SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — A new Clemson University "Palmetto Poll" shows Joe Biden with a strong lead heading into this Saturday's Democratic Presidential Primary in South Carolina. 

According to the voters they surveyed, 35 percent planned to vote for Joe Biden, 17 percent chose Tom Steyer, and 13 percent chose Bernie Sanders.

Twelve percent of voters were unsure, and the remaining voters were between Elizabeth Warren (8%), Pete Buttigieg (8%), Amy Klobuchar (4%) and Tulsi Gabbard (2%).

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It's the first poll in some time show a comfortable lead for Biden. Most recent surveys had showed him still in the lead but the race tightening to within a few percentage points.

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When asked about their choice for president, more than half wanted a strong leader (55%) and someone who cared about ‘people like me’ (51%). Other reasons for support included sharing positions on issues (45%) and the most electable (32%).  

Biden has called South Carolina the “firewall” for his campaign, eluding that the outcome would ensure his survival as a candidate. The poll did show that more people recognized Biden’s name and he polled better with older Democratic primary voters.  

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The poll also showed nearly half of voters (40%) already had their minds made up before the primaries began.  

According to the voters in the poll, more than 90 percent had heard of Biden, Sanders, Steyer, and Warren. Of those voters, more than half had positive opinions for those candidates. Gabbard polled last with only 66 percent of voters recognizing her name, and 22 percent having a positive opinion of her.  

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The poll asked voters to pick the most important issues in their primary decision. According to the results, “Poor leadership in government” was the choice of 32 percent of the respondents, with healthcare trailing at 22 percent. Primary voters were also asked how the economy played into their decision. Nearly half said the economy was “getting worse” (42%) or “staying the same” (44%) .

Voters were also asked about how the impeachment hearings affected their decision. More than half said it had “no effect” (53%), but nearly as many (40%) said they made it “more likely” that they would vote. 

The Palmetto Survey was of 650 respondents, with a mixed survey methodology of telephone respondents, online and online panel voters. It was conducted by a professional polling firm of voters statewide from February 17-25. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.8%, and a 95% confidence level for the results.