much it contributes to his delegate count.

In the states voting on Super Tuesday, if historical trends hold black voters may not be as large a force as they were in South Carolina. Looking back at Edison exit poll data from the Democratic primaries in 2016, in only one of the states holding races this Tuesday did the black share of the vote reach as high as it was in South Carolina this year – in Alabama, 54% of 2016 Democratic primary voters were black.  Black voters were a smaller but still substantial percentage of the electorate in Tennessee (32%), North Carolina (32%), Arkansas (27%) and Virginia (26%). But in states like Oklahoma (14%), Massachusetts (4%) and Vermont (1%), they were a small sliver of voters. In states with low percentages of black voters, Biden will have to draw support from other groups of voters as well to prevail. 

In Texas, the voter group to watch are Latinos. While 19% of 2016 primary voters in Texas were black, they were outnumbered by Latinos, who comprised 32% of the electorate there.      

Edison Research will have its exit polling team spread out across the Super Tuesday states tomorrow. We’ll let you know how it all plays out. 

Super Tuesday: What Is It, and What Can We Expect?

Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are designated by party rules to hold their nominating contests before any other states — but plenty of other states want their voters to have a say in who is chosen as the nominee, and therefore hold their contests as soon after those first four as possible. Hence, Super Tuesday – the date on which the largest number of states hold their nominating primary and caucus contests, and a large number of delegates are awarded.

Super Tuesday receives a lot of attention, and because states from all over the country vote on that day, it can provide some insight into how a candidate will fare nationally. It generally falls fairly early in the nominating calendar, often in March. This year, Super Tuesday falls on March 3, when fourteen states and two other groups will hold contests: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Democrats living abroad and the territory of American Samoa.

It’s the all-important delegate count that will determine the eventual nominee. Delegates on the Democratic side are awarded proportionally, which means that candidates who receive more than 15% of the vote in each state will receive some number of delegates that reflects their vote share in the race.

1,357 delegates will be at stake on March 3, a large share of the 1,991 unpledged delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. California, which moved up its primary this year, is the biggest prize with 415 delegates, followed by Texas with 228 delegates and North Carolina with 110.

Delegates at Stake

Alabama – 52

Arkansas – 31

California – 415

Colorado – 67

Maine – 24

Massachusetts – 91

Minnesota – 75

North Carolina – 110

Oklahoma – 37

Tennessee – 64

Texas – 228

Utah – 29

Vermont – 16

Virginia – 99

Territory of American Samoa – 6

Democrats Abroad – 13

We won’t know the outcome of the biggest delegate prize until 11 p.m. EST at the earliest, when the polls close in California. Bear in mind that sometimes races are just too close to project a winner when the polls close, and we may have to wait until more of the vote is reported to know who the victor is. Polls begin closing at 7:00 p.m. EST; Virginia and Vermont close at 7:00, followed by North Carolina 7:30. Then at 8:00 we will see poll closings in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, OklahomaTennessee, and Utah. Arkansas closes at 8:30 p.m., followed by Colorado, Minnesota and Texas at 9:00 and California at 11, as mentioned. 

What Could Happen?

It shouldn’t surprise election watchers if Bernie Sanders wins his home state of Vermont, as he did four years ago. In 2016, Sanders won Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah as well as Democrats Abroad – we will watch to see if he wins those this year as well. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the three delegate-rich states voting on Super Tuesday this year – California, Texas and North Carolina. At the time of this writing, polls show Sanders with a lead in California, but the race is closer in Texas and North Carolina.

As we all know, these races can change course in the last few days before election day, depending on news events, debate performances and voters who decide or change their minds late in the runup to the election. And South Carolina will hold its primary just days before Super Tuesday – a race in which polls show Joe Biden with a lead and where he is expected to perform well among the state’s large African American voting population. That may provide him with some momentum heading into the March 3 elections.

What impact could Super Tuesday have this year? If a candidate wins a number of states by a large margin or wins one or more of the big delegate-rich states, it could propel him or her into the lead for the nomination. It’s also possible that one or more Democratic candidates will not receive enough delegates to be able to continue; with a relatively large field still in the race, some candidates may find themselves so behind in delegates that their candidacy is no longer viable. Super Tuesday may mark a turning point in the race for the Democratic nomination, we shall see.

Some Super Tuesday Factoids

The first “Super Tuesday” was designated as such in 1988, when a number of Southern states joined forces to hold their primaries on the same day to increase their influence in the nominating process.

Twenty years later, in 2008, so many states voted on one day that it was referred to by pundits as “Titanic Tuesday”. That year, 24 states held Democratic primaries and caucuses and 21 held Republican primaries and caucuses; many states moved up the date of their primary or caucus, and Super Tuesday occurred in early February. More than 1,000 delegates were awarded that day in each party.

And sometimes Super Tuesday results can winnow the field. In 2016, Republicans Marco Rubio and Ben Carson dropped out shortly after the March 1 Super Tuesday voting.

Will Super Tuesday make history this year? By next week, we will know the answer.

Click here for more on election polling.

Edison Research Releases Podcast Industry’s First All-Inclusive U.S. Top 10 Podcast Ranker


Edison Research is pleased to announce its first Top Ten Podcast ranker, new from the company’s subscription product, the Podcast Consumer Tracker (PCT). The ranker depicts the top ten podcasts in America by reach among weekly podcast consumers. The PCT is the only comprehensive and all-inclusive study of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America.

The top ten podcasts in America for the third and fourth quarters of 2019, as ranked by the percentage of weekly podcast consumers 18+ who have listened to them, is as follows:

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. This American Life
  3. The Daily
  4. My Favorite Murder
  5. Crime Junkie
  6. Stuff You Should Know
  7. Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!
  8. Serial
  9. Pod Save America
  10. Radiolab

Begun in Summer 2019, the PCT is now in its third quarter of fielding and is the only study that measures the entire podcast space continuously, compared to other download rankers which only measure participants/customers of those rankers, or users of a specific platform. As such, the PCT offers a holistic view of the reach and impact of all leading podcasts and podcast networks.

“This ranker looks deceptively simple,” notes Edison Research  Senior Vice President Tom Webster, “but it’s the product of hand-coding tens of thousands of podcasts from a sample of over 4,000 podcast listeners. Podcast listening is still fairly fragmented, and it wasn’t until we had this large a sample that we felt it would be responsible to even put out a top ten, let alone a longer list.”

The PCT is sampled continuously throughout each quarter to negate the effects of limited releases and new shows and is weighted to the industry standard measure of podcast listening, the Infinite Dial research series from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

“Attempting to distill the listening habits of thousands of podcast listeners is a formidable research challenge, not to be entered into lightly, and certainly not by fielding a small sample study over a handful of days,” said Webster. “Fortunately for us, we had the mechanisms and methodology in place from other large sample projects, like our Share of Ear® series, to do the task justice and finally provide podcast networks, agencies, and media buyers with numbers they can trust and that can be projected across the entire listening population.”

How The Study Was Conducted: The Podcast Consumer Tracker data is based upon 4,053 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers in the United States, ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Sampling was conducted continuously over the last two quarters of 2019, with Quarter Three interviews conducted July 7 through September 30, 2019 and Quarter Four interviews conducted October 1 through December 21, 2019. All respondents were instructed to enter the names of all podcasts they listened to the week before the interview into an online diary and were provided instructions to obtain that information from their podcast client/player of choice. All responses were unaided and hand-coded by Edison to determine actual show name, producer, genre, and other information. Data is weighted to nationally representative numbers for weekly podcast consumers from The Infinite Dial 2019, from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

The Podcast Consumer Tracker is Edison Research’s flagship podcast research study and is subscribed to by a host of producers and agencies including NPR, Wondery, WarnerMedia, ESPN, and many other leading players in the space. In addition to network reach statistics, the study also provides the only nationally representative look at the purchasing and consumption patterns of podcast listeners, content preferences, and advertising targeting information across a broad array of consumer goods and services.

Fielding is continuous and currently underway for the next quarterly report in the series, to be delivered in April 2020. More information is available at 

The New Hampshire Democratic Primaries – How They Won and Lost

By Sarah Dutton

The New Hampshire Democratic Primary electorate is overwhelmingly angry with the Trump administration (79%) and a majority is focused on candidates’ electability (63%) over issue positions (33%), according to Edison Research exit polls. 

The final vote tallies for the top three candidates – Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar – showed a close race, and in the final days, a fluid one. There were twice as many “late deciders” – voters who made up their minds which candidate to support in the days leading up to Election Day – this year as in 2016; 51% of the electorate said they decided who to vote for on election day or in the last few days leading up to it, compared to 25% in 2016.  

Among those who decided on election day or in the last few days before election day, 28% supported Pete Buttigieg, and nearly as many – 26% – voted for Amy Klobuchar. Voters who made their minds up earlier in the race supported Sanders.

Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar had good news heading into the New Hampshire Democratic Primary: Buttigieg won the most state delegates in the Iowa caucuses, and Klobuchar was widely considered to have done well in the most recent Democratic debate.  The New Hampshire exit poll provides more evidence of the boost Klobuchar may have gotten from last Friday’s debate; 49% of voters said the recent debate was an important factor in their vote choice, and she won this group with 29%.

Perceptions of the candidates’ qualities also contributed to the strong showings by Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar. Among the 36% of voters who said they want a candidate who can bring needed change, Sanders was their choice, with 37%.  A third said that a candidate that can unite the country was most important to them, and Klobuchar won them with 33%, followed by Buttigieg with 29%.   

Sanders won with strong support from voters under 30 (47%), the most liberal wing of the party (46%) and new voters (29%). 

Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar took the top three spots in the final vote tally. What happened to two of the other frontrunning candidates, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren?  

Biden’s arguments about why he should be the nominee just didn’t connect with these voters. He has emphasized his foreign policy experience but came in third (20%) to Buttigieg (27%) and Klobuchar (23%) among voters who chose it as the most important issue in their vote (just 11% did so).  

Among the four in ten voters who want to see a return to the policies of his former boss President Barack Obama, 28% voted for Buttigieg and 26% for Klobuchar, with Biden in third place at 15%.  

And finally, Biden did poorly on one of his strongest arguments to voters, electability; among the 63% of voters focused on beating Trump in November, just 10% chose him as their candidate, after Buttigieg (28%), Sanders (21%), Klobuchar (21%) and Warren (11%). 

Warren did poorly with most demographic groups, coming in near the bottom of the field among both women and men, young voters under 30 and voters 65 or older, and Independents.  Thirty percent of white college-educated women voted for Klobuchar, twice the percentage that voted for Warren (15%). As a progressive candidate, she did better among very liberal voters (19%) but came in a distant second to Sanders (46%). 

There is plenty of additional data to mine from the New Hampshire exit poll – more noteworthy data nuggets to come! 

By Cindy Axne -, Public Domain,

Edison Research Conducts Entrance Polls on Iowa Caucus Night

On Monday, February 3, Edison Research successfully conducted entrance polling for the Iowa Caucuses on behalf of the National Election Pool (NEP). Edison interviewed over 1600 voters at randomly-selected caucus sites.

The Edison Research entrance polls provided valuable context to the nation’s first political contest of the 2020 election cycle. Our network clients relied upon the information obtained from these entrance polls to provide valuable content and insight throughout the entire evening of the Iowa Caucuses.

Edison’s entrance polls were used to determine key information from voters, including demographic data, important issues and the “electability” of the various candidates. Edison’s election team captured, processed and analyzed thousands of data points within the short duration of the caucuses and enabled our member clients and subscribers real-time access to in-depth analysis of the Iowa results.

Full coverage of our entrance polls can be found here:






The Washington Post