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Bernie Sanders lost poor voters in South Carolina by a big margin — a problem for his political revolution

Bernie Sanders had a bad night.
Bernie Sanders had a bad night.
(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton didn't just take the vast majority of the available delegates in South Carolina on Saturday night. She also took away one of Bernie Sanders's strongest arguments — that he's the candidate who has the most working-class support.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders had done better than Clinton among voters in the lowest income brackets. That seemed to bolster his claim that his "political revolution" could energize millions of new low-income voters who typically don't turn out to vote.

This argument, however, is much less tenable after tonight. Clinton did best among poor voters in South Carolina, taking 82 percent of those who earn under $30,000 on her way to a 37-point victory, according to exit polling by the New York Times.

Here are the results by income, according to the Times:

  • Among voters earning under $30,000: Clinton beat Sanders 82-18.
  • Among voters earning $30,000 to $50,000: Clinton beat Sanders 71-29.
  • Among voters earning $50,000 to $100,000: Clinton beat Sanders 66-33.
  • Among voters earning more than $100,000: Clinton beat Sanders 70-30.

Of course, this discrepancy is largely driven by Clinton's huge 87-13 margin of victory over black voters. But that's the point — outside of states like Iowa and New Hampshire, many low-income and working-class voters aren't white. Unless Sanders is able to win working-class voters beyond the whitest electorates in the country, his revolution may be over almost as soon as it started.

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