As voters head to the ballot box in Indiana Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign says it is bracing for a loss, an attempt at expectations-setting in a state where polls show her with a narrow lead.
A campaign official said that aides wouldn’t be surprised if Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pulls off an upset, pointing to money and demographics. Sanders has spent $1.8 million on advertising in Indiana, according to the ad-tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG. Clinton has spent virtually nothing.
The state is also 86% white, according to the U.S. census, a group where Sanders tends to outperform Clinton. And the open primary allows independents to vote in the Democratic primary, which has helped Sanders in past contests.
Of course, Clinton’s camp is also trying to soften the blow of a close loss in a state where she was polling ahead and expected to win. The expectations management also allows them to make the case that they are focusing their resources on the general election and pivoting away from the primary.
Several top Indiana Democrats predict she will eke out a narrow victory, despite the campaign’s decision not to spend money on advertising here.
In any case, the Clinton campaign is not worried even if Sanders does upset Clinton here. Sanders would have to win by wide margins to cut into Clinton’s delegate lead, and they don’t see that happening.
Sanders, meanwhile, is feeling good going into Tuesday’s voting, his spokesman said. They view the steelworkers union’s recent endorsement as a big deal in this manufacturing state.
Sanders is having breakfast with the head of the union local at the Carrier plant, which has announced it’s sending jobs to Mexico.
Clinton is not campaigning in Indiana on Tuesday.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.