Bernie Sanders is rapidly making up ground in the polls, but his hopes of winning the Democratic nomination may actually be boosted by two demographics hidden a bit deeper in the numbers showing him catching up to Hillary Clinton nationwide.
Sanders is undoubtedly riding a wave of momentum in the Democratic primary, the winner of seven straight contests including what turned into a 13-point win this week in Wisconsin. In doing so, Sanders has topped Clinton in fundraising and enthusiasm, drawing larger crowds to events in the same cities. He has also been turning over two key demographics, ones that pushed Clinton to big wins earlier in the primary calendar but could be her downfall going forward.
Exit polls from Wisconsin showed that Bernie Sanders improved greatly among black voters. Once a demographic he could barely touch — Clinton won the black vote in southern states by more than 90 percent in many cases — Sanders improved to roughly 30 percent of the black voter demographic in the Badger State, the New York Times reported.
While not a slam dunk for Sanders, the improving numbers are much needed as he looks ahead to some larger states with high populations of black voters. To this point, much of Sanders’ winning streak has been in states with high white populations.
Even more stark numbers come from a recent poll of Latino voters, showing Bernie Sanders actually leading Clinton by close to 30 points among this group.
These are two important groups that will vote in large numbers in upcoming states, including New York and Pennsylvania. If Bernie Sanders is to continue making progress, he will need to score victories in these states and likely hold Clinton to a slim win in Maryland, where a Sanders win still seems very unlikely.
For the Sanders campaign, the best hope is to continue trimming Clinton’s delegate lead ahead of the California primary, where a large win could make up significant ground.
The momentum is a point Bernie Sanders has been emphasizing in campaign stops.
“Momentum is starting this campaign 11 months ago and the media determining that we were a ‘fringe’ candidacy,” he said on Tuesday in Laramie, Wyoming. “Do not tell Secretary Clinton — she’s getting a little nervous,” he said. “But I believe we’ve got an excellent chance to win New York and a lot of delegates in that state.”
Polls show that Bernie Sanders may still have a long way to go to turn that momentum into real success in the larger states ahead, the PhillyVoice found, including a big deficit to overcome in Pennsylvania.
“The latest poll of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania shows that Bernie Sanders has a lot of ground to cover in the Keystone State if he wants to beat Hillary Clinton in the April 26 primary. Fifty-five percent of voters surveyed support Clinton to Sanders’ 33 percent, according to Harper Polling.”
But Bernie Sanders has been there before. In polls of Wisconsin he once stared down a more than 20-point deficit against Hillary Clinton, but in the final weeks before the vote was able to flip the polls and went into the final week with a single-digit lead. He ultimately won by more than 13 points. Sanders now has less than two weeks before a critical vote in New York, and would need to make a similar — if not larger — comeback.
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