The McClatchy/Marist poll of March 31, released on Wednesday, shows Bernie Sanders two points ahead of Hillary Clinton nationally (49-47). This poll, of course, was taken before Sanders' blowout win in Wisconsin. With all the Democratic primaries allocating delegates based on proportional distribution, national popular vote polling has a distinct relevance to future contests.
A pattern is emerging. Sanders has won the last six contests by scoring victories in: Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington State, and Wisconsin. But because the Democratic delegates are allocated proportionately, Bernie picked up only 147 delegates to Hillary’s 107. Sanders now stands 252 behind her in pledged (elected) delegates. She, of course, sweeps super-delegates, but they can change their minds at any time.
Bernie may just keep on winning. And with 1,977 delegates remaining to be chosen, he has a very good chance of passing Hillary among pledged elected delegates.
In New York, the next contest, Sanders trails by only 10 points — 53-43. Even if Bernie cannot close that gap or pass her, it only gives Hillary, at most, a margin of only about 25 of New York's 247 elected delegates.
If Sanders beats Hillary among elected, pledged delegates, winning primary after primary, week after week, can the 500 super-delegates hold in line for Hillary? At the moment, they say they will line up 469-31 in her favor. But when they watch their states, one by one, going for Bernie, will they still be able to maintain discipline and unity?
And when all hell breaks out in Philadelphia's streets as Sanders supporters protest that the party is stealing the nomination from the guy who will have won the popular vote and the elected delegate majority, will the super-delegates hold?
Will they be conscious of not repeating the mistake of 1968 when the nomination of Hubert Humphrey, after he entered no primaries, caused such a split that Richard Nixon was elected?
Already, the McClatchy/Marist poll reports that one in four of Bernie's supporters say they won't vote for Hillary even if she wins the Democratic nomination. And if she steals it the number of defections is sure to soar.
Do not count this race as over by any means.
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