Clinton, Sanders in tight race for Nevada caucus crown

Clinton, Sanders in tight race for Nevada caucus crown
© Getty Images

Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBrazile: DNC staffers got death threats after email hack Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary DNC chair vote: live coverage MORE and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBrazile: DNC staffers got death threats after email hack Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary DNC chair vote: live coverage MORE are in a tight race in Saturday's Nevada caucuses, with Clinton holding 51.9 percent to 48 percent for Sanders, according to The New York Times.

Fox News called the caucus for Clinton just after 5 p.m. with about 60 percent of precincts reporting in most media counts.

But no other news networks have called a winner in the Democratic race yet. Clinton's lead is largely because of support in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located. So far in that county, Clinton leads 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT
Sanders is ahead by more than 10 points in five counties, two where he has margins of 60 or more percentage points, according to the Times. Clinton has more than 10-point leads in three counties.

A win in Nevada for Sanders — or even a close second — would give the Vermont senator more momentum ahead of South Carolina's Feb. 27 Democratic primary. 

Clinton once held a safe lead at the polls, but that has disappeared in the wake of strong showings by Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire.  

According to CNN's entrance poll, 70 percent of caucusgoers say they identify as liberal, while 30 percent say they are moderate or conservative.

The poll also found that 64 percent of caucusgoers are white, 12 percent black and 17 percent Hispanic.

NBC's entrance poll shows 17 percent of those participating are between 17 and 29 years of age, 22 percent between the ages of 30 and 49, and 61 percent are 50 and older.

Women outnumber men by a narrow margin, 52 percent to 48 percent. Clinton has a 56-to-41 lead among women, while Sanders is up 54 to 43 among men.

Clinton's advantage with minority voters was supposed to giver her an edge in Nevada. The former first lady beat Barack ObamaBarack ObamaManchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary DNC chair vote: live coverage Trump to meet with top health insurance execs Monday MORE there in 2008 in a victory engineered by Nevada director Robby Mook, who now serves as her campaign manager.  

But Sanders has wooed Hispanics and African-Americans, and his efforts have paid off.  

Same-day registration for Democrats makes polling accuracy even more challenging, especially in a year where Sanders has the edge among young, potentially first-time voters.  

Democrats hit record turnout in 2008; most predict nearing that high water mark would likely benefit Sanders.  

After South Carolina, 12 states will hold contests on March 1. 

The Super Tuesday contests will go a long way toward determining who will be the party's nominee.  

But Clinton has been buoyed by a massive lead among superdelegates, the party leaders given the freedom to make their own choice for the party's nominee. 

An Associated Press report from Thursday counted 449 superdelegates in her corner compared to 19 for Sanders. So despite trailing Sanders with pledged delegates awarded by the first two states, the AP pegged Clinton at a total delegate lead of 481 to 55 ahead of Nevada.

- Updated at 3:38 p.m.