Tag Archives: kasich

Once more unto the Super-Tuesday breach…

S3

Well, last Tuesday we had New York with 291 delegates on the Democratic side, and today five Northeastern states are up at once with a combined 462 more. This looks like one of those rare times that the preferences of the East Coast will have a major effect on choices the nation makes-28% of all the delegates left in the rest of the race will be chosen by this time tomorrow. Here’s where things stand:

Democrats

First off, hoo-boy was I wrong! I said last week that I thought there were signs that Bernie Sanders was going to do better in New York than the polling seemed to indicate. In fact, he got shellacked in New York 58%-42%, a proportion pretty much matching what the polling averages were indicating.

Looking back, I would say that, whatever traces I thought I was sniffing, I should have been a good data-head and really crunched the numbers, because I was badly under-estimating the effect of New York being a closed primary. It’s been observed that Sanders has drawn a lot of his support from voters who register Independent, who can participate in states that have open primaries, but can’t in states with closed primaries. Indeed, if you crunch the numbers on averages of non-Southern open primaries vs. closed primaries, you find the following:

OVC

Sanders wins a narrow majority of total votes in open primaries, but has lost the closed primaries 47-53. All five of today’s states have closed or semi-closed primaries, which means Sanders will not be picking up cross-over voters. Thus, you can probably take the polls that show him facing double-digit losses in Maryland & Pennsylvania at face value. His best bets for the night look like Connecticut and Rhode Island, where he’s narrowly behind:

Conn

RI

If he ends up 0-5 on a night when 28% of the remaining delegates are up, that’s not going to silence the voices calling for him to admit the game is up. Narrowly winning 2 of the smaller states, both from his native New England, won’t either. He’ll certainly have the money and the enthusiastic base of supporters to stay in until the end. There’s even an open primary coming up next week, Indiana, and he remains within striking distance in polling of the largest state of all, California. And a decent argument can be made that he should stay in for the good of his movement, and democracy in general. But in terms of realistic chances, the New York blowout made his already up-hill shot even steeper, and tonight is liable to make it steeper still.

Republicans

In a certain sense, the Republican side is much clearer, and in a certain sense, it’s murky as %$#@. After a very strong New York last week, Trump is showing solid leads in all five states tonight, and the Republican delegate rules are liable to expand his haul even further.

But behind the scenes, Cruz continues to have a much better ground game for the nuts and bolts of picking up delegates that are still being chosen in state conventions even after the voting has ended. In the current Republican game of delegate-by-delegate attrition, in which a Trump who hasn’t reached the required 1,237 delegates by the convention could have serious problems thereafter, every bit counts.

And then there’s the alliance! Cruz and Kasich are strategically agreeing to stay out of each other’s way in several of the remaining contests. This may indeed be too little, too late, but it does stand a decent shot of handing Cruz Indiana next week, and getting Kasich several Western States. If it does work, Cruz getting all 57 of the winner-take-all delegates next week could seriously complicate Trump’s remaining math. If it doesn’t, that 57 plus his haul from tonight will probably put Trump on track to get close enough to the 1,237 that the game is, effectively, over.

Stay tuned!

Election 2016: The Empire State is About to Strike…

empire

After a blessed break from writing about this blasted campaign for a few weeks, we are now entering what could be a vital stage of the primaries. New York votes tomorrow, with a significant portion of the remaining delegates at stake for both parties. This is followed next week by a truly super Tuesday in which Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island all vote on the same day. The (North)East Coast is about to have its say! How are things looking on the eve of all of this?

Democrats

Bernie Sanders is coming off of a very strong month. Counting the finalization of the Democrats Abroad Primary results on March 21st, and the primaries and caucuses held between March 22nd and April 9th he’s won 8 out of 9. Am I really going to continue my Sanderskepticism in the face of this winning streak?

Well, I will merely observe the following. Here is where the delegate-count currently stands in terms of pledged delegates:

count

And here’s where the cumulative vote total stands:

cummulative

One could point out that this includes the earlier Southern States where Clinton prevailed by a total margin of 67%-33%, and that Sanders has actually won a (albeit slim) majority of the vote in all other states. One could alternately point out that this included many caucuses, where the enthusiasm of Sanders supporters may have given them outsized influence, and there is only one caucus left in the schedule from now through June. Taking the average of the 11 non-Southern primaries, thus theoretically eliminating the pro-Clinton and pro-Sanders distortions, it’s nearly 50-50:

5050.PNG

One could counter that Sanders doesn’t need to get enough delegates to clinch the nomination. He could arrive at the convention with more than Clinton, and make a reasonable appeal to the Superdelegates that they should support him instead. Okay. Here are the delegates left, and the minimum percentage Sanders would have to win in order to arrive at the convention with more delegates than Clinton:

remaining.PNG

This would get him there with 2,182 to her 2,168. Anything less than winning 56% of all remaining delegates, she arrives at the convention with more delegates, and the lead in the popular vote. If he does something like what he’s done so far (splitting it 51/49) in the remaining primaries, they’ll get there with Clinton 2,265 and Sanders 2,085. She would need Superdelegates to win on the first ballot, but less than a quarter of them. Whatever the valid Fall strategy argument may or may not be, no self-respecting Sanders supporter, myself included, would argue in a reverse case (Sanders ahead in votes and delegates) that it would be okay if the Superdelegates nominated Clinton instead. Barring a startling departure in the remaining primaries, the Democratic primary voters have decided.

All this being said, I do think Sanders is going to do much better in New York than expected. Current polling averages have it here:

NY

Meanwhile, however, national polling shows Sanders has pulled nearly even with Clinton:

national

New York is a very large, very diverse state, and one would be surprised to find that it’s Democratic electorate was markedly different from the National Democratic electorate as a whole. Given this kind of disparity between state and national polling, in the absence of something more precise, we might split the difference, and expect it to be something more like Clinton winning by 7%.

Consider also 538.com’s analysis from a few months back of how you would expect Sanders to do, based on demographics, if he and Clinton were tied nationally. More often than not, this has correctly called the direction of contests so far, and here’s what it shows for New York:

New York

Back that off a little from a national tie to Clinton ahead by 1.2% nationally, it suggests a New York that’s a photo-finish. Add to this the size of Sanders’ rallies in the state and his recent union endorsements… I don’t expect he’ll win New York, but I do expect it will be a scarier victory for Clinton than she’s currently expecting. Which keeps us going until the next Super Tuesday…

Republicans

I had so many weeks worth of math pent up on the Democratic side that I’m out of time! I will observe that Trump is in no appearance of any danger at all:

trumpyork

What this means in terms of delegates is a bit more murky. Unlike the proportional allocation on the Democratic side, the Republican primary rules in New York are, “New York allots 14 at-large delegates proportionally based on the statewide results of the primary; 81 delegates — three for each congressional district — are awarded according to the results of the district, and then “split 2-1 between top two finishers, with 50 percent winner-take-all trigger,””. Huh?

In short, Cruz and Kasich have an opportunity to peel off delegates from Trump even given a massive victory on his part. This is significant because the numbers are currently steep for Trump to get enough delegates for a first ballot win at the convention:

trumpelagtes

And there’s a persuasive argument to be made that, if he doesn’t take it on a first ballot, he’ll actually do worse than that on following ballots. His delegates are pledged to vote for him on the first ballot, but the Trump campaign so thoroughly eschewed traditional state-by-state organization that they didn’t make sure there were slates of delegates that actually liked Trump. Cruz has done a far better job of this groundwork, and as soon as they can, many of the delegates in the hall will switch votes from Trump to him.

Cleveland is looking like it could be a wild ride…

 

 

State of the Campaign: Spring Break

maps

Well, we’ve had the first four contests in February. We’ve had three Super Tuesdays! We’ve also had a smattering of other days and un-super Tuesdays, like this week’s confabs in Arizona, Idaho and Utah. Along the way, we’ve whittled things down from 22 candidates to five. From here, things take a little break. The Republicans don’t have another outing for 13 days, and after three contests this Saturday the Democrats are out too until everybody gets back together for Wisconsin on April 5th. So how are things looking on the eve of the campaign’s Spring Break?

Democrats

If you look on a county-by-county basis, there’s almost a Mason-Dixon line going on the Democratic side:

MD

Tuesday’s results reinforced that, with Hillary doing well in Arizona (probably inadvertently helped along by state Republican officials voter suppression strategies), and Bernie doing very well in Utah and Idaho. In fact, Sanders got such lop-sided margins in those two states that he actually slightly reduced his delegate gap versus Clinton, something that he stands to do again this weekend with Alaska, Hawaii and Washington. This follows up on his win by a 2/3 margin of the Democrats Abroad primary announced this Monday. Statistical analysis of where he’s done well so far would also indicate he stands a good shot in the next two states once we resume again in April, Wisconsin & Wyoming.

Does all of this improve the outlook on his possibly winning the nomination? In a word: Probably not. Okay, it was two words, you got me. My fellow Berners pretty much aren’t speaking to me at this point because of my stubborn insistence upon the existence of math. She is indeed a harsh mistress, but a fairly clear one. Based purely on pledged delegates (not those wily Superdelegates) this is where the math currently stands:

math

The good news for Sanders? There are no more Southern States, and while Clinton has trounced him in the South, he’s actually narrowly beaten her in total votes for all contests outside that region:

math2

There’s also some interesting analysis out there indicating that Clinton, where she is winning, is doing so largely based on early voting that happened weeks or months ago, and Sanders is beating her on election day voting. Even given all that, though, the numbers still don’t add up. So far, he’s gotten a little over 50% of the vote in all non-Southern states. He’d need to get 69% of all remaining delegates in order to win. One can imagine circumstances where this could happen, a la major Clinton scandal. But in any vaguely status quo scenario, you would be very surprised to see his average in the remaining 25 contests jump to 69% compared to 50% for the 18 non-Southern contests that have happened so far.

Republicans

The outlook here is much cloudier. Trump won resoundingly in Arizona, but Cruz meanwhile did very well in Utah.

map2

The catch is that, unlike Democratic primaries and caucuses, which are almost all proportional to vote, Republican contests often feature some kind of rule- winner-take-all, delegate allocation based on who gets the majority in each congressional district, minimum percentage cut-offs to qualify for any delegates- that tends to magnify the lead of a front-runner. Even if you are a front-runner by virtue of only getting 30-something percent of the vote, you’ll get a much higher percentage than that of the delegates. So that works to Trump’s favor, but the field was fractured enough for long enough that it is very borderline whether he can get to the total before the convention.

If it’s hard to see how he can pull off the total in time, it’s pretty near impossible to see how Cruz or Kasich could do it. The numbers currently stand as follows:

math3

Even if Rubio were to endorse Cruz and pledge his delegates to him (as there are some rumblings may happen), and even given that the party establishment is working its way toward supporting Cruz, despite the fact that they don’t like him much, there isn’t an easy to see scenario where he gets the percentage of delegates he’d need in order to catch Trump before the convention. Meanwhile, Kasich would actually need to win 116% of the remaining delegates, i.e. he has no path forward that doesn’t involve a time machine.

Prominent Republicans continue to say that whoever arrives at the convention with the clear preponderance of delegates should be the nominee. So, Trump. A number of them also continue to say that they’re deeply troubled by Trump’s behavior, and a surprising number hedge on whether they would support him if he is the nominee. So, maybe not Trump. If nothing else, this should be fascinating to watch!

 

Super Tuesday 3!

St3

This election is kind of silly with Super Tuesdays, but in this case, it’s not overkill. We have the above assortment of 5 fine upstanding states, four of which happen to be among the most populous states in the union. So what happens here could indeed be pretty consequential for the race.  Here’s what we have at stake on each side.

Democrats

You may recall that I made the case last week that Sanders is, mathematically speaking, a dead man walking. This was before his surprise win in Michigan, which I was certainly gratified by. So am I changing my tune? Well, I’m modifying the key slightly, but not really.

The thing about last week is that Sanders won a narrow victory in Michigan. A historically unprecedented, great news for his campaign victory, but still narrow. Clinton meanwhile won a lopsided victory in Mississippi, as she has throughout the South. It was so lopsided that, even though Mississippi is a significantly smaller state than Michigan, she ended up with more total votes and more delegates on Tuesday than Sanders, thus increasing the gap between them. Bluntly put, you can generate the best headlines ever, but if your opponent keeps scoring on you like this, you’re not going to win.

So wither my humming in a different key? This recent HuffPo piece makes a good case that Michigan presages that the next phase of the campaign is going to be tougher for Clinton and better for Sanders. We’ve all been noticing all along how lopsided her Southern victories have been. This got me mathematically curious, So I re-ran my totals from last week, honing in on the difference between Southern results and everywhere else. Overall, Clinton/Sanders are at 60/40 for vote totals so far, but if you break it down from there, it looks a bit different:

southern

The significant thing about this is, Clinton is almost out of Southern states. North Carolina and Florida are the only ones left. so one could make a not ridiculous argument that Sanders might win a majority of votes and delegates for the remainder of this race after Super Tuesday 3. Ultimately, though, that doesn’t change the math. Right now, excluding Superdelegates, we’re at:

math

If Sanders performs at the average of his non-Southern state totals for the remaining contests, he would still be under pace for the total of remaining delegates that he needs to win. Clinton would too, but not by as much, and the big wins she’s likely to get in Florida and North Carolina tomorrow will Probably bring it in range- she’ll need mid to high 40s percentage of remaining delegates, and she can be expected to average mid to high 40s percentage of remaining votes.

Sanders, meanwhile, based on where he’s done well so far, will probably win Missouri, and be quite competitive in Ohio and Illinois, maybe even score a narrow victory in one of them. I don’t think this changes the ultimate trajectory, but he now has every chance of remaining in the race, and strongly so, for the duration.

Republicans

The big story here is the winner-take-all contests in Florida and Ohio. Unlike the Democrats, who generally reward delegates proportional to vote most everywhere, the Republicans have many states where the highest placing candidate gets all the delegates. In this case, interestingly, it intersects with the home states of two of the remaining candidates, Marco Rubio and John Kasich.  Unfortunately for Rubio, all signs are that this won’t work out for him:

florida

Kasich, meanwhile, seems to have a pretty decent shot of taking his home state, and all of its delegates:

Ohio

All of this is quite volatile. You can make a good case that, notwithstanding what happens in Florida and Ohio, Trump could do well enough in the other states to effectively put the whole thing away. On the other hand, you could also make the case that Cruz is close enough that, if Super Tuesday 3 ends up knocking out both Kasich and Rubio, he could still win a one-on-one with Trump. We could also have a case where, by virtue of winning Ohio while Rubio loses Florida and places badly elsewhere, Kasich becomes the surviving establishment candidate, holding down a roughly equal percentage of votes to Cruz going forward, and keeping all three of them below the threshold before the convention.

This is where the numbers stand at the moment:

math2

Where they are at this point next week will be fascinating to see!

 

New Hampshire, and the importance of being second

new hamsphire.jpg

Hi friends! Isn’t it exciting that people are finally voting? Actual election results cut through so much blather. Not to mention mow down superfluous candidates. Iowa alone winnowed out Huckabee, O’Malley, Paul & Santorum. You read my pre-Iowa prognostication. So what do I think of New Hampshire? Actually (barring an extremely interesting upset), who’s in first is pretty apparent on each side, and the real action is all about the nature of second.

Democrats

Whether you look at poll averages:

RCP

538.com’s “polls only” and “polls plus” models:

NH pollsonly

NH polls+

Or the betting markets:

NHdembets

The story is the same. Bernie Sanders is overwhelmingly favored to win New Hampshire. And therein lies the trap for him. As the analysts at 538.com have noted, Sanders strongest demographic is white, liberal voters, and so it would be expected that Iowa and New Hampshire would be very strong states for him. States to come have many more non-white voters, and self-describerd moderates, segments he has made much less polling headway with so far. So he would be really benefited by the maximum possible bounce out of these first two states.

You’ll notice the narrowing in his New Hampshire margin following Iowa in the first chart above. This narrowing seems to have backed off a bit, but primary polling  can be remarkably unpredictable (add to which Superbowl Sunday was a very ineffective day to be polling most Americans). It is certainly possible that Sanders could end up under 50%, and Clinton within single-digits of him. And if so, she benefits from the “better than expected” narrative. On the other hand, if he gets a wide margin, the press will probably run with the “she only tied Iowa, and just lost New Hampshire big” storyline. In which case Bernie is close to the best case scenario I laid out last time-he wins Iowa, then New Hampshire, and does better than-expected in Nevada and South Carolina, and goes on to get a striking distance 40% or more of the states and delegates on Super Tuesday.

Of course “best case” is still an uphill slog for him, but at least it’s a possible slog.

Republicans

As with the Democrats, poll averages:

RCP

538.com’s “polls only” and “polls plus” models:

538 New Hampshire

Or the betting markets:

NHdrepbets

All produce the same likelihood- Trump easily carries New Hampshire. Which really makes the race for second the story everyone will focus on. In this regard, Rubio had a New Hampshire surge after nearly passing Trump for second in Iowa, but it seems to be fading. Add to this what was widely seen as a poor debate performance this weekend, there is a serious chance he gets eclipsed by Cruz or Kasich in New Hampshire.

Kasich deserves further thought. New Hampshire is much more moderate, as Republican politics goes, than Iowa. So this is the kind of state he’d have his best shot in. A third place finish wouldn’t really get him a lot of attention past New Hampshire, but a second could have the party establishment re-evaluating whether he’s the alternative to Trump and Cruz that they might want to back instead of Rubio. The nightmare scenario for Rubio, of course, would be to actually end up fourth, if both Kasich and Cruz pass him by. That could make for a very messy, and interesting, South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

We’ll have to tune in Tuesday night and see!