Nevada Democrats may be starting to feel "The Bern."
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Just three days before the Nevada caucuses, a new CNN/ORC poll places Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton in the Silver State. The former secretary of state has 48 percent support vs. 47 percent for Sanders.
After Clinton narrowly defeated Sanders in Iowa, New Hampshire Democrats and Independents propelled the Vermont senator to an overwhelming victory in the Granite State, winning more than 60 percent of the popular vote to Clinton’s 38 percent.
Sanders, who tends to perform better among whites and liberals, received increased support from these groups in Iowa and New Hampshire. Over 90 percent of the electorate is white.
The big question for Saturday and the primaries to come: Is Sanders about to run right into Clinton's “firewall” in Nevada and South Carolina? The states are more politically moderate and diverse for Democrats.
In Nevada, only 65 percent of the electorate is white, and in South Carolina only 43 percent of the electorate is white. In the 2008 Nevada caucuses, 15 percent of Democrats who participated were African Americans and another 15 percent of Democrats who participated were Hispanic. The poll showed roughly an even split among non-whites in Nevada.
Sanders’ rise in Nevada is likely bolstered in part by his success in early contests, his recent focus on systemic racism and criminal justice reform and his enthusiastic support from younger white voters.
The same poll showed Clinton maintaining a double-digit lead in South Carolina, boosted by strong support from non-whites.