Former vice president Joe Biden has won a number of southern states based in large part on deep support from African Americans.
Exit polls from both North Carolina and Virginia showed Biden winning 63 percent of black voters. In Alabama, Biden performed even better: 72 percent of black voters in the state chose the former vice president, according to CNN polls.
Biden also prevailed in Tennessee and Arkansas, both of which have large African-American populations. CBS had Biden winning 62 percent of black voters in Tennessee.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) had attempted to make inroads with African Americans in those states, but exit polls showed him winning just 18 percent in Virginia and Tennessee, 16 percent in North Carolina, and 12 percent in Alabama.
Biden also seemed to lead among older voters. In Virginia, about 70 percent of Democrats over the age of 65 voted for Biden.
The former vice president’s victories in southern states came after his win on Saturday in the South Carolina primary, in which Biden took almost 50 percent of the vote to Sanders’s 20 percent. South Carolina’s Democratic-primary voters were 60 percent African American. In addition, several days before the primary Biden received the endorsement of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.), the highest-ranking African American in Congress and a political kingmaker in his home state.
Super Tuesday saw Biden attempting to slow Sanders’s momentum after the Vermont senator won the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses. To remain competitive with Sanders, Biden is also counting on good showings in California and Texas, both of which Sanders had been projected to win in pre–Super Tuesday polling. The two states have a combined 643 delegates, more than all the other Super Tuesday states combined.