Category Archives: Polling

Super Tuesday, But for Whom?

Feb. 26, 2016 — The next presidential voting event occurs this Saturday for Democrats in South Carolina, but that race is close to an end. When Hillary Clinton easily wins the Palmetto State primary, and then launches into a southern Super Tuesday sweep, the nomination will effectively be hers. But, the real action is with the Republicans.

Next Tuesday, March 1, Republican voters in 12 states will go to the polls to possibly begin officially crowning a presidential nominee, at least according to most news stories.

The media is promoting Donald Trump’s Nevada victory as possibly more than it is, however. Though his 46 percent margin was impressive and anyone’s best showing to date, Nevada has just 30 total delegates and the turnout was only about 18 percent of the total registered Republican universe. Therefore, contrary to popular opinion, the GOP nomination campaign is not yet over.

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Trump Takes Nevada

Feb. 25, 2016 — As expected, Donald Trump placed first in the Nevada Caucuses scoring just under 46 percent of the attender preference; his strongest performance to date, though the turnout was only in the 75,000 range. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was second with 24 percent, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 21 percent. Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) trailed with five and four percent, respectively.

Though he didn’t emphasize Nevada at all, Gov. Kasich’s dead last finish behind Carson cannot be good for his pre-Ohio staying power.

Nevada apportions 30 delegates on a straight proportional basis with a zero percent vote threshold. With these percentages, Trump is expected to commit 14 delegate votes, Rubio seven, Cruz six, Carson two, and Kasich one. The small totals mean that Nevada is only partially determinative regarding GOP nomination direction.

Trump didn’t score a knockout punch, but no one expected any different. Trump adds incrementally to his delegate advantage but is the undisputed leader heading into the 12-state Super Tuesday bonanza on March 1. Those contests, mostly in the south, will go a long way to deciding whether Trump can best position himself to capture the party nomination.

Though he was projected to be the top finisher just after the Caucus meetings closed, Trump still failed to clear a 50 percent majority, and the aggregate total for Rubio and Cruz virtually equaled the current leader’s Nevada total. To win the nomination, a candidate must secure a delegate majority, meaning 1,237 from the universe of 2,472 total Republican convention delegate votes.

The important upcoming Super Tuesday states to watch are the five that require 20 percent of the vote to qualify for delegate apportionment: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. All use the 20 percent threshold system, meaning a candidate must attain this vote percentage to qualify for vote distribution. Now that Dr. Carson and Gov. Kasich are fading, it is likely that the three top contenders, Trump, Rubio, and Cruz, will break 20 percent in four of those states, just as they did tonight in Nevada. Gov. Kasich, who is targeting the northern tier states for Super Tuesday, could well qualify in Vermont, but the delegate pool there is small.

If such a result occurs in those five states along with Arkansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia, Alaska, and the non-binding Wyoming precinct caucuses, Trump may well score further first place finishes, but he still won’t be near the majority mark necessary to clinch the nomination. Therefore, the primaries and caucuses will continue on through 17 more states and territories through March 15, culminating with the big Winner-Take-All states of Florida and Ohio.

On the evening of March 15, 32 voting entities will have cast their ballots and a clear pattern will have formed. Under the present vote and delegate commitment ratios, it appears that no candidate, including Trump, will have the necessary delegate votes to effectively clinch the nomination. Therefore, assuming both Cruz and Rubio remain able to attract significant delegate support, having a brokered Republican convention still looms as a possibility.

Next Steps in the Presidential Race

Feb. 23, 2016 — South Carolina Republicans went to the polls in record numbers (737,924 voter turnout, far surpassing the previous high of 601,166; a 23 percent increase) on Saturday to give Donald Trump all 50 of the state’s delegates.

Because South Carolina uses a Winner-Take-All by congressional district system, Trump placing first in all seven seats gave him a combined 21 delegates. Matched with the 29 at-large delegates he received for winning the statewide count, a backdoor Winner-Take-All result occurred.

In Nevada, while Hillary Clinton’s 53-47 percent win in the Democratic Caucuses was close, the psychological effect and momentum swing prove greater than her percentage margin. A Bernie Sanders victory could have begun to seriously unravel the Clinton campaign just when the former Secretary of State was fighting to overcome the aftermath of a frayed early start. Safely clearing Nevada, she is now has the chance to score big in her strongest geographical region: the South.

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Nevada and SC Numbers

Feb. 19, 2016 — All of the presidential campaigns head to the Nevada Caucus next Tuesday: the Republicans immediately after their South Carolina primary Saturday, and the Democrats before their own Palmetto State vote on Feb.  27.

A new Nevada Caucus CNN/ORC survey (Feb. 10-15; 1,006 adults; 282 likely Nevada Democratic Caucus attenders, 245 likely Nevada Republican Caucus attenders) finds Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) pulling into a virtual tie with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, trailing 48-47 percent.

Even a Sanders victory in Nevada would do little to help him close the delegate gap, however. It is likely that Clinton will actually gain a greater advantage, win or lose, because of her dominance within the Super Delegate category. Whether increased Sanders’ momentum from another strong electoral performance will help him in the Deep South is questionable. Such won’t be known until the following Saturday in South Carolina and throughout the southern region including Texas, the third-largest delegate pool (252) within the Democratic universe, on March 1.

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Justice Scalia and the Presidential Election; Latest South Carolina Polls

Feb. 16, 2016 — The sudden death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend will have a major effect upon the 2016 presidential elections. Both sides will now emphasize base issues such as abortion and 2nd Amendment rights in order to energize their respective constituencies. The heightened political atmosphere could lead to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.

Expect the Supreme Court vacancy to dominate the political coverage for the rest of the year. The high court situation not only changes the open presidential campaign, but it puts new importance upon the US Senate campaigns because the Scalia replacement confirmation battle could possibly be delayed to 2017. Since neither party will have close to the 60 seats needed to invoke cloture, we can expect this contentious situation to be unresolved for months.

South Carolina

Two new polls were released over the weekend, from the American Research Group (Feb. 12-13; 400 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters) and CBS/YouGov (Feb. 10-12; 744 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters). GOP voters cast their ballots in the party-run primary this coming Saturday, Feb. 20, while their Democratic Party counterparts will vote a week later on Feb. 27.

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