Swing State Pres

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 5/6 Post Mortem: Cruz and Bernie Show Some Life, But Gain Few Delegates

The Donald Trump juggernaut encountered a bit of turbulence this weekend, as Ted Cruz unexpectedly won the Kansas and Maine caucuses and gave Trump a run for his money in the Louisiana primary and Kentucky caucus, though Trump won both.  Marco Rubio, who otherwise had a disastrous showing in those four races, did manage to win the Puerto Rico primary handily and swept all 23 votes.

But for all his efforts, Cruz only managed to pick up a net 16 delegates on Trump, garnering 69 to Trump’s 53.   That is the problem with proportional allocation, where wins make headlines but do not do much to close gaps.  Trump still leads Cruz by 84 delegates.

What does this mean for Cruz?  He has clearly established himself as the “alternative” in this race, the clear number two to Trump, outclassing Rubio.  He has now taken six states to Rubio’s two (Minnesota and Puerto Rico), and has just about double Rubio’s delegates, 300 to 151. 

But these results may actually be better news for Trump than anyone.  The assumption has been that the way to beat Trump was to rally the establishment, with all of its resources, money and clout, around Rubio, enabling him to go head-to-head with Trump and dethrone him once most primaries move to a winner-take-all format on March 15 – starting with a Rubio win in Florida.  This may have been a fantasy all along (since Trump is polling well ahead of Rubio in Florida) but at least it was a rational plan.  But the establishment cannot rally around Cruz; in fact, they have a tough time determining which of Cruz or Trump they hate more.  The Rubio and Kasich campaigns are both showing a very faint pulse, the last heartbeats of GOP establishment favorites.

Is Cruz a threat to Trump?  Frankly, I don’t see it.  Cruz has proven to be a strong regional candidate who does well in caucuses, which are low turnout affairs that favor the passionate wings of the parties and demand strong organizations, which Cruz has.  His regional strength is apparent in his home state win in Texas, and wins in neighbor Oklahoma and nearby Kansas.  He also has won caucuses in Iowa, Alaska and Maine.  But he must ultimately beat Trump in primaries that are outside of his region, and that will be a major challenge.

The first test for him will come on Tuesday, in primaries in Michigan and Mississippi.  Trump has a solid lead in virtually every poll in Michigan, and has been running roughly 40% to 20% over Cruz, with Kasich and Rubio also in the mix.  Polling has been far lighter in Mississippi, but Trump is up by 2 to 1 over Cruz in the only recent poll from last week.  I sense that these poll margins will translate to wins for Trump in both primaries, but I will await any last minute polls tomorrow before making our projections.

Despite Cruz’s understandable calls for Rubio and Kasich to exit, they will both almost surely stay in until their home state primaries on March 15 (Florida and Ohio), though I suspect they will both exit if they do not win those home states battles.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won three races over the weekend over Hillary Clinton, taking caucuses in Kansas, Nebraska and Maine while Clinton won only the Louisiana primary.  Sanders is much like Cruz, a caucus winner based on the fervor of his fellow lefties who get out to support him in low turnout events.  But the math shows his struggle – despite winning three out of four, he only picked up three net delegates, winning 66 to Clinton’s 63, and thus still trails her by a whopping 631 delegates.  To have such a great weekend result in such a minimal outcome in delegates underscores the virtually impossible nature of his task in attempting to overtake Clinton.

BTRTN PROJECTIONS

The combination of minimal polling and seven of out the nine races being caucuses did a number of us.  We forecast only five of the nine races correctly.  We did extremely well in both Louisiana primaries, and in Kentucky for the GOP and Nebraska and Maine for the Dems.  But Cruz and Sanders took the Kansas caucuses, and the Maine caucus and Puerto Rico primary were complete wash-outs.

State
Party
Candidate
Predict.
Actual
Abs.    Diff
Pred. Rank
Act. Rank
Abs Rk Diff
March 5/6
Dem



9.3


0.3
Kansas
Dem
Clinton
53
32
20.7
1
2
1
Kansas
Dem
Sanders
47
68
20.7
2
1
1
Nebraska
Dem
Clinton
45
43
2.1
2
2
0
Nebraska
Dem
Sanders
55
57
2.1
1
1
0
Louisiana
Dem
Clinton
70
71
1.1
1
1
0
Louisiana
Dem
Sanders
30
23
6.8
2
2
0
Maine
Dem
Clinton
46
36
10.5
2
2
0
Maine
Dem
Sanders
54
64
10.3
1
1
0

State
Party
Candidate
Predict.
Actual
Abs.    Diff
Pred. Rank
Act. Rank
Abs Rk Diff
March 5/6
GOP



11.5


0.6
Kansas
GOP
Trump
38
23
14.7
1
2
1
Kansas
GOP
Cruz
30
48
18.2
2
1
1
Kansas
GOP
Rubio
18
17
1.3
3
3
0
Kansas
GOP
Kasich
14
11
3.3
4
4
0
Kentucky
GOP
Trump
43
36
7.1
1
1
0
Kentucky
GOP
Cruz
25
32
6.6
2
2
0
Kentucky
GOP
Rubio
24
16
7.6
3
3
0
Kentucky
GOP
Kasich
8
14
6.4
4
4
0
Louisiana
GOP
Trump
47
41
5.6
1
1
0
Louisiana
GOP
Cruz
32
38
5.8
2
2
0
Louisiana
GOP
Rubio
14
11
2.8
3
3
0
Louisiana
GOP
Kasich
7
6
0.6
4
4
0
Maine
GOP
Trump
32
33
0.6
2
2
0
Maine
GOP
Cruz
15
46
30.9
4
1
3
Maine
GOP
Rubio
35
8
27.0
1
4
3
Maine
GOP
Kasich
18
12
5.8
3
3
0
Puerto Rico
GOP
Trump
34
14
20.4
1
2
1
Puerto Rico
GOP
Cruz
15
9
6.0
4
3
1
Puerto Rico
GOP
Rubio
32
74
41.8
2
1
1
Puerto Rico
GOP
Kasich
19
1
17.6
3
4
1












No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment