Swing State Pres

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

GOP Nevada Caucus: Donald Trump Crushes It and Closes In on the GOP Nomination

Donald Trump was the big winner in Nevada, crushing Marco Rubio by 22 points in an unpredictable state where Rubio once lived and where both he and Ted Cruz were well organized.  I have a decision on my hands, which is when to “call” the nomination for Donald Trump.  I am mighty tempted to do it right now, because I fail to see a viable path to derailing him.  The only possible path – the abrupt departure of Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Ben Carson from the field, which would give Marco Rubio a clear shot at Trump and test Trump’s much-hypothesized “40% ceiling” -- is not going to happen.  (By the way, Trump reached 45% in Nevada, cruising past that ceiling for his highest vote total yet.)

Apart from the fact that each of Cruz, Rubio and Kasich sees winning states for them in the near future (their home states, Texas, Florida and Ohio, respectively – and only Cruz is beating Trump in these home states), there is one other reason they won’t drop out soon.  With few exceptions (and this year is one of them) in modern times the GOP candidate who won the second most delegates in a given year has gone on to secure the nomination in the following election cycle.  The exceptions to that:  incumbent years and Bush in 2000.  (Romney finished a close third to Huckabee in 2008, but Huckabee did not run in 2012).  So (despite losing some cache this year) the second place prize, the unofficial title of “next in line,” is not going to be easily abandoned.

There is not a bevy of Super Tuesday (March 1) polling as yet – and maybe there won’t be – but what is out there is solid for Trump, except for Texas, in places as varied as Georgia, Virginia and Massachusetts.  What can change that in the next week?  Trump commits a gaffe?  Loses the debate on Thursday night?  Sprouts horns?  I just can’t see it.  For my GOP friends out there, the ones who are mighty uncomfortable with Trump, you need to start facing up to what you will do in November – when you will almost certainly be staring at a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

BTRTN PREDICTION

We did keep our streak alive in Nevada and correctly predicted Donald Trump would be the winner, and we were pretty close on the percentages, but in truth this was not our best forecast.  We had plenty of excuses:  Nevada is a caucus state, notoriously difficult to poll; there were only two polls, none in the crucial last few days; there was little history to go on, as Mitt Romney, with his strong neighborly ties to Utah, easily won in 2008 and 2012. 

But we should have sensed that the flap over Cruz firing a top aide over the Rubio Bible video would have hurt Cruz, yet we still had Cruz in second.  Rubio ended up nosing him out.  Less consequentially, we also had Kasich ahead of Carson in the nether region of the results.  So we missed by an average of 3.6 percentage points per candidate, and got the ranking wrong by 0.8 per candidate.  Still, not a terrible night for BTRTN.

Nevada      GOP
BTRTN Prediction
Actual
Absolute
Difference
Predicted Rank
Actual Rank
Abs Rank Difference
Trump
40
46
6
1
1
0
Rubio
21
24
3
2
3
1
Cruz
23
21
2
3
2
1
Carson
7
5
2
4
5
1
Kasich
9
4
5
5
4
1
3.6
0.8

*************************************

Here is BTRTN’s prediction record for the 37 projections we have made in 2016, one for each competing candidate across the seven races that have occurred.  We have called the winner of all seven races correctly (better than Nate Silver!) and are off an average of a mere 2.2 percentage points per candidate projection.  And we’ve also done well on rankings, off a half a rank on average.  Here are each of the 37 projections, if you care to peruse them.

State
Party
Candidate
Predict.
Actual
Abs.    Diff
Pred. Rank
Act. Rank
Abs Rk Diff
ALL

ALL 37


2.2


0.5
IOWA
DEM



2.7


0.0
Iowa
Dem
Clinton
50
50
0
1
1
0
Iowa
Dem
Sanders
46
50
4
2
2
0
Iowa
Dem
O'Malley
4
0
4
3
3
0
IOWA
GOP



1.0


0.7
Iowa
GOP
Cruz
25
28
3
1
1
0
Iowa
GOP
Trump
24
24
0
2
2
0
Iowa
GOP
Rubio
22
23
1
3
3
0
Iowa
GOP
Carson
7
9
2
4
4
0
Iowa
GOP
Paul
5
5
0
5
5
0
Iowa
GOP
Bush
4
3
1
6
6
0
Iowa
GOP
Fiorina
2
2
0
10
7
3
Iowa
GOP
Kasich
3
2
1
8
8
0
Iowa
GOP
Huckabee
4
2
2
6
9
3
Iowa
GOP
Christie
3
2
1
8
10
2
Iowa
GOP
Santorum
1
1
0
11
11
0
NH
DEM



3.5


0.0
NH
Dem
Sanders
57
60
3
1
1
0
NH
Dem
Clinton
43
39
4
2
2
0
NH
GOP



2.0


0.6
NH
GOP
Trump
32
35
3
1
1
0
NH
GOP
Kasich
16
16
0
2
2
0
NH
GOP
Cruz
14
11
3
4
3
1
NH
GOP
Bush
12
11
1
5
4
1
NH
GOP
Rubio
15
11
4
3
5
2
NH
GOP
Christie
4
8
4
6
6
0
NH
GOP
Fiorina
4
4
0
6
7
1
NH
GOP
Carson
3
2
1
8
8
0
NEVADA
DEM



0.8


0.0
Nevada
Dem
Clinton
52
53
0.7
1
1
0
Nevada
Dem
Sanders
48
47
0.8
2
2
0
SC
GOP



3.2


0.3
S. Carolina
GOP
Trump
29
33
4
1
1
0
S. Carolina
GOP
Rubio
22
22
0
2
2
0
S. Carolina
GOP
Cruz
18
22
4
3
3
0
S. Carolina
GOP
Bush
12
8
4
5
4
1
S. Carolina
GOP
Kasich
13
8
5
4
5
1
S. Carolina
GOP
Carson
6
7
1
6
6
0
Nevada
GOP



3.6


0.8
Nevada
GOP
Trump
40
46
6
1
1
0
Nevada
GOP
Rubio
21
24
3
3
2
1
Nevada
GOP
Cruz
23
21
2
2
3
1
Nevada
GOP
Carson
7
5
2
5
4
1
Nevada
GOP
Kasich
9
4
5
4
5
1


No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment