CNN, NBC News, and others have called it for Clinton. With 66 percent of precincts reporting, she leads Bernie Sanders by about four percentage points.
In some ways, Clinton’s narrow victory in Nevada is similar to her victory in Iowa. It gives her an important narrative boost, and rebuts the idea that 2016 is 2008 all over again. She can plausibly declare that she is the candidate who is the most electable. And she leaves Nevada with one of her campaign’s core arguments intact—that she is the candidate for African-American voters and that those voters will be her firewall going forward.
But there are plenty of reasons to be worried. Clinton underperformed with Latinos, possibly a byproduct of her campaigning as the rightful successor of Barack Obama, who deported more people than any other president in history. That means that one of her campaign’s other core arguments—that she is the candidate for minority voters in general—may be weaker than supposed.
Just as importantly, the enthusiasm gap is real and it’s starting to become a big problem for the Clinton campaign. Even as Clinton collects delegates, she’s not attracting the kind of fervent support, particularly from young voters, that she may need to win a general election dependent on turnout—another strike against her core “electability” argument.
Sanders will almost certainly lose by three or more points, but he will spin that as a kind of victory in and of itself, given that he was trailing by double digits at the end of 2015.