March 10, 2020 — During the early prognostication phase regarding the Democratic presidential nomination campaign, the two most important primary dates appeared to be March 3, Super Tuesday, and March 17. The latter date is important because more than 60 percent of the first ballot would be locked into place once St. Patrick’s Day voting ends.
That actually may not now be the case, however. Rather, the clinching primaries may be today.
The March 10 elections, featuring six states, haven’t attracted much attention, but the half-dozen results tonight could be the defining moment for coalescing around a new nominee.
Looking at today’s voting in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) looks to have his back up against the wall. It would be hard to see him continuing in viable fashion if he fails to win all of the day’s northern states, and particularly Michigan, which has 125 first-ballot bound delegates.
Late polling, however, is suggesting that former vice president Joe Biden may sweep the six states, and that might be what he needs to at least unofficially clinch the party nomination.
Three late Michigan surveys, from a place where Sen. Sanders held the lead over the Democratic field and slipped past Hillary Clinton in 2016, 50-48 percent, suggest the electorate is now turning toward Biden in a big way. In fact, the Target Insyght poll taken on Sunday, typically not a good polling day, through an automated voice response system (March 8; 600 likely Michigan Democratic primary voters) finds Biden outpacing Sen. Sanders by 41 percentage points, a breathtaking turnaround from pre-Super Tuesday research studies. The TI result finds the Biden split over Sanders at 65-24 percent.
Others don’t show this level of separation, but they are projecting Biden to be developing a substantial advantage. YouGov (March 6-8; sample size not disclosed) finds the Biden margin to be 54-42 percent. Monmouth University (March 5-8; 411 likely Michigan Democratic primary voters) sees a 15-point Biden advantage, 51-36 percent. Michigan-based pollster EPIC-MRA (March 4-6; 400 likely Michigan Democratic primary voters) finds a similar 51-27 percent. All suggest a big Wolverine State night for Biden, the exact opposite of what Sen. Sanders needs to rebound.
Other late data is showing similar results for today’s voting in the other places. In Missouri, a state where Biden has enjoyed a lead for weeks, Data for Progress (March 4-7; 348 likely Missouri Democratic primary voters) finds his margin growing to 62-32 percent. Mississippi, like Missouri, has been overwhelmingly favorable to Biden since the campaign’s beginning. The most recent data is no exception: Data for Progress (March 4-7; 340 likely Mississippi Democratic primary voters), 77-22 percent.
Washington is likely the second-most important state for Sanders today, and it is a place where he has previously run very well. Against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sen. Sanders scored a whopping 73-27 percent win.
The latest 2020 Washington primary Democratic polls, however, tell us a different story. Data for Progress surveyed the Evergreen State (March 4-5; 737 likely Washington state Democratic primary voters) and they now see Biden slipping past the Vermont senator, 47-44% percent. Survey USA (March 4-6; 550 likely Washington Democratic primary voters) finds a one-point Biden lead, 36-35 percent, but this is with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) still attracting 10 percent of the vote.
New data has been released for three of the four March 17 voting states, and the trend is consistent. The Ogden & Fry firm surveyed the Illinois electorate (March 8; 457 likely Illinois Democratic primary voters) and projects Biden to be holding a commanding 55-26 percent lead over Sen. Sanders.
Point Blank Political (March 6-8; 3,376 likely Florida Democratic primary voters; online) also detects a dominating Biden lead. They see a 61-32 percent split for Florida’s 219 first ballot delegates.
Finally, in Arizona, OH Predictive Insights (March 3-4; 398 likely Arizona Democratic primary voters) gives Biden another landslide advantage, 45-17 percent, over Sen. Sanders.
Polling is clearly showing that Biden is getting into position to sweep the remaining states voting today and next week. Doing so will mean that the former VP will shortly clinch the Democratic presidential nomination and the general election will be underway.