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Sanders Closing in Nationally as Michigan, Mississippi Head to Polls

Clinton's lead shrinks to seven points, the smallest margin yet recorded by ABC News/ Washington Post poll

Democratic challengers Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off in a debate in Flint, Michigan on Sunday ahead of the state's Tuesday primary. (Screenshot via CNN)

Hillary Clinton's national lead over Bernie Sanders shriveled to single digits on Tuesday, denoting a tight race as voters in Michigan and Mississippi headed to the polls for Democratic primaries.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll has Sanders within seven points of the frontrunner, with 42 to 49 percent, marking the smallest margin yet between the pair in this particular poll.

A second poll, conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, on Tuesday showed Clinton ahead by nine, with 53 to Sanders' 44 percent.

The ABC survey, which sampled random adults from March 3-6, found that Sanders "continues to draw strongly from younger adults," with Clinton losing 13 points in that demographic since January. Sanders has also gained 16 points among men since January, while Clinton lost 12 points, marking "the first time in ABC/Post polls that [Sanders'] led among men." The results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points.

The NBC/WSJ survey of 410 Democratic primary voters revealed similar trends, with the Vermont senator leading Clinton among independents (59 percent to 35 percent), self-described liberals (56 percent to 42 percent), and people younger than 50 (60 percent to 38 percent), Politico reports.

In Michigan's open primary, the challengers are vying for 147 Democratic delegates, 85 of which are "district-based" and are thus awarded proportionally based on local results. Mississippi, where Clinton is favored to win, has 36 Democratic delegates.

As Sanders currently holds 459 pledged delegates, compared with Clinton's 663, a good showing in Michigan could tip the scales in his favor, especially after his weekend victories in Maine, Nebraska, and Kansas.

"If we want to change the same old, same old, we have to understand politics is not a football game. ... Politics and democracy mean every single one of us has to be actively involved," Sanders told a crowd in Dearborn, Michigan on Monday. "If there is a large voter turnout, we will win."

The Detroit Free Press has live primary results from Michigan here.

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