Former Vice President Joe Biden has won the state of Missouri — another victory for a candidate who came into Tuesday looking like a prohibitive favorite.
Though the 2016 race here was close — with Hillary Clinton beating Bernie Sanders by a scant 0.2 percentage points — Biden came into the night a favorite in the state. Two polls conducted in the past week, from Data for Progress and Remington Research Group, showed him up by (respectively) 30 and 22 points. FiveThirtyEight had his odds of winning the state at 92 percent.
The state’s demographics help explain why Biden was such a heavy favorite. Missouri has a significant African American population, one of Biden’s strongest groups. There’s also a significant bloc of non-college-educated whites, many of whom supported Sanders against Clinton in 2016 but have turned to Biden in 2020. It seems that those two strengths, put together, have propelled Biden to another victory.
That being said, the result in Missouri wasn’t entirely obvious coming in. A third recent poll, conducted March 4-5 by the high-quality Emerson College outfit, had him up by merely 4 points — so Biden’s victory is a tiny bit more satisfying for his camp than it might seem.
The eventual size of Biden’s win will matter. Missouri has 62 pledged delegates, a decent-sized haul by national standards; the proportional delegate margin is thus vital. So while Missouri may be in Biden’s camp, the exact importance of the victory remains to be seen.