Bernie Sanders Is Gaining on Hillary Clinton in Her Own Backyard

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

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Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont with a whopping 86 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton, it seems, will have no such luck on her home turf.

Sanders is slowly gaining on Clinton in New York ahead of the April 19 primary. Clinton now leads Sanders by 12 points in New York’s Democratic primary, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday. A poll in February showed Sanders 21 points behind Clinton in New York, and another in March showed him 48 points behind.

Sanders’ growing support in New York is not altogether surprising. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the Vermont senator can also claim ties to the state. More important, the political climate in New York is favorable to Sanders. Areas of western New York resemble demographically the Midwestern states where Sanders has performed relatively well. And there is a blueprint for a progressive challenger in New York. In 2014, a law professor with no name recognition and little money or organization, Zephyr Teachout, won a third of the vote in her primary challenge to the state’s incumbent Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. Unlike Teachout, Sanders has plenty of money, name recognition, and a growing organization in the state.

Still, with Sanders trailing in the delegate count, he’ll need to start racking up meaningful wins—not just close contests—in delegate-rich states like New York in order to catch up to Clinton.

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