Polls Show Bernie Sanders In Stunning Wisconsin Comeback — Now Clear Favorite To Win State, Seeks Delegate Haul

Bernie Sanders, in three new polls this week, surged into a clear lead in the Wisconsin primary over Hillary Clinton just days before that state heads to the polls in its 2016 presidential primary on Tuesday, April 5.

The new polls show a remarkable political comeback for Sanders and his campaign of “political revolution.” In five polls taken in Wisconsin since last November, but prior to this week, Bernie Sanders showed a lead over Hillary Clinton in only one. In that poll, he was ahead by only one percentage point.

Bernie Sanders Polls Wisconsin Primary
Supporters of Bernie Sanders have been thrilled by his recent success in the polls and in caucuses (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Although the most recent previous poll, released on March 23 by Emerson College, showed Clinton with a lead in Wisconsin of six percentage points, that lead appears to have evaporated and turned in Sanders favor. A Marquette University poll Wednesday showed Sanders ahead of Clinton by four points.

Then, on Thursday, Public Policy Polling released results with Sanders leading by six points. On Friday, a Fox Business News poll put Sanders in the lead by five points.

The good news for Bernie Sanders comes just a day after he held an outdoor rally in the South Bronx, New York City, that drew more than 18,000 people to hear not only the boilerplate Sanders stump speech but also a rousing introductory speech from actress Rosario Dawson.

Watch the Daredevil star deliver her speech supporting Bernie Sanders in the video below.

The polls released this week showed Sanders with a narrow but clear lead in a state that, despite the earlier polls, many experts had expected him to win and where he is under heavy pressure to turn in an impressive performance in order to make a dent in Clinton’s pledged delegate lead, which is now estimated at 228.

In perhaps the most encouraging news for Bernie Sanders contained in the new polling, one of the surveys, Public Policy Polling, broke the results down by racial classification and found that Sanders is actually winning among African-American voters — by 11 points.

The Fox Business News poll broke the results simply into “white” and “non-white” categories, however, and found that Clinton leads Sanders among “non-white” voters by 10 points.

As a result of the new polling, the election-predicting site FiveThirtyEight.com, which as recently as March 29 projected Clinton with a 69 percent probability of winning Wisconsin, has now revised that projection in Sanders favor. Bernie Sanders now has a 78 percent probability of victory in the state, according to FiveThirtyEight.

But will the victory help Sanders in his uphill climb to win the Democratic nomination, or will a Wisconsin win give Sanders nothing more than temporary bragging rights but no new path toward a final victory over Clinton?

For analysis of the “delegate math,” watch the following report from CBS News Online in the video below.

Wisconsin has 86 delegates to split between the two candidates, with 29 going to the winner of the statewide primary automatically. But the other 57 will be doled out based on results in each of the state’s eight congressional districts.

While a win in Wisconsin will allow Sanders to claim increased momentum coming off his three-state caucus sweep on March 26, a close election that ends up with Sanders and Clinton dividing the 86 delegates on a roughly even basis does Sanders no good when it comes to his goal of defeating Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

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Bernie Sanders Polls Wisconsin Primary Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton continues to hold a significant lead in the all-important delegate count (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Experts such as FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver estimate that Sanders will need to win Wisconsin by a 16-point landslide to gain enough delegates to close the delegate gap on Clinton to a meaningful degree.

Joe Zepecki, a Wisconsin Democratic party strategist, also believes that Sanders will come up short in the delegate haul — needing to take between 65 and 70 percent, or between 55 and 60 of the 86 delegates — for his seemingly inevitable victory in Wisconsin to mean anything.


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The results of the new polls did not come without a lot of hard work, and money, from Bernie Sanders. Not only has he scheduled nearly a dozen rallies in the state in March and early April, he has purchased more than 60 percent of the available television advertising time on the Wisconsin airwaves, spending more than $200,000 as of March 24, far more than any other candidate in either party. As of that same date, Hillary Clinton had spent only about $9,300 on TV advertising in Wisconsin.

[Photo by Jeff Swenson/Getty Images]