Hillary Clinton may have a big surprise coming up this week with polls from Oregon showing her ahead in a state many thought would be a cake walk for Bernie Sanders.
Desperately needing momentum in his bid to pull off an upset in the Democratic primary, Sanders has been looking to Oregon as a chance to take a big chunk out of Clinton’s delegate lead. It is a progressive state with demographics favorable to Sanders, and he has drawn some huge crowds during his campaigning there.
“It felt like this is Bernie Sanders country,” said pollster John Horvick (via the Los Angeles Times).
Supporters of Bernie Sanders believed the same way with many rallying to reach voters through phone banking in an effort to give Sanders a big win, hoping to be by 20 points or more.
But, the polls don’t reflect that. Horvick’s firm, DHM Research, showed that Hillary Clinton is actually leading Bernie Sanders and by a margin of 15 points. The poll had Clinton ahead 48 percent to 33 percent.
Horvick acknowledged that the results may be an outlier, noting that a big turnout among young voters could certainly sway the race to Sanders. He also noted a big shift within Oregon in the last few weeks with 65,000 voters changing their registration from unaffiliated to Democrat to vote in Tuesday’s closed primary, which could be a big boost to Sanders.
Oregon's not all Portland, apparently: Clinton led 48 to 33 percent ahead of OR primary in poll conducted May 6-9 https://t.co/4MzT3QXXVE
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 10, 2016
There are plenty of reasons to believe the poll, as well, the Los Angeles Times notes.
“Oregon has a closed primary, meaning only registered Democrats can vote, and Sanders hasn’t won a closed primary yet in this campaign. Older voters are much more likely than their younger counterparts to be registered with a party, and they’re more likely to favor Clinton, giving her an edge.
“In addition, Horvick’s team calculated a second set of numbers based on a potential turnout where young voters and new voters cast ballots in higher numbers than normal.
“Even then, Clinton had a lead that exceeded the margin of error, 45% to 38%.”
Bernie Sanders has been looking for an opening to cut into Hillary Clinton’s nearly 300-delegate lead in the race for the Democratic nomination. In recent weeks, he has put increasing pressure on the nearly 700 superdelegates who are free to vote for the candidate they believe is best in November, hoping that they can erase Clinton’s pledged delegate lead.
Sanders has pitched his strength in national polls against Donald Trump, as polls have shown him consistently leading the presumptive GOP candidate by larger margins than Hillary Clinton. His campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, notes that there would be a contested convention this summer where the Democratic Party would have to decide “if they want the candidate with the momentum who is best positioned to beat [presumptive Republican nominee Donald] Trump,” or if they would “roll the dice” with a candidate whom he said would only “protect the status quo.”
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) May 11, 2016
But, Sanders’ plan would also require him to cut into Hillary Clinton’s pledged delegate lead as much as possible, making it a smaller gap for superdelegates to fill. That plan requires a big win in Oregon while keeping Clinton’s margins down in her more favorable contests, which include New Jersey and Puerto Rico. A loss in Tuesday’s Oregon primary, or even a narrow victory, would essentially end the race and any slim hope Bernie Sanders may have had of somehow winning the nomination.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]