2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suffered a major setback Tuesday night with a 14-point loss in the New York primary. The defeat cost him 27 delegates and increased the gap between them to 277 pledged delegates and 769 total delegates. It also blunted the momentum Sanders had built with a strong showing in April contests.
|Delegate Count (2,383 Needed)||Pledged Delegates||Total Delegates|
While there are 1,400 delegates still up for grabs before the convention, Clinton polls well ahead in delegate-rich states, and can clinch the nomination with just 33% of the remaining delegates. This, however, counts the superdelegate vote, which can shift in the case of a major upset.
Here’s a look at the state of the race:
Delegate Targets: Sanders Fighting Uphill
Election forecaster FiveThirtyEight tracks “delegate targets,” or the number of delegates each candidate will need to stay on a plausible path to the nomination given polling in future states. Sanders has seriously missed his target, ceding 8 percent to Clinton over the course of the primary race.
|Candidate||Delegate Count||Delegate Target|
Sander’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver disputed mainstream delegate math on MSNBC as the primary results were coming in, arguing that a “special relationship” with the people of New York was masking real demographic trends which were friendlier to Sanders:
Weaver also alluded to the potential to woo superdelegates, who are not considered in typical delegate math due to their fluidity. Weaver also committed the campaign to pursuing the nomination until the convention regardless of upcoming results.
Upcoming States: Sanders Needs Serious Upsets
After the primary, FiveThirtyEight adjusted its targets to reflect a difficult but plausible path for Sanders. However, this new path requires the Vermont Senator to win by large margins states that the polling suggests will be close wins or losses. Here’s a look at what Sanders needs to do in the biggest remaining states:
|State||Voting Target||RealClearPolitics Polling Margin||Margin vs. Target|
*Limited recent polling
Again, these numbers don’t reflect superdelegates, whose allegiance is not set in stone until the convention. It’s not unheard of for superdelegates to change their minds late in the race; President Obama famously swung hundreds of superdelegates on the way to his 2008 primary victory. If Sanders can accomplish even a few of the momentous upsets described above, it’s not out of the question that unpledged delegates might take another look.