Tuesday's Democratic Primaries: Clinton favored in all polls, but Sanders will win two

Between now and the end of the primary season, I expect Sanders to pick up more delegates than Clinton, in total, by a very small margin.

On Tuesday, April 26th, there will be primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. That's 384 pledged delegates at stake.

Polls put Clinton ahead in all these states, but not all the polls are current and not all the Clinton leads are strong.

Added Note:

I noticed some very strong reactions in the comments section from people apparently (but not very clearly) accusing me of making up numbers to make it look like Sanders will win some races (esp California?), with the presumption that I'm a Sanders supporter.

Those of you who have been following my writings on the campaign will know that for the first several weeks of the primary season, until very recently, I did not support one or the other candidate. I like them both. And, if you like either of them, and you know anything at all about American politics, you'll like the other as well, though of course you are entitled to have a strong preference. Either way, it is impossible to like one of these two candidates and not prefer the other over either Trump or Cruz (or any Republican who ran this year). If you do like any of those Republicans over one or the other Democratic candidate, please note that most people looking at you will be thinking "WTF"?

Anyway, the analysis I use to make these predictions is something that I have been developing and refining since the very first days of the primary season, and it is a dispassionate unbiased statistical prediction, and has nothing whatsoever to do with which candidate I support.

If you are making an assumption that I support, say, Sanders, and that is why I wrote this post, then I'm pretty sure that you've not read the post. Why do I say that? Read the whole post and find out!

My model, as you know, has been doing a pretty good job at predicting outcomes in this year's Democratic primary process. And, that poll says that Clinton will win three states, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and garner a total of about 221 delegates, and Sanders will win two states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, getting a total of 163 delegates.

Note that my expected spread in Pennsylvania is actually very close. Clinton is firmly ahead in the polls, my model says she'll squeak by, and my model has done better than polls in many instances. Who knows, maybe Sanders will win there?

Delaware and Rhode Island are really close, and could go either way. On a related note, there is supposed to be a new poll for Rhode Island coming any second now (there is no current polling there) so that will be interesting.

The table at the top of the post shows my projections for Tuesday as well as through the rest of the race. Note that starting Tuesday and running to the end of the primary season, Bernie Sanders is expected to get more delegates than Hillary Clinton, but only 10 more. This a very small number, and the final count could go either way. It would, of course, take Sanders winning a much larger number to catch up to Clinton in pledged delegates. Sanders is behind by 237 delegates.

In order for Sanders to close the gap with Clinton, he would have to do 17% better than my model projects from here on out.

That does not sound like a lot, but there are two things to consider. First, my model has been very accurate. It has been closer to a few percent off over time, and I don't expect it to suddenly stop working at that point. Second, to the extent that my model is wrong, it tends to under predict Sanders in caucuses and open states, esp. open caucuses. All the remaining contests are primaries, and most of them are closed or semi-closed.

Note also that my model conflicts with the polls and common knowledge in California, where I say Sanders will win, and everybody else (except Sanders, I assume) says Clinton will win. Also, note how some of these contests are very close, really too close to call especially Indiana, and Kentucky.

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So, Bernie is 237 delegates behind. There are 1326 remaining delegates. If he gains 782 delegates, that will put him one delegate ahead of Hillary. That's 59% of the remaining delegates.

No doubt, that would be very hard to achieve. However, the figure reported by the media, including ultra-progressive media like TYT, say that Bernie needs 70% of the remaining delegates. I guess they are calculating what Bernie would need assuming that all the superdelegates that currently are "assigned" to Hillary would still vote for her no matter what.

By Pierre-Normand Houle (not verified) on 23 Apr 2016 #permalink

In all fairness, you predicted Florida would be close and that Sanders would win OH, MO, and IL.

I predicted Clinton would win in Florida, and she did. You are right that my model said it would be close, and it was a landslide.

I predicted 49:51 in ohio and it was 57:43, a pretty bad prediction. I predicted 49:51 in Missouri, and it was 48:52 at the time, eventually settling to 49.6:49.4. I'm going to say that was a pretty good prediction. Illinois I said 50:50 and it was 50.5:48.7.

So why do you think Sander's will win California in contradiction of pretty much everyone else out there? That's a fairly significant difference, and if you're wrong on that, your basic premise that Sander's will win slightly more delegates will be wrong, too. I'm just curious why you differ from conventional wisdom and pretty much every other poll out there?

By Charles Payet (not verified) on 23 Apr 2016 #permalink

You obviously are Sanders follower .People will say whatever to keep HILLARY out of the WHITE HOUSE .THEY think they have the power to overturn the millions of votes that have been cast for Hillary . Sanders that has been a dormant Dem ,that won't even shear his campaign money to help elect Dems to Senate and congress , thinks he can just walk in a steal all delegates from Hillary !! That is really the Democractic WAY !!!!

By Mercedes Perich (not verified) on 24 Apr 2016 #permalink

Charles, as is the case with all of these numbers, I don't think. I simply do the analysis. I did several multi- and single variable regression analyses that made sense and found that at this point only one works well, now that we've gotten rid of caucuses and southern states from the sample.

This is what I've been doing all along, and this is what has been working better than polling all along.

I look at the California result and I think, WTF? But, so far the dispassionate statistically based non-poll based analysis has performed the best.

But you are absolutely correct. If sanders doesn't do as well as my model suggests in Cali, he is unlikely to gain slightly on Clinton. On the other hand, at that point it will not matter much because we'll be pretty much at the end of the process except DC, were Clinton will shellac Sanders.

My analysis differed from the "conventional wisdom" because my analysis does not use polls and conventional wisdom relies mainly on polls. The fact that I'm more often right this year than conventional wisdom is really interesting. Can't wait to see what happens in four years from now!

But having said that, I would be very surprised if this number for Cali works. But we'll see!

Mercedes, who is the "obvious sanders supporter" to whom you refer in your comment?

Your quote-unquote "predictions" (unlike Sanders I know what "quote-unquote" means) reminds me of the Republicans "predicting" a Romney win in 2016. In fact all of the Berniebruh behavior is identical to ReTHUGliKKKan behavior. And about as successful.

By Khal Draugr (not verified) on 24 Apr 2016 #permalink

If I was a Bernie supporter, that might make sense, but I chose Hillary.

Greg, thank you for the explanation. I'm no expert at statistics by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I kind of know what those analyses mean. :-D.

Curious what your take is, though, on Nate Silver's methodology? As I understand it (which might be an incorrect statement to start), he is also using statistical analysis, but based somehow on individual districts? But then again, he's also basing it on polls somehow. Makes my brain hurt, but I try to learn and understand as much as I can.

By Charles Payet (not verified) on 25 Apr 2016 #permalink

FWIW, my 'pure' demographic model predicts Clinton will win DE and MD, Sanders will win CT, PA, and RI, although CT and PA are within the about 8.5% rms error. The exact numbers are:

State, Clinton%

Also, currently this model predicts Clinton will win CA with 52.7% of the vote, again, within the 8.5% rms error.

Hm. I am not entirely confident that your model predicts California terribly well. California has relatively few black voters for its size (the LA area is where most are) but Sanders' appeal to Latino voters hasn't been all that great either. He needs to win by a LOT to make much difference, and he needs to improve his standing among black voters (which currently runs at ~30-35% or thereabouts) by a good 10-15 percentage points to get even with Clinton to begin with. Among Latinos I suspect the situation is similar. I bet once the dust clears you'll see a split similar to New York. Clinton will win the biggest population centers in LA and San Diego, and the Central Valley. Sanders will pull support as you go north and get a chunk of San Francisco. The dividing line will run roughly along I-80.

I mentioned way back at the Iowa caucuses that Sanders might do well in MA because of the concentration of schools there, but clearly that was wrong. (College students are enthusiastic but true to historical form they have not showed up at the polls).

I'd also be interested in whether Sanders' Sandy Hook comments would hurt him in CT. I haven't spoken to any of the Democratic operatives I knew there and that was almost 20 years back; I'd be interested to see what they have to say now. I said before New England was very much the soul of the Democrats and right now it looks like at best an even split for Sanders -- if he's lucky.

I could see a narrow race for Sanders in PA as in Michigan, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Also, I recall the model had a narrow Sanders win when you started, did it not? Though I also acknowledge that polling in primaries tends to be iffy.

I do think that this primary season we've seen the effect of 20 years of politicking and building support, at least on the part of Clinton. We forget that most people are "low information" voters, which doesn't mean they are stupid, just that they have other stuff to do. Caucuses reward the committed, and Sanders' supporters are certainly that. Open Primaries mean that you can rally people who aren't terribly committed to a party (a good thing in some ways) but that population is not as solid as you'd like. Registered party folk are just more likely to come to the voting booth in November.

That said primaries reward the person who gets the votes, and Clinton has had an organization in place for decades. And most of us (much as we like to pretend otherwise) will respond to endorsements from people we know. If the guy you voted for backs Clinton then odds are you will respond more favorably to Clinton, just as when your family and friends votes one way there's a strong tendency to follow that.

Clinton built up the organization and the votes. Sanders didn't, and now we are seeing the payoff. (This isn't because Sanders is an idiot or anything like that; he just wasn't in a position to run a national campaign before).

Could Sanders pull a rabbit out of a hat? Yes, but I suspect he won't. Even if superdelegates didn't exist he'd be in trouble.

By this time tomorrow, Senator Sanders will know that his nomination will be realistically improbable. Secretary Clinton will gain enough delegates today to make the inevitable very clear. The math looked grim for him before today. I would expect an announcement from his camp by the end of the week.
He did a great job implementing his agenda in her campaign. As long as Trump, & or Cruz, stays on the ballot for Nov., they will do what she could not do on her own, energize the liberal voter to hit the booth( a sadly difficult thing to do). A large voter turnout will not bode well for the GOP. The Dems will get the Senate back for a couple years, & the House is a possibility as well. By late summer, Mitch McConnell will realize that Merit Garland is a sweet deal for the GOP, & will authorize the Senate to get him appointed ASAP. too late to salvage this judicial session, but before they have to consider who the President Elect will offer them, which will undoubtedly look nowhere near as appealing to them as Merit.

By Frederick (not verified) on 26 Apr 2016 #permalink

The Senate can't win with Garland. If they stick to their unconstitutional guns and refuse to consider him, they're in trouble in November. If they consider him, they lost that fight and their own base will turn on them,even though, as you say, get a good deal but their base will not realize it.

My preference is a Dem wins in November, the Senate turns, they make the 51% rule, SDO retires, and Clinton/Sanders appoints two justices and boom, the SCOTUS is done for a while.

"SDO retires"? Sandra Day O'Connor retired in 2006. You mean you hope Clarence Thomas retires?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 26 Apr 2016 #permalink

Ha. Sorry, I was thinking of RBG.

But CT can retire any time he wants, too.

If CT retires, how long would it take before anyone noticed he wasn't there (as in, asking questions, making intelligent comments, etc.)?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 26 Apr 2016 #permalink

Q: does anyone think that a supreme court nominee is a go to issue for voters though?

For you it is, for me it is, but is it for most folks who aren't political junkies? How many people can even name a supreme court nominee when it happens?

At the end of the day the whole process is a bit insider-y and I've found that such things don't motivate voters a lot, except at the local level where people know the players -- sometimes personally. The further up the ladder you go, the less people seem to care.

I think the supreme court actually does figure into a lot of people's thinking, but that is just a supposition on my par. I'm sure there is some info/evidence to test that idea out there somewhere.

For right-wingers the Court is a real hot-button issue, because it is [only] the Supreme Court that keeps preventing them from imposing various aspects of Christian Shari'a at the state level. Getting more fanatics appointed to the Court is one of their very top goals. Lefties equally dislike the consequences of certain Court decisions, but seem not to spend as much emotional energy demonizing the justices for it.

winning or lossing apart the activist in Third World countries are happy that a new narrative has taken roots in American society 99%Vs 1%. Thanks to activism of Bernie Sanders and intellectual work of Joseph Stiglitz, Noam Chomsky , Howard Zinn, Eqbal Ahmed edward Saeed and others. We have collectively inherited this earth and should come to the conclusion in 21st century that all human beings are entitled to live peacefully and in relative prosperity in a global society . A win for Bernie Sanders will augur well for all working class of the world.

By Ayub Malik (not verified) on 16 May 2016 #permalink