Swing State Pres

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bernie Crushes It Out West -- And Actually Picks Up a Few Delegates

Bernie Sanders had a spectacular night yesterday, sweeping (as predicted), all three western caucuses, in Washington (state), Alaska and Hawaii.  Bernie did even better than we predicted in the magnitude of his wins, crushing Hillary Clinton by the same types of margins (40+ percentage points) that he racked up in Idaho and Utah.  Suffice to say, Bernie is a caucus dynamo, where his zealots come out in droves for these high-commitment events, but unfortunately for him, caucuses are usually held in smaller states with fewer delegates at stake.  And there are hardly any of them left in the campaign calendar.

Sanders did pick up a net gain of 35 delegates (winning 55 versus Clinton’s 20), which reduced the Grand Canyon-esque delegate gap from 303 to 268.  But the bad news for Sanders and his passionate supporters is that the rest of the primary season is lining up very well for Hillary Clinton, especially the looming New York primary.  While Sanders did well, his gains do not change the contour of the race…his odds of winning the nomination before last night were formidable, and formidable remains the operative adjective.

There are 22 contests left.  Five are caucuses, with 90 delegates at stake.  The other 17 are primaries, with 1,941 delegates at stake.  The polls do not look good for Sanders at all.  Hillary holds a lead, usually a dominant one, in the six biggest states, which together account for 1,403 delegates, or 69% of those remaining. 

State
Delegates
Polls
Wisconsin
96
Clinton +6
New York
291
Clinton +35
Maryland
118
Clinton +33
Pennsylvania
210
Clinton +28
California
546
Clinton +7
New Jersey
142
Clinton +23

Job One for Bernie is to win Wisconsin on April 5.  This is doable, as he only trails by those six points in the most recent poll.  A loss there could be fatal, and would certainly be a very bad way to head back east.  But that implies that a win would be life-giving to his campaign, but that is not actually true.  Hillary could easily withstand a loss in Wisconsin.  She has never lost a primary by a wide margin, apart from New Hampshire, and wide margin wins are what Bernie must have, given the proportional allocation of delegates rule.  The best Sanders has done in a primary is to win by 11 points, 55/44 in Nebraska, and that margin will not come close to getting it done for Bernie.
  
But Bernie and his fans will always have this night, out west.  Here are the results, compared to our predictions.    

State
Party
Candidate
Predict.
Actual
26-Mar
DEM



Washington
DEM
Clinton
46
27.1
Washington
DEM
Sanders
54
72.7
Alaska
DEM
Clinton
39
18.4
Alaska
DEM
Sanders
61
81.6
Hawaii
DEM
Clinton
42
30.0
Hawaii
DEM
Sanders
58
69.8



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