The results of an up-to-the-minute national poll may alarm the Hillary Clinton campaign on the eve of the New York primary as she continues to fight off an unexpectedly strong challenge from dark horse candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted among likely Democratic primary voters shows Sanders within 2 percentage points of Clinton in the national race, closing in from the 60 point deficit when he declared his candidacy last summer.

His 48-50 percent showing puts him within striking distance for the Democrat nomination when the party meets in convention in Philadelphia in late July, representing a narrowing of Clinton’s 9 point lead last month.

Sanders’s surprise run stunned Clinton, the former Secretary of State in the Obama administration and once-presumptive heir for what is thought will be a third term of the liberal president.

Instead, the long-time Vermont senator, who was relatively unknown outside his tiny New England state, has drawn enthusiastic support particularly from young voters, and leads Clinton by 66 to 34 percent among that demographic.

Clinton, hoping to become the nation’s first woman president, had counted on overwhelming support from female voters and, although she holds a 15 point lead, that is a 5 point drop in the past several months.

Sanders leads among men by 17 points (58 percent to 41 percent).

Similarly, the minority support Clinton expected to inherit from Obama has dropped from a 30-point lead in previous NBC/WSJ polls to less than 20 in current poll, while Sanders leads among whites 53 to 44 percent.

Clinton, who has been a highly visible figure in national politics since her husband, Bill Clinton, became president in 1992, endured the glare of publicity surrounding his affair with a White House intern, and then settling for a post in Obama’s administration after he came out of relative obscurity to win the Democrat nomination in 2008.

Pundits have speculated that Sanders’s challenge must be a “déjà vu” moment for Clinton.

The NBC/WSJ poll has a plus-minus 5.3 percentage points.


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