Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton smile as they take the stage before a Democratic debate, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee, Wis.
Photo by Tom Lynn/AP

New polls point to close contests between Clinton, Sanders

Republican presidential polling tends to get more attention because of the uncertainty surrounding the GOP race, but tomorrow is also an incredibly important day in the Democratic race. Five big states: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri will hold nominating contests, with a total of 792 delegates at stake.
Because the delegates will be awarded proportionately, neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders will be able to wrap up the nomination tomorrow, but these five contests will move the process forward in a big way.
As for what to expect, there’s plenty of new polling offering hints about what’s to come. Let’s go state by state:
Florida (246 delegates)
NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll: Clinton 61%, Sanders 34%
Florida Atlantic University poll: Clinton 59%, Sanders 31%
Quinnipiac poll: Clinton 60%, Sanders 34%
PPP poll: Clinton 57%, Sanders 32%
Ohio (159 delegates)
NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll: Clinton 58%, Sanders 38%
Quinnipiac poll: Clinton 51%, Sanders 46%
PPP poll: Clinton 46%, Sanders 41%

[Update: A Monmouth University poll was released this afternoon, and it found Clinton leading Sander in Ohio, 54% to 40%.]

Illinois (182 delegates)
NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll: Clinton 51%, Sanders 45%
PPP poll: Clinton 48%, Sanders 45%
North Carolina (121 delegates)
PPP poll: Clinton 56%, Sanders 37%
SurveyUSA poll: Clinton 58%, Sanders 34%
Missouri (84 delegates)
PPP poll: Sanders 47%, Clinton 46%
Fort Hays State University poll: Clinton 47%, Sanders 40%
Clearly, there are some key opportunities for Sanders to win tomorrow, most notably in the Midwestern states, which would follow the Vermont senator’s upset victory in Michigan last week.
But the delegate math remains unforgiving. Primary and caucus victories are welcome news for the Sanders campaign, of course, but to be in a position to actually win the nomination, he’ll need a series of wins in big states by large margins, and tomorrow, that will be a tall order.