Hillary Clinton was formally declared the winner of the Nevada caucuses on Monday afternoon after the last reporting from all of the state's 1,714 precincts trickled in. The result, which established a 53-47 victory for Clinton over Bernie Sanders, steers the former secretary of state's campaign back on track toward her party's nomination after a confidence-shattering defeat in New Hampshire.
In Nevada, Clinton fared particularly well among demographics where she has already established a firm base, including older women and a majority of black voters — a positive sign for the candidate as she prepares to spar with Sanders this weekend in South Carolina. Black voters make up roughly 13 percent of Nevada's electorate, and Clinton won by 76-22 percent in this group, according to CNN entrance polls taken as Nevadans arrived at caucus sites.
Clinton goes into the next battle with 20 delegates from the Nevada, compared to 15 for Sanders. Clinton has now taken national pledged delegate lead of 52-51 over Sanders. The candidates need 2,383 delegates to win the nomination. Including superdelegates, who can choose whichever candidate they want regardless of the primary or caucus results, Clinton holds a 502-70 lead over Sanders, according to the Associated Press.
But the former Secretary of State is still struggling to appeal to women younger than 45, 7 in 10 of whom supported Sanders on Saturday, according to Associated Press entrance polls. Those surveys also showed that the mass youth support for Sanders seen in Iowa and New Hampshire continued in Nevada, with 7 in 10 attendees under 45 voting for the senator. Shortly after Sanders delivered his concession speech, his campaign sent an email to reporters claiming that the senator had also won the Latino vote by some 8 points.
"What we learned today is Hillary Clinton's firewall with Latino voters is a myth," Arturo Carmona, deputy political director for Bernie 2016, said in the email statement.
But the New York Times noted that the randomness of precincts sampled in entrance polls mean that the results and presumptions from them are notoriously unreliable, and are not designed to be an accurate gauge of the Latino vote. Meanwhile, actual election results from Clark County in Las Vegas, where the Latino vote is concentrated, showed Clinton won around 60 percent of delegates, suggesting Clinton may have even come out on top among Latino voters.
Still, the Sanders campaign maintained it had secured a partial victory despite the overall loss, considering the senator had at one time trailed Clinton by as many as 40 points in Nevada, but in the end pulled off a loss of just 6 points.
In recent weeks, Clinton has dialed up efforts to establish herself as President Barack Obama's natural successor and highlighted Sanders's criticism of the administration. The tactic appeared to have worked in Nevada, where half of caucus-goers surveyed said they would like the next president to continue Obama's policies. Among them, most stated support for Clinton, according to an AP survey.
By staking a claim to the president's legacy, Clinton is hoping to capitalize on the unprecedented turnout of African-American voters in South Carolina, who were energized by the country's first black president in 2008. African-Americans account for more than 27 percent of South Carolina residents. Clinton is currently leading Sanders by as many as 29 points there according to recent polls, which is perhaps why the senator omitted to mention the state in his concession speech on Saturday afternoon.
Instead, Sanders remained positive and looked toward the contests in 11 states on Super Tuesday, saying he believes the campaign has a good chance of winning many of those states. Yet, if the senator does not fare well in the first-in-the South primary this weekend, it will not bode well for his chances in a number of other states polling on March 1, including Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas, which also have significant African-American electorates.
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