Who Won The New York Democratic Primary, and Why?

I don't know yet, but as soon as I do, I'll post that below.

With 98.5% of the delegates counted, Clinton won 57.9% of the vote, Sanders 42.1%. This puts Clinton at 139 delegates, very close to my prediction of 137.

Clinton closing in on 57%, or about 140 delegates. Clinton closing in on 57%, or about 140 delegates.

If that holds, this is pretty much of a shellacking for Sanders. Sanders out spent Clinton on ad buys, has campaigned heavily, and has set the expectations as a definitive win. This is Sanders home state (of birth, not representation). Yet he seems to have definitively lost. This will put Sanders even more behind in the delegate count.

Sen. Hillary Rodham ClintonThe bigger the loss for Sanders, the bigger the steaming pile of bull substance will be put forth by that presumably-tiny-and-hillary-has-them-too-yadayada Sanders supporters, with claims that the election was unfair, stolen, etc. And that will probably turn off even more people undecided between the candidate, and Sanders will do even worse in future contests. I've predicted that he will win in California, and I'll stick to that story until my own analysis suggests otherwise, but it won't be enough to offset his current deep-second position, Clinton's increasing lead, and all that.

You know what they say. It ain't over until the big green lady with the torch sings.

And she just did.


Meanwhile, some background on a key aspect of today's Democratic primary in New York.

This is a closed primary in a state where you have to be registered in a political party by some time in October in order to participate.

See this for more information about how that sort of thing varies across the states.

I have projected that Clinton will win this primary, and my estimate for the delegate take is 137 for Clinton and 110 for Sanders. See this for a detailed breakdown of this and other projections for the rest of the race.

But, is this what will happen? Clinton does better than Sanders in southern states, and New York is not a southern state. In fact, Clinton tends to win all of the southern states, and while Sanders wins more non-southern states than Clinton, he certainly does not win all of them. See this for more details on the southern effect.

New York is a big state, and Clinton tends to do better in big states, as shown here.

There have been nine closed caucus states, and Sanders has won seven of them, with a tie in one. There have been three open caucus contests, and Sanders has won in three of them. There have been 7 closed primary contests and Sanders has won in one of them, with a tie in one. There have been 13 open primaries, and Sanders has won three. So, he does better in caucus states, but tends to lose in primary states, and possibly least well in closed primary states, which is what New York has.

Now, here is the interesting thing, recently pointed out by Rachel Maddow. Sanders, and the Sanders campaign, is not making any attempt at all to control expectations in New York. Clinton has a better claim to favorite daughter status. New York is relatively diverse, and Clinton does better in diverse states. Clinton tends to win closed primaries. The polls show Clinton ahead. My own projection, not based on polls, has Clinton winning. But Sanders keeps up with the "we will win here" mantra, which is not the advisable approach if you are not going to win. You can win and lose at the same time by setting up the expectation that you will lose by, say, 15% and then you go ahead and lose by only 9%. That's a win(ish) in the primary process. But Sanders is not doing that.

Here's Maddow's thing:

Sanders' evidence is that he tends to come from behind, and over perform. And in my own modeling, that has tended to happen. All those times I was right about the outcome of a contest and the great FiveThirtyEight was wrong, it was a Sanders over performance, pretty much.

But, for all the reasons stated above, I don't expect this to happen in New York. If it does, that will be very significant, and we may have to rethink the whole primary process this year!

Anyway, just for fun and because I thought you might find it interesting, I rand some numbers. I simply took the last several polls in several states, and recalculated the percentage for Clinton and Sanders such that the percents attributed add up to 100%, and then added to the top of the list the actual performance in the contest. From this I made a graph, with the moment of winning on the left side. If Sanders tends to jump up and win the contest, this will be seen by a line tracking (backwards) along below 50% then suddenly, for the actual voting, jump above 50%.

I did not do this for all the contests because there simply isn't enough poling data. Indeed, Sanders tends to win in open and/or caucus states, and pollster don't even bother polling in those states because they are so crazy. And, he tends to win in small states, and pollsters tend to not poll in small states. Which, if you think about it, should give you pause in considering Sanders' claim. He does better than expected when the expectation is based on nearly zero or otherwise crappy data.

Anyway, I non-systematically picked a bunch of states and made a bunch of graphs and shoved them all onto one graphic:

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.43.30 AM

Sanders did the Bernie Blast to the top in Minnesota, but we had almost no info in Minnesota. He seemed to do it in Michigan, but if you look at the polling over time, it was not utterly unexpected. He might have done it a little, but not enough to win, in Arizona, but note that this is the state that had all that voter repression.

I indicated on each graph the nominal category of contest so you can gaze at these results and draw your own conclusions.

As I've said numerous times, each contest is a test of a particular hypothesis or model about how the primary season is going. If Clinton wins New York and wins it by about 10-15%, the NY primary does not change the fact that she will win the race, but come in just under the required number of pledged delegates to lock without super delegates. If she does way better, that changes our expectations for the rest of the primary season.

If, on the other hand, Sanders wins, that will be huge and require a major revision of our thinking.

Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern in New York. If urban and NYC districts are counted early, and upstate later, because they use clay pots and send the results in by pony or something, then we should see Clinton surge then Sanders slowly slog towards catching up (or not).

Stay tuned.

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Thank you, again.

I see in the news that the mayor of New York City is asking why voter registrations were purged of about 118,000 voters in the past 6 months, but few of the new registrations have been added to the data bases. Is this, do you suppose, deliberate or a mistake?

By Desertphile (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

There was a fairly large downswing in registered voters in about 10% of the state's counties, and probably a similar upswing in about 10%. That's normal. Voters are purged when they don't vote for a few years, move, etc.

I'm not saying nothing wrong has happened here, but this may be a case of people suddenly taking note of a typical normal phenomenon.

This is a closed primary in a state where you have to be registered in a political party by some time in October in order to participate.

This technically doesn't apply to newly registered voters (who can choose a party affiliation at the time of registration, and are eligible if they registered in the party by 25 March), but it does apply to previously registered voters, and may be a limiting factor for some of Sanders' potential voters. New York also has this worse than most states because they have a couple of minor parties that don't exist (at least not in any significant fashion) anywhere else--not merely a detail like Minnesota's DFL being the official name of the state Democratic party, but distinct parties with their own nomination process (in practice they tend to nominate the same candidates as one of the major parties). So somebody in the Workers' Party (I'm not sure I have the name exactly right) isn't eligible to vote in the Democratic primary, even though in state and local races this party almost always nominates the same candidate who wins the Democratic party nomination. I will speculate that this will trip up more potential Sanders voters than potential Clinton voters, but I have nothing to back up that intuition.

Regarding voter purges: As Greg says, it's not necessarily nefarious. All states have some means of deleting people from the voter rolls if they don't actually vote in that precinct. But the process has been used for nefarious purposes elsewhere, most notoriously Florida in 2000. So it matters, at least in terms of optics, whether the purges followed a well-established procedure. Since I am not a New York resident, I have no idea how it works in New York. In New Hampshire, where I live, the purges happen every 10 years, so that (at least in my town--I don't know if this is staggered or uniform statewide) somebody who voted in the general election of 2010 and then moved out of state will remain on the voter rolls until 2021.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

Did you factor in the 27% of registered voters in NY who can't vote because it's a closed primary (if must be registered as either a D or R or you can't vote; they had to re-register back in October if they wanted to vote today)? And then there is the issue of registrations being mysteriously switched, as was the case in AZ, too. See the Democracy Now! story on these issues: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/19/millions_of_new_yorkers_disenfran…

By Gregg Kleiner (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

Early exit polls have Clinton winning 52-48

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

Early exit polls have Clinton winning 52-48

Exit polls also showed Al Gore winning by a large margin.

By Desertphile (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Kevin O'Neill (not verified)


One person saw his dead month on the voting list, though she died 6 years ago and has not voted in over a decade.

Other voters could not enter the building because no one had the keys to unlock the doors.

Other voters waited from 6:00AM to 9:00AM before the balloting machines were set up and ready to incorrectly record their ballots.

In other news, a judge in Arizona is hearing arguments for why the election results should not be thrown out, and a re-vote taken

Shit, it's like I'm back living in Central America.

By Desertphile (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Kevin O'Neill (not verified)

NYTimes shows Clinton ahead about 60-40 with just over 25% reporting. Bernie is doing well in rural and rust belt areas, Hillary is winning the city, Westchester, Putnam ... Exit polls show a sharply divided electorate.
NYT has called it for Trump with over 64% at 27% reporting. Kasich 26% and Cruz 10%.

Gregg, no "registratons" are being switched.

It may well be true that a certain number of voters in New York are clueless as to how to vote and fucked up their chance to vote in this primary. I assume that applies evenly to both candidates, but perhaps you are suggesting that one candidate's supporters are more likely to mess this relatively simple thing up than the other? Which one?

The mayor claimed that entire city blocks in Brooklyn were purged: Republican Party members, independents, and Democrat Part members.

"One person saw his dead month on the voting list, though she died 6 years ago and has not voted in over a decade."

You know the old expression. "When I die, burry me in New York so I can remain active in politics!"

Eric, thanks, I put a link to your comment.

Yes, I remember the days when most candidates were listed in either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and then ALSO in the "conservative" or the "liberal" party, and those were the first four columns in the voting booth, followed by socialists, etc. etc.

That was for the general, not the primary.

From the news blog linked in #9 :

Monique Ross 5 minutes ago
... Decision Desk HQ :

Meanwhile, a little LOL from the Republican race...

"In Westchester County, Ted Cruz is losing to Ben Carson."

Dr Carson dropped out of the race more than a month ago.


Its great to see Cruz get a well deserved hammering and huge set back. I think he'd be even worse than Trump.

At this point I think one can take it for granted that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Even Common Dreams, which has been supporting wishful thinking rather than evidence-based analysis, seems to be reaching that conclusion, and today they started to pivot toward accepting Clinton's candidacy:

“Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said that Clinton has become a much stronger candidate and the Democratic Party has benefited because of the campaign that Sanders has been running.
'Hillary Clinton continues to be made a stronger candidate thanks to Bernie Sanders engaging her in a race to the top on popular economic populism issues like debt-free college, expanding Social Security, a $15 minimum wage, and jailing Wall Street bankers who break the law,' Green said in a statement. 'The primary continues, but no matter who wins, the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has fundamentally shifted in an economic populist direction during this primary—and because of that, Democrats are better positioned to win in November.' ”

Interestingly, while Sanders's platform and ideas have played a major role in shaping the race, most recently his statements on the Israel-Palestine conflict, which were echoed by Joe Biden, his late displays of petulance, pettiness, and innuendo may have alienated so many Democrats, that he himself will be marginalized in the general election campaign. It wouldn't surprise me if the Democrats instead rely on figures like Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard to mobilize the less rational Sanders supporters. The rational ones already know how crucial the coming election is.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

The similarity between Cruz and Joe McCarthy hit me during the Data or Dogma climate hearing. Cruz's lying is far more calculated than Trump's, and he's more sinister in his use of innuendo. He seems to be filled with conceit and totally without empathy. At the same time, Cruz's political positions are in greater agreement with those of the Republican oligarchs, and would have a far greater chance of being converted into policy.

The beauty of the Trump candidacy is that's it's a logical consequence of the Koch network's efforts to organize what to a great degree is well-founded resentment, and exploit it in ways that benefit them. In this case, the Kochs weren't able to control the resentment they aroused, and it's taken turns that are inimical to their interests. They don't want Trump, Cruz has no way to a legitimate victory, and voters in state after state have rejected Kasich. The Republican Party is a mess, and it's hard to see how it can get out of it.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 19 Apr 2016 #permalink

All Republicans are proposing tax cuts that would overwhelmingly benefit the rich. In Kansas, the center of the Koch universe, this policy is having unexpected repercussions:

"Now, as each new month brings another budget gap to be filled, even Brownback's former champions in the state legislature are losing their faith. Per the Associated Press:

Now many of the same Republicans who helped pass Brownback's plan are in open revolt, refusing to help the governor cut spending so he can avoid rolling back any of his signature tax measures. If Brownback won't reconsider any of the tax cuts, they say, he will have to figure out for himself how to balance the budget in the face of disappointing revenue.

"Let him own it," Republican Rep. Mark Hutton said. "It's his policy that put us there."

In the abstract, low taxes and small government sound pretty good to Kansas voters. But when the rubber meets the pot-hole-filled road, people would rather have a functioning public-school system than more opulent McMansions. According to the AP, Republican legislators are worried about signing on to more spending cuts in an election year, because their very conservative constituents seem to hate spending cuts (in March, Brownback enjoyed a 21 percent approval rating in the state, four points behind Barack Obama). Thus, Republican dissidents are demanding tax hikes..."

Of course, if Republican tax cuts can be shown not to work, the party's candidates can appeal to the fantasies of hitherto ignored voter groups:

"America has always been best when she is lying down with her back on the mat."

Legitimate rape?

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink

"There is, to say the least, a certain amount of tension between two of the arguments the Bernie Sanders campaign made today.

First, Sanders blasted New York's primary for being closed to independents. 'Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary,' Bernie Sanders said. 'That’s wrong.'

But later that same night, Sanders's campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, went on MSNBC and said that the campaign's plan is to win the election by persuading superdelegates to dump Hillary Clinton...

But what turns this into an unusually difficult argument for Sanders is that, early in the race, Sanders's supporters feared this is how Clinton would steal the election, and so they mobilized their supporters to demand that the superdelegates abide by the will of the voters. Even today, some Sanders supporters (wrongly) think Clinton's lead is the unfair result of superdelegates ignoring the voters and backing her campaign.

Theres nothing new about seemingly principled arguments about process covering opportunistic jockeying for candidate advantage. But imagine if it was Sanders who was leading in pledged delegates and Clinton who was suggesting New York's primary results weren't legitimate and her campaign would use superdelegates to win even if they lost the primaries. Sanders's voters would be furious, and rightly so."

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink


As I have pointed out many times, complaining about closed primaries is in itself "wrong".

Nothing prevented Sanders from running as an independent, and there is no legal or constitutional requirement that a political party allow any voting at all in their selection process.

This is a specious argument to fire up low-information voters.

Sanders is not running as an independent for the same reason that Paul Ryan won't follow his desire and attempt to gain the Republican nomination.

Both of them know that doing so will only split the party and hand the election to "the other side".

it's specious argument to attempt to make an argument look specious.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink

zebra - It is true that Sanders appeals to a lot of people who, because of their youth or economic status, haven't been active political participants so won't always get the right hoops jumped through on time. The contemptuous attitude of dismissing those people as "low-information voters" - who, it is hinted, don't really deserve to vote - is one of the things I loathe about Hillary-style moderate-Republican elitism. ("Superpredators who must be brought to heel", anyone?) Nonetheless, it appears that she will be the nominee, and she can't win a general election with only the votes of "high-information voters", so it's time for her partisans to start pretending they care about the lower classes.

Jane, I think some of the reaction to the "low-information voters" is different than you are characterizing. In all the political events I've been to over the last month (about six or seven) people were asked if this was their first time or if they were new, and large numbers of individuals raised their hands, and promptly received applause and cheers. Democrats in general, regardless of their preference for one candidate or another, are very happy to have all this new interest.

Meanwhile, in social media, there is a flood of stupid crap, conspiracy theory, context-free blathering, ahistorical yammering, and foundationless accusation. I tend to see more of that coming from Sanders supporters than Hillary supporters, but there is plenty coming from Hillary supporters as well about Sanders. If you scratch the surface, much of this is coming from noobs who have drunk some Kook Aid or simply don't know what they are talking about. Some comes from people who should know better. My sense is that the noob-originated BS tends to be more Berrnie-alligned, where the malicious should-know-better stuff comes from Hillar-alligned folks.

Either way, that is something to be legitimately annoyed about.

And, worried. It is really troubling to see such a low level of understanding of so much of the electorate. Not a surprise, but usually not so apparent and thus in the background.

Quite a lot of "background" stuff is being brought out into the light of day in this election cycle...

Quite a lot.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink

As far as I can tell, no portion of the American political spectrum is well-informed these days, nor hesitates to spout off without informing themselves first. This is how democracies die.

...by turning into "dumb-ocracies" perhaps?

It seems that there's at least one major political party that actually prefers it that way.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink

Greg #22,

The business about open primaries is wrong however much one would like to not disparage the ignorance of a particular group.

I actually don't think the Bernie people commenting in the media are being disingenuous or trying to score rhetorical points-- I think they really, really, Just. Don't. Get. It. . And that's the problem.

Maybe it's all the years of listening to people who JDGI, with respect to basic physics and climate, but I have lost patience with such lazy nonsense. If you want to play, learn the rules. And I'm someone who has taught some seriously unprepared college students, and been complimented on how patient and understanding I am. That zebra is fast disappearing. I guess I'm getting more like Bernie, much as I try to fight it.


If you're under the impression that I've complained about closed primaries, you're mistaken. The primaries are the way in which the parties select not only their candidates, but also their leaders. In Denmark it would be unthinkable for persons to help choose the leader of a party they don't belong to, and I don't think that makes any sense in the U.S. either. When Americans register as independents they've made a choice, and choices have consequences. In this case the choice can (and in my opinion should) mean that they don't have the same rights as persons who have chosen to align themselves with a particular party. It also means that independents have as much right to complain as Jews, Muslims, Protestants, etc. do because they can't choose a pope.

While selecting candidates through voting may not be a requirement, it does give a certain democratic legitimacy that smoke filled rooms don't provide, and the primary race can change the political discourse. Sanders has focused on some extremely important issues, and some of his criticisms of Clinton are uncomfortably valid.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink


To further elaborate: #18 wasn't about closed primaries. It was about the Sanders campaign's hypocrisy and double standards.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink

cosmicomics 27, 28,

No, I understood exactly what you said.

When Sanders complained about the closed primary, he was being, you know, dishonest, to motivate the ignorant. He obviously knows better.

I'm remarking on the number of people I see commenting in various venues who are actually ignorant, and can't take a minute to think it through. Really, it isn't like climate change, where you have to learn a little about physics and statistics to see the fallacies. As you nicely describe in #27, it's pretty obvious.

But with respect to your latter paragraph, the primaries are not about legitimacy--- they are in effect auditions. Without the long, grueling, and complicated process, how would anyone know (including the smoke-filled-room people) which potential candidate is most likely to be a winner in the general election?

This is a particularly irksome issue for me, when the Sanders campaign people (the professionals) compare this to 2008. I was an early Obama supporter, I followed Obama closely, and Sanders is no Obama. Of course, these guys want to keep it going so they can continue to get paid.

Also famously game of choice:
Putin -> chess player


It's not either or. Yes, the primaries are an audition, but they also provide the process with "will of the people" democratic legitimacy. There was a time when primaries didn't exist. The purpose of primaries was to ensure a more democratic process.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 21 Apr 2016 #permalink

I can see how chess would appeal to an autocrat.

Backgammon, OTOH, is a race game that balances strategy with chance, but I don't know of any politicians for whom it's the game of choice. Maybe it's one for the campaign managers...

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 21 Apr 2016 #permalink

Also famously game of choice:
2016 GOP -> Russian Roulette

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 21 Apr 2016 #permalink

I thought the 2016 GOP was a celebrity roast, or maybe, Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

I thought the 2016 GOP was a celebrity roast, or maybe, Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

Given the talk about the tiny orange penis and women spewing bloody from their "whatevers," it's more like a Austin Powers' movie.

By Desertphile (not verified) on 21 Apr 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Donal (not verified)

"Was Prince killed by the chemtrails he and Haggard spoke out against?" -- Kit Daniels - April 21, 2016

Thus we see why some people vote for Trump.

By Desertphile (not verified) on 21 Apr 2016 #permalink