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It didn’t take long for the mocking of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ expectations to begin.
“Tad Devine on March 16: ‘Now we just have to win some major showdowns like in New York,'” Zac Petkanas, the Hillary Clinton campaign’s rapid-response director, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
That was before it became clear by just how large a margin Clinton would end up winning in New York.
Indeed, the Sanders campaign’s expectations may have backfired, as the final results showed a massive victory for Clinton, who reasserted herself as the Democratic frontrunner.
The former senator carried her adopted home state by a near-identical margin to her massive 2008 primary victory over then Sen. Barack Obama. She beat Sanders by 16 points in the Empire State.
Boasting one of the most diverse electorates of the Democratic primary season, Clinton was long expected to perform well in New York.
Still, exit polls showed that her overwhelming victory over Sanders reflected broad support within the Democratic-primary electorate. Some Sanders supporters questioned her strength following Clinton’s string of primary losses in late March and early April.
Minority voters helped buoy Clinton’s victory. She won among Latino voters, capturing 63% to Sanders’ 39% of support. And while her backing among white voters was lower than in 2008, her largest gains from her matchup against Obama were among black voters. While she lost by a significant margin among black voters in 2008, Clinton picked up 75% of black voters in New York on Tuesday.
Exit polls showed that Sanders slightly won among male voters, while Clinton easily carried female voters, who represented almost 60% of survey respondents.
While Sanders’ appeal brought thousands of people out to star-studded rallies and concerts in Manhattan and Brooklyn, it wasn’t enough to help overcome Clinton’s support among older Democratic-primary voters. Clinton easily carried voters over 30 by wide margins. Among voters 45 to 64, who represented 40% of survey respondents, Clinton beat Sanders by 20 points.
Her victory also wasn’t confined to wealthy or poor voters. According to exit polls, she prevailed in every income bracket.
Clinton’s victory was less geographically diverse. The former secretary of state’s widest margins of support were concentrated in New York City and the surrounding suburban counties. Though Sanders carried the majority of the remaining districts upstate, Clinton won all of the boroughs and more densely-populated suburban enclaves like Suffolk and Westchester counties by large margins.
The results also broke along ideological lines.
Sanders won big among voters who identified as independents or very liberal. He also carried the support of voters most concerned with income inequality and the state of the economy. Clinton performed best among respondents who want a continuation of Obama’s policies.
Though Sanders’ campaign has maintained publicly that it will fight all the way to the convention, the massive loss in New York blunted its sense of momentum.
Following last Thursday’s Democratic debate, Tad Devine, the senior Sanders campaign strategist, predicted that Sanders would surpass expectations in the New York primary.
But later on Tuesday night, he appeared to telegraph that the campaign was seriously grappling with the difficult road forward to the nomination.