Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders opened up his first lead among Democratic voters — 47 to 44 over Hillary Clinton, according to a Fox News poll released earlier this week. But even if the 74-year-old democratic socialist keeps that pace through the remaining primaries and caucuses, he likely will not have secured enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination at July’s convention.
That’s because Clinton has a huge advantage with unpledged delegates, or so-called superdelegates. According to a recent analysis conducted by the Associated Press, of the 712 Democratic party leaders and elected officials, 445 have pledged their support to Clinton. Only 23 have said they plan to support Sanders. (RELATED: Poll: Clinton Falls Behind Sanders For First Time Nationally)
That means that Sanders will have to outdo Clinton by eight percentage points at the polls — 54 percent to 46 percent in the remaining contests, according to an analysis by The Cook Political Report.
The Democratic nominee will have to win 2,382 of the party’s 4,763 delegates to secure the nomination. Fifteen percent of that total — or 712 delegates — are superdelegates.
That superdelegate support constitutes 19 percent of the total delegates Clinton needs to win the nomination. Sanders has just under one percent of the needed total.
Democrats’ delegate allocation system came under fire after last week’s New Hampshire primary. Sanders won 60 percent of the popular vote in that contest — Clinton carried 38 percent of the vote. That rout earned Sanders 15 pledged delegates — those apportioned based on raw vote totals. Clinton was awarded nine pledge delegates. But she also picked up six of the state’s eight superdelegates, meaning that she effectively tied Sanders, assuming that none of the superdelegates switch to Sanders.
And those delegates show no plans of doing so.
Last week, Joanne Dowdell, a lobbyist and former congressional candidate who is a superdelegate in New Hampshire, told The Daily Caller that she had no plans to switch from Clinton to Sanders. She said it was “premature” to consider making a change.None of the other five superdelegates — a list which includes Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. [crscore]Jeanne Shaheen[/crscore] — responded when asked if they planned to switch their support given that New Hampshire voters sided so clearly with Sanders. (RELATED: Will Hillary’s Democratic Establishment Superdelegates Back Bernie Now?)
Sanders currently leads Clinton among pledged delegates, 36 to 32. But according to Cook’s analysis, he would have needed to win 43 of the 68 delegates to be on track for the nomination.
Cook also estimates that Clinton needs to win 16 delegates in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses to keep pace for the nomination. Sanders needs 19. Clinton holds a slight lead over Sanders in polls there.
In South Carolina, which holds its primary next week, Clinton will need to carry 28 delegates. Sanders needs 25.