Former Vice President Joe Biden scored a huge victory in the 2020 Democratic primary on Tuesday according to a projection by election expert Dave Wasserman, an editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. NBC News also called the Michigan race for Biden.
In 2016, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders scored a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton despite trailing in most polls by at least 20 percentage points.
But according to the projections, Sanders was unable to overcome a similar polling deficit to Biden in the 2020 primary.
“I’ve seen enough,” Wasserman wrote on his Twitter account at 8:32 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.
“Joe Biden wins the Michigan primary.”
At about 9 p.m. EDT, according to The New York Times, Biden led the raw vote total with 52.1 percent, to 41.7 percent for Sanders, with 17 percent of voting precincts reporting their results.
Wasserman made his call before polls had actually closed in Michigan, which did not occur until 9 p.m. NBC News projected that Biden will win the state just moments after the polls closed.
Michigan is the big prize among the six states voting on March 10, with 125 delegates. But though Sanders appears to be losing the state, he also appears poised to take a share of those delegates, with a vote percentage well above the 15 percent cutoff for “viability.”
According to a count by The Wall Street Journal, Biden gained 45 delegates as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, giving him a total of 715. Sanders had picked up just 10 delegates by the same time for an aggregate of 584 — a Biden lead of 131. To win the Democratic nomination, a candidate must win 1,991 delegates.
Biden also won primaries in Missouri and Mississippi on Tuesday, thanks largely to support from African-American voters. But he also performed well with other demographics. In Mississippi, Biden won a whopping 86 percent of black voters, nearly nine of every 10 who voted, according to The Wall Street Journal. But the former vice president also won 60 percent of white voters in Mississippi.
With 17 percent of precincts reporting as of 9:30 p.m. EDT, Biden was running away with the state, taking 81.6 percent of the vote overall, to just 14.6 percent for Sanders.
Multiple news agencies also called the state of Missouri for Biden. With 10 percent reporting, Biden was leading with 55.1 percent of the vote to 31.8 for the Vermont senator. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, despite dropping out of the presidential race last week, picked up 5.4 percent of the vote in Missouri.
Results from Washington state, Idaho, and North Dakota had not yet come in. All three states also voted on Tuesday.
According to The Journal, exit polls showed that in Missouri and Mississippi, voters tended to be older and more ideologically moderate than voters in those two states four years ago. That makeup of the voter pool clearly worked against Sanders, whose base of support comes largely from young voters, and those who describe themselves as “very liberal.”
Exit polls in Michigan also showed a similar trend, with older voters comprising 64 percent of the electorate on Tuesday, The Journal reported. In 2016, those voters — over 45 years of age — were only 55 percent of the Michigan voter pool. But Biden won about 67 percent of the older voters, while Sanders won 69 percent of voters under 45 years old.