Tuesday is poised to be a big day for the Bernie Sanders campaign, as new polls show him closing the gap with rival Hillary Clinton in key states ahead of the next round of presidential primary contests, in which a total of 691 delegates are at stake.
"I think we’re going to win a lot of states on Tuesday."
The latter poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, shows that "Ohio is a real contest on both sides," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the survey. Noting that Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich "are in a dead heat for the Buckeye State's GOP delegates," Brown said: "Almost as close is the Democratic race where Sen. Bernie Sanders has closed [a] 9-point deficit to the smallest of margins. Sanders has the momentum, but the question is whether he can win as he did in Michigan or just come close as in Iowa."
As Politico reported, Sanders' "economic message—particularly his criticism of trade deals—is getting traction" in Ohio, "as evidenced by his recent endorsement by Rep. Marcy Kaptur."
Separate polls by Public Policy Polling, also published (pdf) Monday, give Clinton slim leads overall in Illinois and Ohio, and Sanders a slight edge in Missouri. However, "Republicans and Independents in all three states overwhelmingly support Sanders," as CBS-St. Louis pointed out. And all three states have open primaries, which means non-registered Democrats can vote in that party's primary.
According to The Hill's analysis, "[a] loss in Ohio in particular will raise new questions about whether Clinton can hold the White House for Democrats in the fall, given that state’s importance in the general election."
Clinton, meanwhile, still holds commanding leads in both Florida and North Carolina. But, as several observers have pointed out, Clinton was far ahead in Michigan, too—where Sanders pulled a stunning upset last week.
As journalist and author Seth Abramson argued Sunday at the Huffington Post:
Here's what we know: down by 37 in Illinois just five days ago, Sanders is now up by two according to CBS News; down by 30 in Ohio five days ago, Sanders is now down by only single digits; the only polling in Missouri has Sanders in a statistical dead heat with Clinton, per the poll's margin of error; and while the polling in Florida at first blush seems less favorable—Sanders has "only" cut 17 points off Clinton's 45-point lead in the last 48 hours, according to CBS News -- the Sanders campaign reports its internal polling shows a race in the high single-digits, and given that this internal data turned out to be correct in Michigan, it seems we should all be paying it some mind.
Indeed, Vox wrote on Monday: "Clinton, detecting danger, has already changed course in her campaign strategy, speaking more directly to people who are struggling economically. But polling is too scarce to measure the effect of the past few days of campaigning, and after polls failed to predict Sanders’s margin of victory in Michigan, it is wise to cast a wary eye on their predictions in similar states."
The deciding factor, as Sanders himself told an audience in St. Louis on Sunday, will be generating a "yuuuge" turnout.
"I think we’re going to win a lot of states on Tuesday," he said before a crowd of more than 2,000 at Affton High School and an overflow room nearby. "When the voter turnout is high, when working people and young people and older people come out and are determined to end establishment politics and establishment economics...we win."
After drawing sizeable crowds across Florida last week and Ohio over the weekend, Sanders will spend this election eve in Chicago, "stumping in the city a few hours after Hillary Clinton," wrote Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet, and "trying to do what was once seen as impossible: Beating her in home-state Illinois."
Earlier on Monday, airplanes flew across the Chicago skyline towing banners linking Clinton with unpopular Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, both of whom are accused of covering up the 2014 police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
On Saturday, Sanders took to Twitter to "thank" Emanuel for not backing him: "I don't want the endorsement of a mayor shutting down schools and firing teachers," he said.