- Sen. Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada caucuses, Decision Desk HQ projects, with the vast majority of the final vote yet to be reported.
- Sanders has now officially swept the first three contests of the 2020 primary cycle, having tied with Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses and decisively winning the New Hampshire primary.
- Sanders’ three victories give him huge momentum going into the February 29 South Carolina primary and the blockbuster March 3 Super Tuesday contests.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders has won the Nevada caucuses, Decision Desk HQ projects, with the vast majority of the final vote yet to be reported.
Going into Saturday’s caucuses, FiveThirtyEight’s aggregated tracker of Nevada polls showed Sanders with a comfortable lead, polling at 30% on average with the other candidates mostly far behind. Sanders’ team invested significant resources and built up a formidable grassroots presence in Nevada, with volunteers knocking on 500,000 doors in the state ahead of the caucus.
The Nevada caucuses are notoriously difficult and expensive to accurately poll, but Sanders was primed to do particularly well in the state due to his strong support among Nevada’s working-class and Latino/Hispanic populations, both of which make up a higher-than-average share of the Democratic electorate in Nevada than other primary states.
Sanders virtually tied with former Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the chaotic February 3 Iowa caucuses, the official results of which have not yet been finalized due to numerous problems and inconsistencies with reporting the precinct-level results.
A week later, he won a decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary with Buttigieg in second place and Sen. Amy Klobuchar surging to a strong third-place finish.
Sanders’ three victories give him huge momentum going into the February 29 South Carolina primary and the blockbuster March 3 Super Tuesday contests, where 15 states and territories will vote to allocate 35% of all the delegates allotted to throughout the Democratic nomination process.
The Vermont Senator has some unique advantages over his rivals, particularly when it comes to fundraising. Unlike Biden and Buttigieg, who have relied on wealthy donors maxing out donations to their campaigns, Sanders has cultivated a large and reliable network of small-dollar grassroots donors who have allowed him to match or out-raise his opponents in every quarter so far.
In January, Sanders brought in a monster sum of $25 million and spent $26 million, far outpacing his opponents. As Politico and Buzzfeed News recently reported, Sanders and Bloomberg (a billionaire who is self-funding his campaign) could be the only candidates left with a sustainable stream of campaign fundraising to carry them through the costly Super Tuesday and later March primary contests.
Furthermore, Sanders’ strong performance among Latino and Hispanic caucusgoers in Nevada also sets him up for huge gains in important Super Tuesday states with sizeable Latino voting blocs including Colorado, Texas, and California, which collectively hold almost a fifth of all the delegates allocated through the Democratic nomination process.
The next contest of the race will be the South Carolina primary on February 29, where Sanders has been rapidly closing the gap in primary polling with Biden, who currently holds a small two percentage point lead over Sanders in FiveThirtyEight’s tracker of the state’s polls.
For most of the 2020 race, Biden remained a formidable candidate at the top of the race due to his previously insurmountable lead among African-American voters, which Biden’s team bet on to deliver huge victories for his campaign in South Carolina and Southern Super Tuesday states including Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
But after Biden came in a disappointing fourth-place finish in Iowa and fifth-place in New Hampshire, his fundraising has dried up and his polling, especially among black voters, has taken a serious nosedive.
Sanders and Bloomberg, who is not on the ballot in South Carolina but is pouring money into Super Tuesday states, are rapidly gaining on Biden’s support among black voters both in the state and nationwide, seriously threatening Biden’s Southern firewall.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll released on February 21 showed Sanders with 29% support among black voters polling within the margin of error of Biden, who held 31% support.