Everyone knows that CNN polls are not exactly the gold standard when it comes to polling. But that said, their recent poll reveals big potential trouble for Hillary Clinton and that her "shameless sucking up to Obama" as Chicago journalist Carol Felsenthal put it, her way of bowing and scraping for African American votes, might not be working. In fact it could have the opposite effect if African Americans resent being patronized by Clinton. And if Clinton loses South Carolina, a state she was expected to win by a mile, it's probably the end of her candidacy.
The poll, taken Feb,10-15, shows Clinton ahead of Sanders, 56-38. So why would an 18 point lead be a red flag for Clinton? A number of reasons. First, it was only a few months ago she had a more than 50 point lead which has shrunk to 18. Meaning Sanders is gaining as he campaigns in South Carolinia, something he hadn't done before. But even more worrisome for Clinton is this: that 56-38 lead is based on those who said they have made up their minds. And those people only amount to 40% of South Carolina voters. A full 43% said they are undecided and 13% said they are leaning one way or another but wouldn't want to say who. So 53% of South Carolina voters have yet to fully decide.
Given Clinton's name recognition, her phony attacks by her and her surrogates against Sanders and their seedy and dishonest attempts at playing the race card, the Washington establishment black politicians who got their marching orders from president Obama to act as surrogates for Clinton, and given Obama having all but endorsed her, that there are more undecided voters in South Carolina than decided voters is terrible news for Clinton. And those undecided voters aren't undecided because they love Hillary Clinton. They're undecided because they don't . And want to hear what Bernie Sanders has to say.
That means there are a lot of African American voters in South Carolina who aren't buying Clinton. At least not yet. And not now.
The dishonest attacks by Clinton's Black political surrogates who are proving, like Clinton they are not beneath lies and innuendo for political purposes, like their empty and dishonest accusation that Sanders is late to the civil rights movement, are clearly being ignored by most South Carolina voters African American or white. And those attacks are so transparently dishonest, they could backfire against Clinton.
More evidence of that and more worry for Clinton is that two months ago polls showed she had 80% of the African American vote in South Carolina . As of the new poll it's down to 65% . If Sanders drops that lead another 15 points and splits the African American vote in South Carolina Clinton loses.
So there is a lot to worry about in the Clinton camp. Having a large majority of voters in South Carolina having not yet made up their minds, more than those who have made up their minds after all Clinton supposedly had going for her is something to worry about. And with her shameless jumping into the arms of Obama and waving to African Americans and saying " See?", pushing Obama's policies which everyone knows have been weak, ineffective and almost complete failures and are based on dishonesty, deceit and sell outs, it shows that most voters are not falling for Clinton's attacks, and are still open to someone other than Hillary Clinton. That someone is Bernie Sanders.
Two weeks is a long time but if a substantial majority of those 53% undecided go for Sanders, and again its fair to ask the question, if Clinton would be their choice why haven't they decided that by now, what could they possibly want to know about Hillary Clinton in the next two weeks that they don't already know, Sanders will beat Clinton in a state Clinton had been calling her firewall and was supposed to be a lock.
If that happens, its over for Clinton and the end of her candidacy. She will lose the rest of the south and Super Tuesday will be a rout for Sanders. Which may happen anyway.
Clinton still enjoys a big lead now with African Americans. But Sanders has only recently started his campaign. And he has cut into it substantially. And with African Americans of the stature of Cornell West, Harry Belafonte, Ben Jealous the former head of the NAACP, and the poignancy of Erica Garner, Eric Garners daughter, all supporting Sanders as well as some prominent African American South Carolina politicians, there is no doubt Sanders will cut into that lead even more. The question is by how much.
If Sanders can cut that lead among African American voters in half, Sanders will win South Carolina. If that happens, Clintons candidacy is on life support if not over.
If Clinton wins South Carolina but its close, like single digits, Clinton will be barely left on her feet but still in the hunt. But Sanders will have won enough South Carolina delegates to make Clinton's win almost meaningless. And while it means Clinton can go on, a single digit victory in South Carolina will only prolong the agony. And the inevitable. Which every day looks like Sanders winning the nomination. The old fashioned way. By getting more votes.