Will Hillary Clinton Win Wyoming? The Equality State Could Go Either Way

Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory in Wisconsin breathed new life into his campaign, and all eyes are now on the New York primary, which will take place April 19. The Empire State’s primary will likely be bitter and hard-fought, but another state is set to vote before then: Wyoming. The least-populous state in the country will holds its Democratic caucus on Saturday, and the lack of attention on the state has a lot of Democrats wondering: Will Hillary Clinton win Wyoming and put an end to Sanders’ winning streak?

It’s hard to say, because there’s been very little polling of Wyoming so far. In fact, I can't find a single poll of the 2016 Democratic race in Wyoming. That said, voting patterns of this primary so far suggest that Sanders, not Clinton, has the best chance to win Wyoming. A couple of factors are working in his favor.

For one, Wyoming is holding a caucus, not a primary, and Bernie does a lot better in caucuses. One theory as to why is that the time-consuming and laborious format favors candidates with die-hard supporters, and Bernie fans are nothing if not die-hard. Whatever the reason, the fact is that Sanders has won 10 out of 13 caucuses but only five out of 22 primaries. That's good cause for him to be optimistic in Wyoming.

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There’s also a demographic reason for Bernie’s chances in the state. Sanders generally does better in heavily white states — think New Hampshire, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Minnesota — than more ethnically diverse ones, and guess what? Wyoming is 92 percent white. Good news for Sanders.

It wouldn’t be a good idea to bet too much money on the outcome in Wyoming, given the complete lack of polling in the state. But whatever the results, they’re unlikely to tip the outcome of the Democratic race.

This is because Wyoming, thanks largely to its small population, is only worth 18 delegates. That’s less than any other state, and more importantly, it’s only a small fraction of the 220-delegate gap that exists between him and Clinton. The one and only way for Sanders to win the nomination is to close that gap, but even a blowout victory in Wyoming wouldn’t get him much closer to that goal. The result in Wyoming, then, is not likely to make or break either of the two Democratic candidates.

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But maybe this is all wrong. It’s possible that the race between Sanders and Clinton really will come down to a difference of a few delegates, and in that case, every single primary and caucus will be crucial.

That’s unlikely, but just about everything that’s happened in the 2016 race would have been considered unlikely a year ago, including Bernie Sanders’ enduring and widespread popularity with Democrats. You really can't take anything for granted this cycle, not even the significance Wyoming Democratic caucus.