The state's Democratic primary on Tuesday comes nearly eight years to the day after Hillary Clinton notched a razor-thin victory over Barack Obama there during her first presidential bid. But Clinton needed a landslide win to change the contours of the Democratic race, and her Hoosier State squeaker cemented the conventional wisdom that Obama was virtually certain to clinch the party's nod.
Eight years later, it's Clinton whose delegate lead is so overwhelming that she can afford a loss in Indiana, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders needs nothing less than a blowout to have even a prayer of winning the nomination. With 2,165 delegates to Sanders' 1,357, Clinton needs less than 18% of the remaining delegates at stake to secure the 2,383 delegates required to win the nomination.
With 83 pledged delegates at stake in Indiana, Clinton is likely to edge Sanders on Tuesday, one week after besting him in four of five mid-Atlantic primaries. Surveys show Clinton with a modest-but-durable lead over Sanders in Indiana, with the RealClearPoliticspolling average giving her a 50% to 43% edge.
Behind the numbers: A recent CBS News/YouGov survey illuminated the dynamics behind Clinton's lead.
The poll, which found Clinton leading Sanders 49% to 44%, showed Sanders ahead overwhelmingly among voters under 45 (69% to 21% with those younger than 30, 55% to 41% with voters 30-44), and narrowly among whites (48% to 44%) — but losing every other demographic group.
Not only did Clinton lead 49% to 41% among women; she also edged Sanders 49% to 47% with men. Meanwhile, older voters backed her nearly two-to-one, as did black voters. Blacks comprised just 15% of the Democratic primary electorate in 2008, but given the closeness of the race among whites, Sanders may struggle to overcome the in-built advantages of the Clinton coalition.
Indiana Democratic primary 2016: Latest polls and what to expect in Clinton-Sanders race
The junior Democratic Senator from the swing state of Virginia could be a strategic selection for Hillary. Kaine also served as the governor of Virginia from 2006- 2010.
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The current U.S. Senator from Massachusetts is popular among progressive Democrats, and some even tried to draft her to run for president herself in 2016.
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Insiders believe that the senior U.S. Senator from Ohio could help Clinton increase her popularity with working-class voters, a group she has yet to win in a big way so far in primary contests.
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The U.S. Senator from New Jersey is both youthful and charismatic and would add racial diversity to a Clinton ticket.
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The current U.S. Secretary of Labor is considered a sleeper pick by many Democrats because he is not well known outside of D.C., but some believe his strength and popularity among union workers and other progressive groups could be an asset to Clinton's ticket.
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The Independent from Vermont has become Hillary Clinton's primary rival for the Democratic nomination, garnering a surprising amount of support. Bringing Sanders onto the ticket could help to unite both sets of supporters who have been split in Democratic primaries.
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A former 2016 rival of Hillary Clinton, and former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley could help bring some executive experience, along with a slight youthful boost to the ticket.
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The Secretary of Agriculture since 2009, Tom Vilsack also served as the governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007. Vilsack could bring some governing experience along with swing state influence.
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Evan Bayh could bring a more right leaning brand of politics to the ticket. Bayh previously served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011, and also as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.
While the likelihood of him agreeing to take on the veep job again might be low, Biden's popularity among Democrats would likely boost Clinton's chances.
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Hillary's husband is technically allowed to serve in the job, and some legal experts even think he'd be able to take office if necessary. Unfortunately for the diehard Clinton supporters, a Clinton-Clinton ticket will probably be a dream that never comes true.
(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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Sanders the sleeper? If Sanders does pull off an upset, however, it will likely have been powered by his populist economic pitch. The planned shuttering of Carrier's manufacturing plant in Indianapolis — and the disappearance of the plant's 1,400 jobs — have stoked heightened suspicion of free trade and globalization, bugaboos shared by both Sanders and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
Clinton has backtracked on her past support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, but Sanders has repeatedly hammered Clinton over her record on the issue.
The potency of those attacks may be limited, however. Though Sanders scored a shock win in the Michigan primary, he has lost handily elsewhere in the Rust Belt, going down to double-digit defeats in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The final poll closures in Indiana will come at 7 p.m. Eastern.