Author Archives: Jim Ellis

Tuesday Tells the Tale

March 15, 2016 — It’s very likely that today’s results from the all-important Ohio and Florida Winner-Take-All Republican contests will determine whether Donald Trump wins the GOP presidential nomination, or whether the campaign descends into a contested convention.

While Trump appears to be well ahead in Florida, and is the odds-on favorite to capture that state’s 99 delegates, the Ohio race is very much in doubt.

FOR MORE INSIGHT, READ MY LATEST FLOOR FIGHT COLUMN: FLOOR FIGHT

Though Trump is approaching a mid 40s support range in the last three Sunshine State polls, and appears 20-plus points ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), it is important to remember that only registered Republicans can vote in tomorrow’s closed primary. Therefore, Trump’s polling numbers may be a bit inflated if the pollsters were not properly screening solely for registered Republican voters.

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Post-March 15; Rep. Miller to Retire

March 14, 2016 — With Donald Trump having a seemingly secure lead in the Florida Winner-Take-All primary but possibly in danger of losing the Ohio WTA, the next most important contest is the Arizona Winner-Take-All (58 delegates) primary scheduled for March 22nd.

A new Arizona Republic/MBQF Consulting Poll (March 8; 751 likely Arizona Republican primary voters through automated response device) finds Trump leading the three remaining candidates, 37-23-15-12 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is second in the tally, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The results are not surprising in that Arizona is at the forefront of the immigration issue, and a state whose populous, according to previous survey research and vote history, generally favors construction of the border wall that Trump has been championing throughout the campaign.

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The Real Super Tuesday

March 11, 2016 — March 1 earned the billing of “Super Tuesday” because 13 states held a primary or caucus that day, but the real deciding date at least for Republicans is next week’s Tuesday, March 15.

The true action in the coming days is on the Republican side despite Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upset Michigan victory earlier this week. Should Donald Trump win both the key Winner-Take-All states of Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66), he would isolate himself as the only candidate able to win a first ballot victory.

If Trump converts Florida and Ohio, and places first in the proportional states of North Carolina (72 delegates) and Illinois (69), as polling currently suggests, while taking a significant share of the Missouri congressional district Winner-Take-All format (52), he will likely fall into the range of committing approximately 712 delegate votes by next Wednesday morning. This means he would need 53.4 percent of the 983 available delegates from the 22 post-March 15 remaining voting entities in order to secure a first ballot victory.

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More Questions

March 10, 2016 — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ upset victory over former Secretary of State and race leader Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary is causing people to ask some surprising questions. Factoring in Clinton’s overwhelming 83 percent victory in the Mississippi primary, she will add to her national delegate lead so she is still in strong shape for the nomination despite the Wolverine State setback … at least for now.

The top observation spawning from Tuesday night pertains to whether Sanders can take advantage of the campaign schedule once it moves more toward the type of states where he has consistently been winning. Can he fully capitalize upon an election calendar that is about to become much more favorable to him?

Since Clinton’s strong delegate lead is largely based upon her overwhelming dominance among Super Delegates — those elected Democratic officials and party leaders who are largely free agents at the convention — will those individuals begin to back away if Sanders overtakes her among the regular delegates?

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It’s Coming Down to Ohio

By Jim Ellis

March 9, 2016 — Donald Trump placed first in three of the four states last night, meaning next week’s Ohio Winner-Take-All contest may well determine if the Republicans will nominate a candidate on the first ballot or plummet into a contested convention. Sen. Marco Rubio had a terrible night, with only the two delegates he earned in Hawaii saving him from being shutout.

THE DELEGATE COUNT

REPUBLICANS:

Michigan Primary – 59 Delegates (15% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 36.5% 25 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 24.9% 17
John Kasich – 24.3% 17
Marco Rubio – 9.3%
Mississippi Primary – 40 Delegates (15% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 47.3% 25 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 36.3% 15
John Kasich – 8.8%
Marco Rubio – 5.1%
Idaho Primary – 32 Delegates (20% Vote Threshold)
Ted Cruz – 45.4% 20 Delegates
Donald Trump – 28.1% 12
Marco Rubio – 15.9%
John Kasich — 7.4%
Hawaii Caucus – 19 Delegates (0% Vote Threshold)
Donald Trump – 42.4% 7 Delegates
Ted Cruz – 32.7% 5
John Kasich — 10.6% 2
Marco Rubio – 13.2% 2
RNC Uncommitted 3

UPDATED GOP NATIONAL DELEGATE COUNT (UNOFFICIAL):

CANDIDATE DELEGATES PERCENTAGE
Donald Trump 460 43.7
Ted Cruz 361 34.3
Marco Rubio 156 14.8
John Kasich 56 5.3
Ben Carson 8
Others 7
Uncommitted 5
Needed to win: 1,237

In order for Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot, he will have to commit just over 54 percent of the remaining delegates, or 25 percent better than his performance to date. For Sen. Cruz to win on the first ballot, he must obtain 62 percent of the remaining delegate pool, or an improvement of 80 percent over his current rate of delegate acquisition.

The March 15 primaries that feature the Winner-Take-All states of Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66 delegates) will be critical in determining if the Republicans can nominate a candidate on the first ballot.

The five states and one territory voting next Tuesday will apportion 367 Republican delegates. With Trump running strongly in Florida, it is likely that Ohio will determine the nomination campaign’s future course. Should Trump win, he has a path to a first ballot majority. If Gov. Kasich scores the 66 delegates, then a brokered convention becomes the likely end game scenario.

Sanders’ Major Upset

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ surprising win in Michigan last night adds a bit of intrigue to the Democratic battle. Winning in a big state with a significant African-American population for the first time, Sanders may be giving Democratic Super Delegates some reason for pause.

Until possibly now, Hillary Clinton has dominated Super Delegate acquisition, which is responsible for her large overall lead in committed delegate votes. But, most of the Super Delegates are not bound on the first ballot. Therefore, they can change their positions.

Since Sanders runs consistently better among white Democratic voters than does Clinton, and most of the states featuring few black voters are still to come, there is reason to believe that he could catch her in the regular delegate category. If so, will the Super Delegates begin to fold? It may become difficult for them, a delegate category comprised of Democratic elected officials and party leaders, to oppose their state constituents.

For weeks, it appeared that Clinton was a lock for the nomination, and still maintains the inside track, no doubt. Yet, there is a glimmer of hope for the Sanders camp, and now a scenario is developing that brings him back into the game.

The adjusted delegate totals account for more Super Delegate declarations and pledged assignments (needed to win: 2,383):
Total Hillary Clinton: 1,229
Total Bernie Sanders: 575
Clinton Super Delegates: 90
Sanders Super Delegates: 575
Clinton Regular Delegates: 707
Sanders Regular Delegates: 485
Delegate Compilation Source: The Green Papers website