Bernie Sanders Is in Trouble Heading Into Tuesday's Primaries

There's a chance the polls are off, like they were in 2016, but Bernie is facing a real chance of losing all six states voting Tuesday.
March 10, 2020, 3:27pm
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hosts a coronavirus public health roundtable with healthcare professionals as he continues his campaign swing through the Midwest on March 09, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.

WASHINGTON — It looks like Bernie Sanders is about to have another not-so-super Tuesday — a result that could put his campaign on ice.

Sanders trails former Vice President Joe Biden across the map heading into Tuesday’s primaries, according to recent polls, and faces the real risk of losing all six states that will vote on Tuesday. That would be devastating for Sanders, who faces an even tougher slate of states next week and needs to show he can win big delegate hauls in the Midwest if he’s going to be able to come back against Biden.

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That includes Michigan, a state that delivered Sanders a major upset victory in 2016 that helped prolong his campaign. Sanders has gone all-in to reset his campaign there, but polls indicate it isn’t working. A half-dozen different surveys of Michigan voters released in recent days find Biden in the lead by double-digit margins, with an average Biden lead of more than 22 points.

There’s a chance these polls are off — Sanders was down by a wide margin in pre-primary Michigan polls last time around, only to win the state. Sanders better hope so, as he’s betting big on a win there to reverse his fortunes.

READ: Here are the 5 biggest policy differences between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden

But polls elsewhere in the country don’t look any better for Sanders.

In Missouri, another big state that’s set to vote on Tuesday, Biden had a 30-point lead in a survey from Data for Progress, a new polling outfit whose numbers have been among the more accurate results of this primary cycle. Sanders came within a point of winning Missouri last time around. Two other recent polls have similarly large Biden leads.

Sanders’ only relative bright spot heading into Tuesday’s primaries is in Washington, where he has been within a few points of Biden in a handful of recent polls. But Sanders won that state’s caucuses by nearly a three-to-one margin over Clinton four years ago. And while its switch to a primary likely hurts him, he’ll need to do much better to stay in the race.

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Sanders likely needs to win Michigan and Washington and keep things close in Missouri if he has any hope of catching up to Biden, now the clear leader in the delegate count after his blowout wins on Super Tuesday. He’s expected to be blown out in Mississippi. The other two states that vote on Tuesday, Idaho and North Dakota, don’t have many delegates. Biden and Sanders were in a tight race in Idaho, according to the one poll that’s been released there, while North Dakota hasn’t seen any reputable polling.

Nationally, Sanders has fallen behind Biden by double-digit margins in every recent quality poll.

Right now, it looks like Sanders’ flagging campaign might face another rude awakening that could put him even further behind Biden in the delegate race — and all but end his chances at the nomination.

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hosts a coronavirus public health roundtable with healthcare professionals as he continues his campaign swing through the Midwest on March 09, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)