2016 Election

How steep is Sanders' 'uphill climb' when it comes to pledged delegates?

Math vs. Momentum: The Bernie Sanders story
Math vs. Momentum: The Bernie Sanders story

    JUST WATCHED

    Math vs. Momentum: The Bernie Sanders story

MUST WATCH

Math vs. Momentum: The Bernie Sanders story 02:11

Story highlights

  • Sen. Sanders still lags behind Hillary Clinton by 294 pledged delegates, even after a big win in West Virginia
  • Sanders claims his campaign could end up with more pledged delegates by the end of the primaries

Washington (CNN)The delegate math isn't on Sen. Bernie Sanders' side. Even after garnering 51.4% of West Virginia's Democratic primary vote, Sanders collected only seven more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton. Clinton still leads Sanders in pledged delegates by 294.

But when it comes to momentum, the Sanders camp says it's on a roll and they won't stop until the Democratic National Convention in July.
    On Wednesday, the Vermont senator urged his supporters the primaries were far from over. "If we do really well in the next eight contests, we can end up with more pledged delegates than Secretary Clinton," he said at a Billings, Montana, rally.
    But is that statement actually true? It depends how you define "really well." CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King crunched the numbers and Sanders would need 67% of the remaining pledged delegates -- not counting superdelegates -- to beat Clinton by one pledged delegate. But that number doesn't get him to the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. Counting superdelegates, Sanders is mathematically blocked from capturing the Democratic nomination on the first ballot in July unless some of the superdelegates switch allegiance from Clinton to Sanders.
    So it's possible for Sanders to win, but if the past primaries of this cycle tell us anything, it's not probable.
    That doesn't even factor in superdelegates. Clinton has 516 superdelegates pledged to her, compared to Sanders' 41, so even if he finished strong, if all the superdelegates stayed with Clinton, those would put her over the 2,383 threshold needed to win the Democratic nomination.