Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

A new poll out of South Carolina this morning shows Joe Biden with a 20 point lead over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina. It’s possible this poll is outlier, but if these numbers are right — and there have been some other indications after his improved performance in the debate earlier this week Biden is shoring up his support from African American voters in South Carolina — then that could profoundly impact the Super Tuesday voting next week, when about a third of the delegates in the Democratic nomination contest will be allocated.

A Biden surge into Super Tuesday, one in which he decisively wins Southern states with large African American populations like Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama, and cuts into Sanders lead in delegate-rich states of California and Texas, would not only revive Biden’s candidacy, it would turn him into the Great Moderate Hope who might yet be able to beat out Sanders for the nomination. But the big impediment for moderate progressives consolidating behind a rejuvenated Biden candidacy remains Mike Bloomberg. As I wrote last month, the main impact of Bloomberg’s vanity candidacy is still most likely to be that he blocks the moderate progressive majority in the party from coalescing around a candidate (like Biden) who might actually beat Sanders. Still looks to me like there’s a significant chance that Bloomberg will be the spoiler who hands the nomination to Sanders. 

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