While Bernie Sanders was busy turning the tide in the Indiana primary, the results of a new poll show that he may do the same in the West Virginia primary next Tuesday.
According to Public Policy Polling, Sanders now leads Hillary Clinton in West Virginia 45 to 37 percent. The poll also shows that 18 percent of likely voters are still undecided, so as always in this election cycle, nothing is set in stone. While Clinton leads with Democrats (43/41) Sanders is more than making up the difference with Independents (56/19). In addition the results show that:
‘Clinton is actually ahead 52/41 with liberals, but Sanders has the cumulative edge because he’s up 55/31 with moderates and 36/19 with conservatives who in West Virginia are 22% of the primary electorate. One thing Clinton does have going for her in West Virginia is that 79% of her voters are firmly committed to her, compared to 65% of Sanders’ who say the same.’
West Virginia will award 37 delegates in its primary, so while this isn’t a huge state, it does make a difference, especially in this race. After last night’s upset, Clinton now has 1,682 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,361. And either candidate will need to reach 2,383 delegates to win the nomination outright.
Clinton, however, has a huge lead when it comes to superdelegates. Currently 520 have agreed to support her at the convention, but of course that could change at any time. Sanders, who has only secured 39 superdelegates, still has a good chance of pulling off a brokered convention in July.
It’s also not impossible for Sanders to get the nomination outright, but in order to do that he’ll need to win 65 percent of the remaining contests against Clinton. That will certainly be a challenge, but as both Indiana and West Virginia have swung toward the Vermont senator late in the game, it simply shows Sanders is far from out of the running yet.
Conventional wisdom has it that the latest shift in Clinton’s West Virginia numbers has a lot to do with her recent statement that “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” That’s not a sentiment that goes over well in coal country and it shows just how capable Clinton is of hurting her standing during the last leg of the race. Watch below as she tries (and fails) to walk back that statement.