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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden takes photos with supporters at a campaign event at Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Joe Biden wins South Carolina primary, CBS News projects

Joe Biden has won the South Carolina primary, CBS News projects based on exit polls. Based on interviews on Saturday, CBS News estimates the former vice president has a big lead over his campaign rivals.

Biden’s much-needed win comes after disappointing finishes in the first three early voting states.

This week, the former vice president won the key endorsement of South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House and one of the most powerful forces in South Carolina politics. His nod did not go unnoticed by voters: 47% of voters said the endorsement was important to them, compared to 38% who said it was not.

Biden had long considered South Carolina his “firewall,” but some polls — including a CBS News Battleground Tracker on February 23 — had shown that lead shrinking after the early state losses.

80% of Democratic primary voters say they will back the nominee no matter who it is

Overall, 80% of primary voters said they would vote for the Democratic nominee regardless of who it is. However, among voters supporting Sanders, this figure drops to 69%.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, does not get high marks among South Carolina primary voters. (He is not on the ballot in South Carolina.)

Only 25% had a favorable impression of him, and 68% viewed him unfavorably. Klobuchar had the next-higher unfavorable rating, at 48%.

— David Jones

MORE: CBS News 2020 Primary Calendar

Author: GRACE SEGERS, CAROLINE LINTON, MELISSA QUINN/ CBS News
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