One week ago, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders pulled off a seemingly impossible victory over frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
He’s now potentially in position to pull off more than one such upset on Tuesday.
But after the shocking Michigan results, where polling had faltered to such a catastrophic degree, Clinton’s Ohio edge has narrowed to within 10 points, while Sanders even managed to pull ahead of Clinton in one Illinois poll.
Michael Burton, a political science professor at Ohio University and a former assistant to the chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, told Business Insider that the Michigan and Ohio electorates are fairly similar. (And the same can be said of Illinois.)
“Michigan was kind of like the 1987 stock market crash,” Burton said. “For all the distinctions that people inside Ohio like to make from Michigan, they don’t look that different.”
Clinton’s prior support of trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, may continue to hurt her along the Rust Belt as Sanders has campaigned increasingly hard on trade issues. In Michigan, where many trade-based and manufacturing jobs were lost since the passing of NAFTA in the 1990s, trade issues clearly played a role in the race.
“If you look at where some of the massive failings [of polling] have taken place, they’ve happened in swing states,” Burton continued, adding that many Ohio voters he’s spoken with are “rejuvenated” on Sanders after his Michigan upset.
The polling within Ohio and Illinois found that “the same thing might be happening” in other parts of the Midwest that happened in Michigan, John Green, the department chair for the political science department at the University of Akron, told Business Insider.
“It’s a much more competitive race than we would’ve thought of ten days ago,” Green said.
He added that, after the Michigan contest, students who were saying they’d vote for Clinton because they wanted to “go with the winner,” now said they’d “vote for Bernie, because it just might matter.”