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Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders’ S.C. turnouts reflect poll findings

Democratic presidential primary rivals Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Democratic presidential primary rivals Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Credit: AP

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The divide between South Carolina supporters of the Democratic presidential candidates was evident on two college campuses here Friday afternoon.

At Claflin University, supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were congregating two hours before he would arrive. A half-mile walk down the street at South Carolina State University, Hillary Clinton supporters also were gathering hours before the former secretary of state would arrive for a get-out-the vote rally.

At Sanders’ event, the crowd was mostly white students and working-class voters. At Clinton’s, it was mostly older, African-American voters.

The turnout reflects what political polls are showing in South Carolina, that Clinton is running stronger with African-Americans, while Sanders is relying on college students and younger workers. In South Carolina, African-Americans can account for as much as half of the Democratic primary vote.

“Hillary backed down from the big money,” said Candy Smith, a Sanders backer and a 45-year-old mother from Charleston working two jobs. She is a caseworker for the disabled and works at a hotel on the weekends in a seven-day workweek.

“We need to get big money out of politics,” said her daughter, Mary Smith, 24, a college graduate still looking for a job.

“I back Hillary more because she’s given good reasons for her positions and how to get it done,” said John D. Rickenbacker, 60, of Orangeburg. “Bernie Sanders throws out good ideas, but I don’t even know how it would work.” He specifically cited Sanders’ plan for free college, but questioned whether the country can afford it.

“I like her when she talks about jobs for women and equal pay for all,” said his wife, Penda, 49, of Clinton.

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