COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders acknowledged Sunday that he failed to turn out as many people in the Nevada caucuses as he hoped he would, a factor the Vermont senator suggested contributed to his loss on Saturday to Hillary Clinton.
About 80,000 people showed up for the state's caucuses, a significant drop-off compared to 2008, the last time there was a competitive Democratic race, according to officials at the Nevada Democratic Party. That year, 117,600 people participated.
“What I've said over and over again, we will do well when young people, when working-class people come out,” Sanders said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” We do not do well when the voter turnout is not large. We did not do as good a job as I had wanted to bring out a large turnout.”
On Saturday, Clinton won the caucuses with nearly 53 percent support to Sanders's 47 percent. She is projected to win 19 delegates to his 15.
Sanders said another factor in his loss was Clinton’s familiarity with the state, where she competed in 2008 against Barack Obama and John Edwards.
“Remember, we were taking on a candidate who ran in 2008,” he told host Chuck Todd. “She knew Nevada a lot better than we did, she had the names of a lot of her supporters. So I am proud of the campaign that we ran. Obviously, I wish we could have done a little bit better. But at the end of the day, I think she gets 19 delegates, we get 15 delegates, we move onto the next state.”
Sanders is in South Carolina on Sunday, campaigning in a state where Clinton holds a large lead in the polls, largely on the strength of her popularity with African American voters.
During a separate interview on CNN's “State of the Union,” Sanders acknowledged his poor performance among black voters in Nevada.
“We did badly with the African American vote, but I think the more the African American community hears our message on a broken criminal justice system, which has more people in jail today than any country on earth, largely African American and Latino, when they hear about the need for an economy that represents all of us, not just the 1 percent, I think you’re going to see us making progress there as well,” he said.
Sanders said he believes he could do well in several Super Tuesday states on March 1.
“I think we have a good shot in Colorado, a good shot in Minnesota, a good shot in Massachusetts,” he said on NBC. “I think we are looking pretty good in Oklahoma. The last poll I saw in my old state of Vermont had us at 80 percent, so I think we've got a shot to win there. And I think we will surprise people in some other states as well.”