(CNN) - Two prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton suggested Thursday the New York senator needs to best rival Barack Obama in the total popular vote to have any chance at winning her party's presidential nomination.
In separate media interviews, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha both indicated they believed Clinton will be unable to convince enough superdelegates to support her if she finishes second to Obama in both the pledged delegate count and the popular vote.
Speaking on CNBC, Corzine suggested it won't be enough for Clinton to argue she deserves the nomination because she has won more crucial swing states than Obama - a talking point the senator's campaign has long argued.
"I think it would be a very hard argument to make," Corzine said of that position. "I'm a very aggressive supporter of Senator Clinton, but I think you need at least a popular vote."
Corzine also suggested he himself may cast his superdelegate vote for Obama should Clinton fail to win the popular vote, though the New Jersey governor insisted he thought Clinton would come out on top in that count if the Florida and Michigan contests were counted.
Murtha echoed Corzine's sentiments in an interview later Thursday, saying, "Clinton has to win Pennsylvania…She has to be ahead in the popular vote to have any chance at all of getting this nomination."
Clinton is heavily favored to win in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, though recent polls suggest Obama may be narrowing the gap there.
Most estimates currently have Obama leading Clinton by approximately 700,000 votes in the popular vote. If the results of Michigan and Florida — the two states that were penalized for moving up its primary — are factored in, the gap is approximately half that.
Re-vote efforts in both states failed last month and it appears highly unlikely the results of either of the earlier contests will stand, meaning Clinton will need to achieve decisive wins in several of the 10 remaining primary contest to have a chance at overtaking Obama in the popular vote count.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney