Exit polling helps explain Biden’s large win in North Carolina

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Votes were still being counted in California and North Carolina’s polls were hardly closed when CBS News projected Joe Biden as the winner of North Carolina’s Democratic primary.

Biden had made a late surge to win the state. The projection of his win was made around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, leaving many asking how that call was made so early.

Looking at the exit polling, it was pretty clear. It was a blowout for the former vice president. He was coming off a big win in South Carolina the previous weekend. The momentum was enough to give him more than an edge in the Tar Heel state.

“This is where you can see where Biden is strong across groups. Even among young people, he did better than expected in North Carolina,” said Meredith College political scientist David McLennan.

It was also the African-American vote that clinched it for Biden. CBS News exit polling in North Carolina showed 63 percent of black voters went for Biden compared to 16 percent for Sanders.

“African American voters, which political scientists would say are the most pragmatic voters, they look at the field and they make decisions not based so much on their aspirations, but who can do what they say they’re going to do and,” McLennan said. “So, I think in that case voted for Biden.”

Exit polling also showed older voters had a clear choice. About 50 percent of voters older than 45 years old went for Biden. Bloomberg was a distant second with 14 percent of that demographic, and Sanders had 13 percent. That was another data point that led to the race being called early.

McLennan said generations who lived through the Cold War have a tougher time with Sanders’ call for free tuition and Medicare for All.

“They also think about things that young people don’t think about. How are they going to pay for it? Is it going to put our country further in debt? And, compared to college students, they’re just not of the age that that’s their first thought,” he said.

Exit polling also found that 37 percent of North Carolina voters made a decision in the last few days. Biden’s performance in South Carolina — coupled with last-minute endorsements by Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke — likely helped with the decision.

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