Wisconsin Democrats might not be ready for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump can save Republicans and restore sanity to California in 2018 Breitbart News denies readership drop, alt-right label Mellman: The next war MORE, as Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersModerates see vindication in Lipinski’s primary win Sanders: Fox News 'couldn't handle' town hall on economic inequality Mississippi woman appointed to Senate, making Vermont only state to never have female lawmaker MORE (I-Vt.) finished just 8 percentage points behind Clinton in a new Badger State straw poll.

Clinton finished with 49 percent support among those who voted at the state party convention; Sanders finished in second place with 41 percent. Vice President Biden and former Gov. Martin O'Malley (Md.) tied at third with 3 percent. Former Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) followed with under 2 percent, and former Gov. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.) closed out the poll with 1 percent.

The surprise showing is a boost for Sanders, who regularly polls about 40 percentage points behind Clinton in national poll and rarely finishes within striking distance of the former secretary of State. It's the closest he's come to toppling Clinton at the polls, outside of a 9-percentage-point margin in a Gravis Marketing poll of Washington state voters.

National Republican Party leaders have taken to Twitter to tout the results, framing them as trouble for Clinton.

Sanders's vocal support of organized labor could have helped to sway Badger State Democrats, as the issue deeply polarizes the state. Voters attempted to recall Gov. Scott Walker, himself a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, in 2011 over his support of a controversial law that limits the collective-bargaining powers of state employees.

The Vermont senator's campaign touted the results in a blog post on its website, quoting a story from The Nation that calls the finish "unexpected and significant."


--This post was updated at 1:28 p.m.