Category Archives: Primary

Super Tuesday

By Jim Ellis

March 1, 2016 — Today is perhaps the most important day of the 2016 presidential nomination campaign as voters in 12 states and territories (11 for Republicans) visit the polls or caucus meetings to make their political selections.

Here’s what’s on tap:

Democrats

Democrats apportion delegates through a straight proportional system in all 57 voting entities with no vote qualification threshold. The Super Delegates are certain elected officials and party leaders from the various states, who are free agents throughout convention voting. The regular delegates are bound by state law to vote as the people have at least on the first ballot. There appears to be no chance that the Democratic process goes beyond one ballot.

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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.

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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What New Hampshire Tells Us

Feb. 11, 2016 — The New Hampshire polling proved correct. Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders were the easy victors in their respective Republican and Democratic primaries Tuesday, but what does that tell us?

First, the Sanders’ victory, as impressive as it was (projected to finish at a 60-38 percent spread), will be short lived. Despite his large victory at the polls, Sanders still trails badly in committed delegate votes. According to the best available delegate projection calculations, Sanders won the New Hampshire delegate count by a 15-9 margin from the committed pool.

Combined with Iowa, Hillary Clinton trails among the regular delegate group, 36-32, but reportedly has another 362 committed Super Delegates as compared to Sanders committing only six of the at-large votes. Thus, the unofficial delegate count is 394-42 in favor of Clinton, but her support number is only 16.5 percent of the total that she needs to clinch the nomination.

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NH Predictions Hold; Forbes in VB

Feb. 10, 2016 — New Hampshire voters went to the polls yesterday for the long-anticipated New Hampshire presidential primary. A plethora of pre-primary political surveys suggested that Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders would win the respective Republican and Democratic primaries there. And they were right.

Though the media gives undue attention to this first-in-the-nation primary in relation to its size, long-term momentum is often built in the Granite State. For Republicans, New Hampshire possesses only 23 delegates (from a universe of 2,472), 20 of which are apportioned by today’s vote. On the Democratic side, this primary awards 32 delegates from an overall universe of 4,763.

With Trump placing first as the last 10 public polls all suggested –- in margins from nine to 21 points – he leads the pack of GOP candidates with a cumulative 18 total delegates even when combining his New Hampshire and Iowa totals. This still is less than two percent of the number that he, or any other contender, needs to clinch the nomination.

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