Bernie Sanders won a surprise victory in the Michigan Democrat primary Tuesday, pulling two points clear of rival Hillary Clinton in a late-night nail-biter of a count.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting as of midnight, Sanders had captured 50 percent of the vote compared with 48.1 percent for Clinton.
Sanders upended public opinion polls and conventional wisdom in Michigan, where he packed college arenas and other venues in the past week while touting his message of change and promise of "political revolution."
Five Thirty Eight had tracked a 20-point polling lead for Hillary Clinton, assigning her a 99% chance of winning the state according to their electoral prediction model. The media, including them, is shocked by the result, writes Harry Enten.
The question I am asking myself now is whether this means the polls are off in other Midwest states that are holding open primaries. I'm talking specifically about Illinois and Ohio, both of which vote next Tuesday. The FiveThirtyEight polling average in Illinois gives Clinton a 37 percentage point lead, while the average in Ohio gives her a 20 percentage point lead. 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.
Either way, this result will send a shock wave through the press.
Clinton so heavily trounced Sanders in the evening's other major race, Mississipi, that she heads into Wednesday with more new delegates than Sanders. But with no more big Southern states left, the disaster up north is a big problem for Clinton's media-fed aura of inevitability.
CNN exit polls showed that Sanders outperformed Clinton among voters who are "very worried" about the U.S. economy, 56% to 40%. Among voters who believe international trade takes away American jobs, Sanders also led Clinton, 56% to 43% — a sign that Sanders' populist economic message resonated in Michigan.
In another troubling sign for the Clinton campaign, among voters who said their most important priority in a presidential candidate is that they are honest and trustworthy, Sanders overwhelmingly outperformed Clinton, 80% to 19%.
He apparently did unexpectedly well among black voters, too. Clinton's 1990s-era racially-tinged "superpredators" quote is still pinballing around—maybe the ground is shifting underfoot.