How moderate dropouts could affect primary race

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Bernie Sanders is aiming to extend his delegate lead on Super Tuesday, but Joe Biden’s campaign has found new life following a decisive victory in South Carolina and moderate candidates dropping out and endorsing him.

The consolidation of moderate support from Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been important in giving Biden’s bid a chance at competing with Sanders’ enthusiastic, progressive group of voters.

“This is pretty much a wide open race at this point,” said David Canon, a political science professor at UW-Madison. He said while the Biden campaign is hoping Buttigieg and Klobuchar voters move their support to him, that may not always be the case.

“It doesn’t always shake out the way you think it might in terms of ideology,” Canon told CBS 58. “That’s some uncertainty here in terms of how the polling we’ve had so far that has included all the candidates now might change given we have a smaller field.”

Overall, it may come down to voter turnout and enthusiasm to determine if Biden or Sanders can build a commanding lead.

“Turnout is always key in these primaries,” Canon said. “If the Bernie base is more energized than the Biden voters then maybe they can overcome that difference in just the number of people supporting the candidates.”

As for Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren, they are also in a critical moment in their campaigns.

Bloomberg’s entire strategy is based on a successful Super Tuesday result and a weak Joe Biden candidacy. Warren faces a must-win situation in her home state of Massachusetts if she hopes to make the case that she is able to continue to compete.

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