Category Archives: Presidential campaign

Iowa Drags On

By Jim Ellis

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Feb. 5, 2020 — Almost a full day after voting ended, the Iowa Democratic Party released what now accounts for almost three-quarters of the state’s precinct totals, and we may be headed for a split decision.

While South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is being credited as the leader and potential victor, the complicated Iowa system suggests that two candidates can claim a victory of sorts.

Buttigieg leads among the state delegate count, as caucus attenders choose individuals to serve as delegates to the state party convention in order to determine how Iowa’s 41 first-ballot delegates will vote at the Democratic National Convention in mid-July. At this writing, Buttigieg has 26.8 percent of the state delegate contingent, ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 25.2 percent.

In actuality, however, it is Sanders who has more raw votes. At this point, the Vermont senator maintains an approximate 1,300-vote lead over Buttigieg, and 7,000 more than Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Former Vice President Joe Biden performed poorly, attracting only half the total number of votes that Sanders has so far recorded.

Each caucus awards a certain number of delegates regardless of how many people attend the precinct meeting. Like the electoral college in the general election, the bigger entities receive more delegate votes. Therefore, even though Buttigieg received fewer popular votes he did better in the largest areas, thus awarding him a few more state delegates.

In terms of the published projections for the national convention delegate slate it appears that Buttigieg would have 12 votes, Sanders 10, Warren 6, and Biden 3 with ten more to be decided once all of the votes are finally tabulated. It’s possible that while Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) failed to reach the 15 percent threshold she might earn a delegate or two based upon the individual congressional district vote.

Biden, who is currently at just 15.4 percent of the state delegate vote is just barely qualifying for apportionment. If the final outstanding votes cut against him, it’s possible that he could fail to reach the final 15 percent, which would prevent him from earning any at-large national convention delegate votes.

The Iowa Debacle

Iowa Caucus results as of 10:21 am Eastern, 7:21 am Pacific time, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 4, 2020 — The reporting problem that arose in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses last night have left us with no results for what could be as long as a full day or more after votes were cast, but it still appears as if a clear winner and loser have emerged. The winner and loser terms have a different meaning in the Iowa Caucus context, however.

Voters attended meetings in 1,679 precincts and the party organizers were supposed to submit their first ballot and final alignment numbers through a specially designed application. The app failed, and so did the party’s back-up plan. Therefore, while voting occurred in all of the precincts, less than one-third of the totals have been received at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters at the end of the night. The party spokespeople say they will not release any numbers until the entire state reports, and the 1st and 2nd round totals have been verified.

Meeting attenders cast their first ballot and the candidates failing to attain 15 percent support in the precinct were eliminated. In the final alignment round, those voting for a non-qualifying candidate were then lobbied to vote for a candidate who did surpass the 15 percent threshold and would thus qualify for delegates to advance to the state convention on June 13. The state delegates will then vote to assign Iowa’s 41 first-ballot delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but the eventual official apportionment will closely follow the Caucus votes.

What we began seeing from the fastest reporting precincts that were released, and that was less than two percent of the statewide vote, was a bunching at the top among Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were in need of further support from around the state to reach the 15 percent mark, but both are close. Therefore, it does appear possible that all five of these contenders could qualify for a share of the state’s delegates.

The unfolding situation seems to favor one person in particular, while disfavoring another. On the short end is Sen. Sanders, even though he looks to clinch first place. The glitch cost him the opportunity to declare outright victory in a timely fashion before a national television audience. The most fortunate candidate looks to be Biden, whose early performance suggests he might not even qualify for delegates in a substantial number of precincts. The reporting problem prevented headline stories claiming that he was Iowa’s under-performer.

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Iowa Caucus Voting Tonight

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 3, 2020 — The final Iowa Caucus research surveys are providing very different results, while what is traditionally the state’s most reliable poll, from the Des Moines Register through Selzer & Company, is being held back.

The DMR and Selzer have decided not to release their latest data because of potential methodology errors in that a particular candidate’s name was omitted from an unknown number of survey questionnaires. This means the results could be compromised. Therefore, this particular poll will not be made publicly available.

The American Research Group (Jan. 27-30; 400 likely Iowa Democratic caucus meeting attenders) and Park Street Strategies’ (Jan. 24-28; 600 likely Iowa Democratic caucus meeting attenders) studies find different leaders but have a key new point in common.

The ARG findings post Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) atop the field, as most recent polls have shown, with former Vice President Joe Biden in second place with 17 percent. Park Street, however, sees Biden pulling first place support with 20 percent as compared to Sen. Sanders’ 18 percent.

But the biggest change, as both of these pollsters detect, is a late surge coming from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. ARG places her third with 16 percent, just ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who posts 15 percent. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg drops to just nine percent backing.

Park Street also sees Klobuchar jumping into double digits, but not as high as ARG forecasts. PSS projects the Minnesotan to a 12 percent level behind Buttigieg and Warren who both have 17 percent support.

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One Week Out From Iowa,
It’s Looking Like a Four-Way Split

A four-way split? 2020 Democratic presidential candidates (from left) South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (PBS.org photo)

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 28, 2020 — Now, just about one week from the first votes of the 2020 presidential election campaign being cast in Iowa, the most current polling suggests that we could see a four-way split for delegate apportionment in the first two voting states. After Iowans meet in their precinct meetings next Monday, New Hampshire voters will visit their polling places in the nation’s first 2020 presidential primary eight days later on February 11th.

Two new surveys each come from the two states: YouGov/CBS News and Suffolk University/USA Today in Iowa, and the University of New Hampshire/CNN and Marist College/NBC News in the Granite State.

In Iowa, Suffolk University/USA Today (Jan. 23-26; 500 likely Iowa Democratic Caucus attenders) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the rest of the field, 25-19-18-13-8 percent. In third place is former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) follows, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) takes the drop into fifth place.

Based upon this poll, Biden, Sanders, and Buttigieg would qualify for delegate apportionment, while the actual vote would likely push Sen. Warren over the minimum threshold, as well. Iowa has 41 first-ballot delegates.

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Delegate Reallocation
Brings Increase to 4,750

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 22, 2020 — As we approach the first votes being cast for the Democratic presidential nomination next month, the Democratic National Committee has reallocated delegate slots among certain state contingents, thus increasing the size of the overall delegate universe to 4,750.

The changes are relatively substantial within the states when compared to the last national convention in 2016, while the recent Super Delegate total sees an increase of five new votes. The alterations within the state counts — an increase in every affected place but California — feature an additional 210 delegate votes when compared with the totals from four years ago.

Most of the boosts reflect a reward for increased Democratic votes in the 2016 and 2018 elections. The calculations include results in the recent races for president, US Senate, US House, governor, and for state legislature. States that hold their presidential nominating event after April 1 are also rewarded.

The largest increases are found in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey where their respective delegations have grown by 50, 33, and 19 slots respectively, largely due to Democratic gains in the US House and state legislatures particularly from the 2018 elections. New Jersey, for example, converted a governor’s chair to the Democratic column in their 2019 election, after gaining five congressional seats in 2018 and ‘16, thus accounting for their delegation increase. And, all three states vote after April 1.

California’s regular delegate total has been reduced by one vote, possibly for moving their previous June primary to before April 1, on Super Tuesday, March 3. The state still has, by far, the largest contingent with 494 total delegates and 415 of those voting on the first ballot. The next largest delegation, after calculating their increase, is New York with 320 overall delegate slots, 274 of which are eligible to cast first-ballot votes.

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