Once again, Virginia Democratic primary voters turned out for Bernie Sanders, giving him 41.7 percent of the votes in Super Tuesday.
Joe Biden finished second with 35.4 percent.
Bidin, however, won most of the rest of the Commonwealth as 53 percent of the primary voters gave him the nod.
Floyd stood pretty much alone, not only statewide but also throughout Southwestern Virginia, where he took most counties and localities. That matched the 2016 Democratic primary, where Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Floyd but she won the majority of votes in Virginia.
Exit polls said voters thought Biden has the best chance of driving Donald Trump from office in the general election in November.
Exit polls show Biden’s support came from men and women, white and black people, college graduates and non-graduates alike by double-digit margins over Sanders. His share of the vote in those demographic categories was larger than Sanders’s and Elizabeth Warren’s combined.
Biden also received votes from Sanders’s core constituencies. Hispanic voters went for Biden by about 13 percentage points in the Virginia primary. Among voters who described themselves as very liberal, Sanders won by only about 4 percentage points.
Virginia’s projected election results came in first after the polls closed at 7 p.m.and set the trend for a strong night for Biden throughout the states in Tuesday’s primary.
By early morning, 13 of the states had been called with Biden winning nine and Sanders 3 and wiping out the delegate lead that the Senator from Vermont that many felt was insurmountable. Another big loser was billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who spent millions and came away with virtually nothing to show for it on Super Tuesday.
Bloomberg finished a distant fourth in Virginia, behind Biden, Sanders and Warren.
Writes Aaron Blake in The Washington Post:
We do have a new front-runner and favorite for the nomination: Joe Biden.
Biden won early, and even more importantly, he won big in the states he won on Super Tuesday. That means he has now built a delegate lead, barring a massive Sanders rout in California (that’s highly unlikely). The delegates are, after all, what matters now in this race.
Biden has also reversed the trajectory of this race. After Sanders won the popular vote in the first three states, there was a real reason to believe he might be about to build a potentially insurmountable delegate lead. It might not have been enough to get him a majority and to avoid a contested convention, but he seemed the clear leader with the wind at his back.
That’s now Biden. As of publication time, Biden was on track to be the clear delegate leader. Biden won by far the most states and even picked off a couple Sanders won in 2016, Minnesota and Oklahoma. Biden also performed better than the most recent polls predicted in many states, suggesting the picture for him nationwide is improving.
Virginia set the tone early. Gregory S. Schneider notes:
Former vice president Joe Biden won Virginia’s Democratic primary contest by a large margin Tuesday, with exit polls showing that voters chose mainly based on who they thought had the best chance of beating President Trump this fall.
The broad victory confirmed Biden’s renewed strength after his lackluster early showings and suggested the appeal of an establishment candidate to a wide swath of voters anxious to find a winner in the fractious Democratic field.
Biden was powered by African American voters, who accounted for about a quarter of those casting ballots in Virginia on Tuesday, according to exit polling conducted by Edison Media Research. Roughly 6 in 10 black voters chose Biden — similar to the outcome in his victory last weekend in South Carolina.
But Biden also won among white Virginia voters, thanks primarily to those older than 45 — 6 in 10 of whom voted for the former vice president, polling showed. Voters younger than 30 went for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by a margin of nearly 3 to 1, but he still trailed Biden by about 30 points, according to unofficial returns.
In Virginia, Floyd County bucked the tide, while most other localities in the Southwest portion of the state and throughout the Old Dominion turned to Biden.