PADUCAH, Ky. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders capped a weekend campaign swing through Kentucky with a Sunday afternoon rally at the Julian Carroll Convention Center.
Meanwhile, Sanders hoped for a heavy turnout in Oregon, where many voters already have mailed in their votes but others have until Tuesday to cast ballots in designated drop boxes across the state.
Sanders headed into Tuesday’s primary elections in both Kentucky and in Oregon hoping to extend a string of victories the past two Tuesdays in West Virginia and Indiana.
Buoyed by big turnouts at rallies like the 1,900 supporters in Kentucky, Sanders cited new evidence that he is much more likely than Hillary Clinton to defeat Republican Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 general election.
“In virtually every national poll and in statewide polls we do better against Donald Trump than Secretary Clinton. We’re seeing that all over the country,” Sanders told the rally. “Secretary Clinton does very well with Democrats and so do I, but there are a lot of independents in the country and we do very well with independents,” he added.
The polling aggregator RealClearPolitics gives Sanders a 13-point advantage over Trump on average compared to Clinton’s 5-point edge. Clinton edges Trump in eight of 10 recent polls. Her margin averages only 4.6 percent. “Clinton vs Trump is a really tight battle, possibly in Trump’s favor. However, on Bernie Sanders side, he beats Trump in every single poll and by an average margin of 14.1 percent,” polling expert Dustin Woodard told Al Jazeera.
In another example, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday found Trump and Clinton nearly even. That was a significant shift in Trump’s favor in the previous week after it became clear that he is the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Just one week earlier, the same pollster said Clinton led Trump by 13 points.
Kentucky will elect 55 pledged delegates on Tuesday. Oregon Democrats will pick 61 pledged delegates who will go to the Democratic National Convention this July in Philadelphia.
Sanders was upbeat about his prospects in both states if voters turn out in strong numbers.
In Oregon, signed-and-sealed ballots that voters didn’t put in the mail last week still may be hand-delivered to county clerk’s offices or any of the 185 ballot drop boxes available at public libraries and other locations around the state.
“I am one of the most progressive members of the United States Senate and Oregon is one of the most progressive states,” Sanders told KPTV-TV in Portland, Oregon, during an interview on Sunday. “We think we are going to win in Oregon and it will be a very big victory if the voter turnout is high and people bring in their ballots.”