Politics

Donald Trump meets with Republican Party leaders as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton fight for the last few primaries ahead of the Democratic convention.

Could Hillary Clinton win Oregon on Tuesday? Here's a closer look at the numbers.

 (Natalie Behring / AFP Getty)
(Natalie Behring / AFP Getty)

Like everyone else in Oregon, pollster John Horvick has watched as Bernie Sanders draws massive crowds by capitalizing on liberal dissatisfaction in this left-leaning state.

“It felt like this is Bernie Sanders country,” he said.

That’s why the latest poll results from his firm, DHM Research, were something of a surprise. Hillary Clinton led 48% to 33% , a gap much larger than the margin of error of 5.6 percentage points.

Oregon's primary is on Tuesday. In an interview in his light-filled loft office in Portland's trendy Pearl District, Horvick offered some potential caveats, but also reasons to think the poll is correct.

First, the reasons for skepticism. Young voters heavily favor Sanders, and they could sway the results if they turn out in droves.

“It’s like a seesaw,” said Horvick. “If we get those proportions wrong, it has a big effect.”

In addition, roughly 65,000 voters have switched their registration from unaffiliated to Democrat since the beginning of the year, according to the Oregon secretary of state's office. They are more likely to lean liberal, and they’re more likely to be Sanders supporters.

Because there can be a lag in data transfer, Horvick is unsure if the poll adequately sampled these voters.

Now, some reasons to believe Clinton could pull off a victory here.

Oregon has a closed primary, meaning only registered Democrats can vote, and Sanders hasn't won a closed primary yet in this campaign. Older voters are much more likely than their younger counterparts to be registered with a party, and they’re more likely to favor Clinton, giving her an edge.

In addition, Horvick’s team calculated a second set of numbers based on a potential turnout where young voters and new voters cast ballots in higher numbers than normal .

Even then, Clinton had a lead that exceeded the margin of error, 45% to 38%.


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