South Carolina was devastating for Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts may well mean the end of any real chance for his campaign. South Carolina was way worse than expected. The worst of the worst poll said he would lose by 50. It seemed like an outrageous outlier. It wasn’t. There is no sugarcoating it. If the same happens on Tuesday, it would spell the end for Sanders campaign, even if he were to win Massachusetts and Vermont.
It isn’t going to be the worst possible outcome for Sanders everywhere (which would mean he would be down 300 pledged delegates), but it does look like he is going to lose Massachusetts. As a matter of fact, I think Super Tuesday may look closer to the best reasonably possible outcome for Sanders (down just 100 delegates … and this is where the Hillary Clinton campaign is conservatively pegging things). My best guess is that Sanders will be down between 150-200 delegates. There will be no ability to spin, pivot, or recover after a Massachusetts loss, however. The Clinton campaign will essentially declare victory, and the national media, reasonably so, will go along with it.
Here are the worst possibilities*, the best possibilities, my analysis and forecast for each state, and what to watch as exit polling and real results start to come in tomorrow night.
Worst – HC +27 Delegates HC 62 BS 33
Best – HC +12 Delegates HC 53 BS 42
My Analysis – A CBS/YouGov poll (HC +20%) has a lot of things right in terms of demographics by age, but under-polled Latina/os by 4-5%, Black voters by 5-7%, and Asian voters by 6%. PPP’s poll was mid-February, but had a very accurate representation of hispanic and Asian (or other) voters. Other voters (including Asians) were going for Sanders, interestingly, by 21%. Hispanic respondents still didn’t know much about Sanders and hadn’t made up their minds. Clinton was winning them by 30%, but 44% hadn’t made up their minds. Sanders shouldn’t have given up on this state so easily. Virginia’s economy is doing fairly well at 18th in the nation, and it is perhaps the most “establishment” state in dixieland. I’d like to quietly hope wildly for a very surprising single digit margin, but won’t. If Sanders had put appropriate resources into the campaign here, in Texas, in South Carolina, in Arkansas, and held serve in Massachusetts, this would have been an entirely different race. Let’s go with PPP at 22%. (D:58-37)
To Watch: Polls close at 7pm eastern. A significant population of Latina/os with 5% and Asians 7% – definitely, definitely, definitely check those exit polls for a breakdown of how they are voting.
Worst – HC +8 Delegates HC 49 BS 42
Best – BS +7 Delegates HC 43 BS 48
My Analysis: The polling is bad that has Clinton at +8. Too few millennials by 4-9%. Too few Latina/os. But the race is tighter than Sanders fans may have hoped it to be. Correcting for the errors in that poll still made the race awful close. A new poll from UMass out this morning is the death knell. That poll called the margin in New Hampshire exactly right this year. There have been undecideds in this state, including most especially the very popular Elizabeth Warren; Massachusetts could have gone Sanders all the way up through the disaster on Saturday. People want to vote with winners. And, yes, MA is a fairly White and Liberal state, but it’s white and liberal and establishment in a year where a dominant campaign theme is anti-establishment policies and rhetoric. HC +2 (D:47-44)
To Watch: Polls close at 8pm eastern. If Clinton does indeed pull off a win in this state, as Nate Silver now also very much predicts, he and the media as a whole will write the Sanders’ campaign obituary. Premature by a bit, perhaps, but very likely correct anyhow. It’s hard to see how Sanders could pick up any real momentum in states until late March. By then, even the most ardent Bernie Bro will likely be drowning sorrows in March Madness. Read More