Despite big lead, Sanders predicts close race in New Hampshire
RINDGE, New Hampshire — Bernie Sanders has a 2-to-1 edge in the latest CNN/WMUR New Hampshire tracking poll, but the Vermont senator believes Tuesday’s primary will be a close one.
“We think it’s gonna be a close election, we’re working really hard,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Saturday at Franklin Pierce University here.
It’s a sentiment Sanders has echoed for the past five days in the Granite State.
“Don’t make me nervous, and don’t jinx me,” he added.
Both Democratic campaigns have tried to manage expectations for the primary. Hillary Clinton has pushed the narrative that Sanders hails from Vermont and thus has an edge with his New England neighbors. In turn, Sanders reminded voters that Clinton won the state in the 2008 primary when she ran against then-Sen. Barack Obama.
The Sanders campaign has said it’s insulting to New Hampshire voters to suggest that they would only support him because he’s from the New England area.
“Well, in this sense it is. Look, I mean, obviously, Vermont and New Hampshire are separated by a river, we are close states,” he told Tapper. “But you know what? Secretary Clinton won this state in 2008. Her husband ran several campaigns in this state. When we began this campaign here in New Hampshire, we were 30 points down in the polls and she was much better known in this state than I was.”
Earlier in the week, Sanders used the same line, telling reporters on Tuesday that Clinton “has very significant political connections.”
“She has the support of virtually the entire political establishment here in New Hampshire,” he added.
For her part, Clinton is still trying to win over every last vote. At a diner in Manchester on Saturday, she made her case to patrons by repeating, “I need you.”
CNN’s Eugene Scott contributed to this report.