Bernie Sanders Says Surprise Victory in Michigan Will Propel Him to Win the Nation

March 9, 2016 Updated: March 9, 2016
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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says the momentum from a shocking victory in Michigan will propel him to a win over Hillary Clinton.

Sanders won the state with 49.9 percent of the vote, over Clinton’s 48.2 percent. 

Prior to the election on Tuesday night, an average of polls in the state shown by RealClearPolitics had shown Clinton with a 21-point lead over Sanders. Not one poll showed Sanders with a lead.

Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.
—  FiveThirtyEight

“We started this campaign 10 months ago, we were 60 or 70 points down in the polls. But we’ve seen in poll after poll and state after state, we’ve created the kind of momentum that we need to win. This has been a fantastic night in Michigan,” Sanders said, reported The Hill.

But the main contests are still to come. Five states with a combined 691 delegates are set to vote on May 15.

And despite winning Michigan and earning 65 delegates there, Clinton still earned 58 delegates and won Mississippi, the other state voting on March 8. That win earned her 29 delegates, while Sanders only received 4. 

Overall, Clinton has 1,221 combined pledged delegates and superdelegates to Sanders’ 571, according to the Associated Press as of March 9 at 8:09 a.m.

The shocking nature of the Michigan upset, though, indicates that Sanders has a chance for more upsets and that polls showing Clinton with huge leads in Illinois and Ohio—two of the states voting next Tuesday—may not be correct. 

“Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history,” noted FiveThirtyEight.

“If Michigan was just a fluke (which is possible), then tonight will be forgotten soon enough. If, however, pollsters are missing something more fundamental about the electorate, then the Ohio and Illinois primaries could be a lot closer than expected.”

Sanders, the blog added, “can hope that tonight’s Michigan win will help propel him to victory or at least make him more competitive in states with large delegate prizes left, like California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. We’ll see if it does.”