Even if Bernie Sanders scores yet another big win in Wisconsin on top of his recent western sweep, the Clinton camp is counting heavily on roaring back into the lead when the contest heads to the northeast. This is particularly true out here in New York, where Clinton has been expected to dominate on her “home turf.” (That always needs to be in scare quotes since Clinton is no more of a New Yorker than Haley Barbour, even after carpetbagging her way into a Senate seat.) But could Bernie tip over the apple cart on her? There are a couple of weeks to go, but some of the early signs have to be putting her on edge. (NY Post)

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a surprisingly competitive battle for New York, with a poll on Thursday showing that the Vermont senator has closed to within 12 points of the former first lady — who only recently led by 48 in her adopted home state.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows Clinton leading 54 to 42 percent heading into the New York primary on April 19, when 291 delegates are at stake.

That’s a dramatic shift from two polls earlier in March — an Emerson College survey that showed Clinton crushing Sanders 71-23 and a Siena College poll with her ahead 55-34.

Clinton is running very strongly with women and African-American voters, but white voters are split — 48 percent for Clinton, 47 percent for Sanders.

If this were a true battle of “New Yorker vs. Outsider” then Clinton should be running away with this thing by a much wider margin than simply 12 points. Further, she was holding on to a significantly larger lead only a month ago, so the movement in the closing weeks is definitely showing some momentum for Bernie if the trend holds. The real challenge for Bernie is to see if he can crack into Hillary’s dominance among minority voters in the five boroughs. He’ll do well with whites, particularly on his home turf of Brooklyn, but he needs to expand his tent significant to overcome that huge slug of built-in Clinton support.

Yet again, there are some signs that Hillary’s grip on black and Hispanic voters may be slipping as well. (HuffPo)

Between February 27th and March 26th, Clinton’s lead among Southerners — the group whose primary votes (and thus delegates) comprise the entirety of her 228-delegate lead over Bernie Sanders — decreased from 15 points to just 6. Given the percentage of Southern Democrats who are African-American, even without cross-tabs available there is reason to believe Clinton’s declining numbers among nonwhite voters are partially responsible for this decline. Certainly, it was the strength of Clinton’s support among this polling demographic that assured Clinton of massive delegate hauls in nearly every Southern state: according to CNN exit polling, on March 1st black voters in Mississippi favored Clinton by 77 points, in Georgia by 71 points, in Virginia by 68 points, in Texas by 68 points, in Tennessee by 79 points, in Arkansas by 66 points, and in Alabama by a whopping 85 points.

Even if we leave the demographic pigeonhole questions out of it, Hillary has a bit of history in New York and not all of it draws applause. The RNC drew up a summary of some of her not-so-greatest hits this week and if Sanders is smart he’ll be hitting these issues in the coming days. When the Secretary first ran for Senate here she boasted that she would help bring 200K jobs to the crippled upstate regions. The actual result was that the area lost more than 26K jobs during her first term. (And this was before the collapse of 2007 so she can’t blame it on that either.)

She also took credit for bringing new business to upstate, particularly bragging about a deal to move Tata Consultancy (an Indian tech giant) to Buffalo. But no sooner did they arrive than they began outsourcing all of the positions they acquired to workers back home in India. Considering that Clinton is running against a guy who brings up her terrible trade agreements and the loss of American jobs overseas on a daily basis, this should be prime material for Sanders to hit her on.

Will he do it? Sanders has been reluctant to pull the trigger on very many direct attacks on Clinton thus far. If he can’t find the fire in his belly to nail her on easily documented failures then he doesn’t truly want or deserve the nomination. But if he plays his cards right, he could deliver yet another blow to her hopes for a clean victory in Philadelphia.

SandersVictory