Projections for Sanders v. Clinton March 22-26

All in all, I did mediocre or worse at projections for the Ides of March contests between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

I nailed the outcome in North Carolina exactly (13.8% victory for Clinton, where RCP had Clinton +24.0 and FiveThirtyEight’s Polls Plus projected a 24.6% Clinton victory). I also correctly called Sanders winning more than 44% of the vote in Cook County (Chicago), Illinois. He took 45.6% of the vote there. Cook County is majority non-white alone (24% Black, 24% Latina or Latino, 43% white alone). This in and of itself should interrupt the “Sanders can’t compete in diverse places” narrative. It hasn’t.

Nevertheless, I was wrong by 7.1 points in Florida, 7.6 points in Illinois, 9.6 points in Missouri (also wrongly calling who would win), and 12.0% in Ohio. In each case, I was bias toward Sanders. My average for last Tuesday was a 5.26% Bernie bias.  I signaled my model couldn’t really accurately predict Florida. I also said that Sanders likely had a Kasich problem and had short-shrifted Ohio in competing for Florida. Both were true. He also had a Spring Break at The Ohio State and Cleveland State problem. And Ohio is one of a tiny number of states that has never voted against a Clinton where it had a chance to vote for one of them. I stated that I wouldn’t be surprised by a 10 to 12 point Sanders loss in Ohio. The Facebook Primary model actually suggested that, as it did a very slight win for Clinton in Illinois. It would have predicted a very slight win for Sanders in Missouri.

I would have done much better if I had simply stuck with the Facebook Primary model and called 35-40 points for Clinton in Florida, 10-15 for Clinton in Ohio, 15-20 for Clinton in North Carolina, and races too close to call in Illinois and Missouri. So what does the Facebook Primary, adjusted to USPD, tell us about the next six races between today and Saturday?

Utah, Idaho, and Alaska look even better for Sanders than similarly situated states Oklahoma, Nebraska, and even Kansas. My projections for them run accordingly. Hawai’i and Washington look even better for Sanders than similarly strong Blue leaning purple state Minnesota, with Washington in a stronger position for Sanders than Hawai’i. Arizona looks very similar to Nevada and Iowa with a slight nudge toward Sanders (details in note below). Arizona is the toughest to call and the most important contest of the six. In the other five, he should win by an average of much more than the now well-known 58% of delegates he needs in the remaining races. 58% is likely his absolute max win in Arizona, but he could also lose the state, perhaps by as many as five to ten points or more. Interestingly, it seems as if Sanders’ share of the Latino vote is tracking very closely with Obama’s in 2008 (Nevada being the exception). Clinton won with Latinx voters 56%-41% in Arizona in 2008. With likely as much as 30% of the Arizona Dem primary being Latina or Latino according to a press release from SVREP, if these are the numbers again, Sanders will likely lose decisively. My projections here are hewing very very closely to the Facebook Primary, adjusted to USPD.

State    Spread                  Delegates
Utah +35.8 Sanders        HC 9 BS 24
Idaho +25.6 Sanders       HC 9 BS 14
Arizona +0.8 Sanders      HC 37 BS 38
Hawai’i +24.9 Sanders     HC 9 BS 16
Washington +40 Sanders HC 30 BS 71
Alaska +39.4 Sanders      HC 5 BS 11
Clinton 99      Sanders 174

Even with these whopping wins, Sanders still has almost no real chance to catch up, in my view, with Clinton having jumped out to a +300 delegate lead. I said Sanders needed to crack 300 delegates last week just to make it into no-man’s-land. He didn’t. Even the most generous projections of how all the delegates will shake out puts him at 294 votes. Adding in the Dems Abroad vote which came in yesterday (9-4 delegates for Sanders), one could say he may have just barely made the cut-off. If he wins big everywhere and manages a decisive win in Arizona, I will re-run the projection. Otherwise, I’ll stand by my view that he cannot pull this off even if he does the best he can possibly do from here on out. (A Clinton indictment, or the FBI saying she should be, would obviously throw things off considerably).

Note: Clinton was at +1 to her national average in the Facebook Primary in Nevada and Iowa, while Sanders was dead even to his in Iowa and +1 in Nevada. Adjusted to USPD, that means the model projected small wins for Clinton in both with the race too close to actually call. In Arizona, Clinton is at -1 to her national average with Sanders dead even. This suggests an even race, with a slight lead for Sanders. I think Sanders has put in far more effort and resources and could win by as many as eight to ten points. Slightly less likely, however, is a five to ten point loss for Sanders if he simply could not gain enough traction with Latino voters in Phoenix and elsewhere.


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