Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Rural voters, record turnout lead Bernie Sanders to upset of Hillary Clinton in Michigan

Photo: Regina Boone, Detroit Free Press
Rural voters in Michigan carried Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to a surprise win over Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, Perry Bacon reports for NBC News. Despite polls showing Clinton had a huge advantage entering the primary Sanders pulled off a narrow victory, 49.9 percent to 48.2 percent, even though Clinton earned more delegates, 68 to 65 (with 99.4 percent of precincts reporting). "Sanders carried more than 60 percent of the vote in many counties. His performance in Michigan suggests Sanders could win rural counties in Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Missouri next week, a potential path to victory in those states if he does not overwhelmingly lose the black vote."

Sanders carried the 16 percent of Michigan vote that is rural by 57 percent to 43 percent, Todd Spangler and Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press report: "Practically every poll leading up to Tuesday's election showed Clinton with a double-digit lead and a vast institutional edge with African-American voters. But Sanders predicted on Monday that a surge in turnout could deliver him the victory, and it did—more than 2.2 million votes were cast in the Democratic and Republican primaries, well above the record 1.9 million counted in 1972."

One of the biggest reasons for the upset was young voters, with a CNN poll showing that Sanders held an 81 percent to 18 percent edge among voters ages 18 to 24, Spangler and Gray write. Political consultant Darci McConnell told the Free Press, “A lot of people are not recognizing that a lot of the younger generation are part of an activist generation, speaking out about issues like college affordability. And Bernie Sanders is talking about free education. I don’t think she’s out by any stretch, but it should certainly serve as a wake up call for Hillary.”

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