March 30, 2016

Team Clinton Desperately Trying To Lower Expectations In Wisconsin

A week out from Wisconsin’s primary, Secretary Clinton has moved her campaign to New York, the state she represented in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2009, and currently has no scheduled events back in the Badger State prior to the primary there on Tuesday.

Public polls show Wisconsin to be a competitive contest. A Marquette University poll from last month showed Sanders and Clinton roughly tied at 44-43 respectively, while an Emerson poll showed Clinton up 6, 44-50.

But by “getting out of dodge,” as Mark Halperin put it on “With All Due Respect,” Clinton is sending a signal that she doesn’t think she can win Wisconsin. Her campaign never sent husband Bill, who won the state both in 1992 and 1996, to campaign there, nor have they announced any future events before the April 5 primary.

Instead, Clinton is heading to New York, her own personal Helm’s Deep, where she will attempt to hold off Sanders in her so-called “home state.” But by skipping Wisconsin, Clinton potentially cedes momentum to Sanders heading into the Empire State:

Mrs. Clinton needs to win — and win significantly — in New York to put to rest any suspicion of weakness in her candidacy after several losses to Senator Bernie Sanders in recent caucuses. She maintains a significant lead in the delegates needed to capture the nomination, but should she lose the Wisconsin primary on April 5, Mr. Sanders would have fresh momentum as they both turn their focus to New York.

The Clinton campaign is so cautious and risk-averse that pulling out of Wisconsin is no accident. Their internal polling must show the primary there looking like a lost cause.

UPDATE: A new Marquette University poll released Wednesday shows Clinton trailing Sanders 49-45. Perhaps this explains Clinton’s decision to abandon all hope in Wisconsin?