Bernie Sanders is making a move in the polls of New York, and as he cuts into Hillary Clinton’s lead just a week before the state’s primary, he could also have a major chance to make up ground among a demographic once solidly in Clinton’s favor.
Sanders once trailed Clinton by 20- and 30-point margins in New York — even a few outlying polls that placed him at close to 50 points behind — but in the last week has cut the lead to roughly 10 points. Sanders is making an all-out blitz at the Empire State, including appearances in his native Brooklyn and a number of Upstate visits.
While he still has a way to go in catching Hillary Clinton, a poll released on Monday shows that he could have the potential to make up considerable ground. A Monmouth University poll showing Clinton ahead 51 percent to 39 percent also indicated that Clinton may be losing her grip on non-white voters, a demographic she had dominated in the primaries to this point.
The poll found that Clinton still leads 62 percent to 22 percent among black and Hispanic voters, but that this is a group that could still change sides.
“It is worth noting that a significant number of minority voters in New York City are undecided. Based on past primaries, these should turn out to be Clinton voters, but Sanders is making an all-out appeal for their support,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, noting that close to one in eight downstate voters are still undecided.
Bernie Sanders has been making a major effort to win over black and Hispanic voters in New York. His campaign has been running an ad with an impassioned endorsement from Erica Garner, whose father Eric Garner was killed by a police officer in Staten Island, setting off citywide protests. She has appeared at events this week along with activist Harry Belafonte, who has also endorsed Sanders.
Garner said this week that Sanders has been in tune with issues facing the black community while other politicians have ignored them.
“A whole bunch of Democrats said ‘black lives matter’ or ‘Eric Garner’… well where are they?” Garner said (via The Grio).
The New York primary was once considered a sure thing for Clinton, who was a New York senator for eight years, but Sanders’ streak of wins in the last eight nominating contests seems to have opened the race. Polls in New York are tightening, and some political experts think that Sanders’ surge could be causing superdelegates to re-think their support of Hillary Clinton.
“If she can hold the superdelegates, she’ll coast — or maybe limp — to the nomination,” James Campbell, a professor of political science at the University at Buffalo, told ABC News.
“The question is if this is putting pressure on the superdelegates to rethink their support for Clinton,” he added.
Bernie Sanders is making a move in other polls. A release from Emerson this week had Sanders down 18 points, a 30-point improvement from the firm’s previous poll in March.
Experts believe now that the pressure is on Hillary Clinton, as even a close loss could be very difficult for her moving forward.
“If she were to lose, or if it were very close in New York — a state that she represented in the Senate — that would be very devastating,” Campbell said.
Whatever happens, Bernie Sanders has little time left to make up the remaining difference in the polls with New York’s vote scheduled for Tuesday. But he has been in the situation before this primary season, turning a double-digit deficit in Wisconsin into a 13-point win in just two weeks before the vote.
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