KEY POINTS

  • Biden canceled a New Hampshire appearance, flying to South Carolina instead
  • Support for Biden is low in New Hampshire, with polls putting him in fourth place
  • Biden's campaign has been struggling to maintain momentum in recent weeks

As New Hampshire votes in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, one candidate is turning his attention elsewhere. Deciding to skip out on a previously planned event in the Granite State, former Vice President Joe Biden is instead flying down to South Carolina.

The latest polling shows New Hampshire voters backing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by an 8 point lead, with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in second and third, respectively. Biden is hanging back in a tie for fourth place with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with single-digit support.

Nationally, Biden has slipped to the second spot as Sanders’ campaign continues to surge.

Between Biden’s poor showing in the Iowa caucus, his waning support in New Hampshire and his lackluster performance during Friday’s Democratic presidential nomination debate, his campaign is in dire need of revitalization.

Biden acknowledged as much during Friday’s debate in New Hampshire, admitting that he “took a hit in Iowa and I’m probably going to take a hit here.”

No doubt this realization also came to the Biden team this week, prompting the candidate to shift his focus to the South, where the former vice president’s support is arguably the strongest. Speaking to Fox News, Biden said he hasn’t given up hope on New Hampshire, but Tuesday’s shift would suggest otherwise.

South Carolina, the fifth state to participate in the primary on Feb. 29, is undeniably a Biden stronghold, as he holds a more than 20 point lead. This is due in no small part to the large black population there; since announcing his candidacy, Biden has been able to boast the overwhelming support of black and other minority voter groups. This can likely be attributed to the eight years Biden served as vice president under President Barack Obama.

Biden is currently polling in first place in Nevada, where voters are set to follow New Hampshire to caucus on Feb. 22. His lead isn’t as large there as it is in South Carolina, however, as Sanders is trailing by less than 4 points.

Why choose South Carolina over Nevada for a Tuesday appearance? Despite Biden being clearly set to sweep the Palmetto State, a visit to one of his strongholds may serve to reinvigorate the candidate and his campaign. A new jolt of energy is direly needed, as critics have made note of the campaign’s waning momentum in recent weeks – a fear that has some of his moderate supporters considering shifting their backing to another candidate.