Bernie Sanders on eve of New York primary: Don't underestimate us

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Bernie Sanders: Trump's 'crooked Hillary' name is an 'ugly statement'

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders dismissed the "public polls" that he says underestimate his chance of defeating frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the crucial New York election on Tuesday.

"Lets let's look at the real poll tomorrow. Generally speaking, polling errors underestimated how we're doing in elections," he said on TODAY Monday morning, pointing out that his campaign trailed by as much as 25 points in some polls in Michigan, which he ended up winning.

Sanders also dismissed the notion that he would have little chance to secure the nomination should he lose New York.

SEE ALSO: It's up to you, New York: state takes center stage in US election

"Pundits told me that when we began this campaign there would be no chance that we would go anywhere -- well, here we are," Sanders said. The Vermont senator has won eight of the past nine state elections.

"We have a message that is resonating all over this country. We have enthusiasm, we have energy. People understand it's too late for establishment politics and economics. They want real change in this country."

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Bernie Sanders on eve of New York primary: Don't underestimate us
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Attendees await the start of a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (not pictured) at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Attendees await the start of a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (not pictured) at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
Attendees hold signs in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, at a campaign event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Sanders stepped up his feud with General Electric Co., denouncing the manufacturer as 'greedy' and accusing Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt of not being truthful in responding to the attacks. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Natalia Plaza (L) and Suzanne Tufan, with their faces painted, wait for a campaign rally with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York, New York April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
An attendee wears a t-shirt in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, at a campaign event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Sanders stepped up his feud with General Electric Co., denouncing the manufacturer as 'greedy' and accusing Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt of not being truthful in responding to the attacks. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee holds a sign in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, at a campaign event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Sanders stepped up his feud with General Electric Co., denouncing the manufacturer as 'greedy' and accusing Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt of not being truthful in responding to the attacks. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Rosario Dawson speaks onstage at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (not pictured) at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Film director Spike Lee attends the Bernie Sanders rally in Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic)
MANHATTAN, NY - APRIL 13: U.S. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) campaigns at Washington Square Park in Manhattan, NY, on April 13, 2016. (Photo by Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at his campaign rally in Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters at his campaign rally in Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
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Both Sanders and Clinton have been campaigning in New York ahead of Tuesday's presidential primary, but Sanders took a detour over the weekend to fly to Vatican City to attend a social justice and economic conference. During his visit, he met briefly with Pope Francis, calling the occasion an "honor and a joy."

Sanders said the meeting should not be seen as an endorsement.

On TODAY, Sanders also:

  • Described the nickname Republican candidate Donald Trump has been using for Clinton -- "crooked HIllary" -- an "ugly statement." He said it's the overall campaign finance structure that needs to be criticized and overhauled. "We have a corrupt system. I'm very proud that we're doing it differently."
  • Supported legislation to allow families affected by the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. Sanders said "it's important point we do understand the role that Saudis may have played."
  • Vowed to spend less on nuclear proliferation and more on the nation's health care, education and other domestic problems. He said he would also encourage China and Russia to do the same. "The goal is to move to get rid of nuclear weapons, not to get into an arms race. We have other, more important things to spend our money on."

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