Sanders' Faithful Voters Will Influence Wyoming

The Wyoming Democratic caucuses will be held on Saturday, and Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Sec. Hillary Clinton will compete for 14 pledged delegates in the state — not a huge amount in a big-numbers race, but with Sanders eager to close on Clinton's delegate lead, every one counts. With insufficient polling in the state, it's not possible to get a firm sense of whether the state's voters are Berning up or ready for Hillary. However, there are a number of reasons to suspect one candidate in particular will take the state. Will Bernie Sanders win in Wyoming?

Of course, there's no telling for sure until Saturday's results are in. But for a few reasons, Wyoming looks good for Sanders. First, the state is holding caucuses. Unlike primaries, in which voters show up to polls, cast their ballots in private, and then leave, caucuses involve lots of time: Voters generally gather at a meeting site and cast their votes by physically standing in one part of the room with fellow supporters of whichever candidate. Caucus-goers often engage in campaigning for their picks at the caucus site as well, trying to persuade voters to their side of the room.

Sanders handily swept all 10 state caucuses that took place in March. This type of election has so far attracted large numbers of Sanders supporters, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a repeat in Wyoming.

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Another reason Sanders is likely to win Wyoming is that, thus far, he has fared well in states surrounding it. The mid- and northwestern states may be to Sanders what the southeastern Super Tuesday states were to Clinton. Sanders won by big margins in neighboring Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, and Idaho. A win in Wyoming could signal a stronghold for Sanders in the mid- and northwest, boding well for late-state races in Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Finally, Sanders has the appearance advantage in Wyoming. Both he and former President Bill Clinton, who frequently stumps for his wife, had planned campaign events in Wyoming in March, but bad weather in the state led to canceling. Bill Clinton did go to the state on April 4 to hold a campaign event for Hillary, but the former secretary herself does not have any appearances in the state planned before the caucuses. Sanders was in Wyoming on April 5 to hold a rally in Laramie. His wife, Jane, attended events in Casper and Cheyenne.

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Saturday will likely be a good day for Sanders, adding to his winning streak that began in the second half of March and continued into April with the Wisconsin primary. We'll see if his caucus strength and northwestern edge hold good for him.