Projected Democrat Delegate Count

By Jim Ellis

Aug. 12, 2019 — Several polls in key states have been released in early August, so it is a good time to again review the Democratic presidential delegate count estimate based upon the available data.

Projected delegate counts based on polling in nine key states of Democratic candidates jockeying for their party’s nomination for president in 2020.

We see new polls from Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Adding the numbers from Nevada and South Carolina — important because this pair is part of the momentum setting First Four — we can gain a decent, though not wholly accurate, picture of where the race would stand if delegate apportionment were based upon these polling totals.

The most current surveys come from North Carolina, Iowa, and Pennsylvania all conducted between July 29 and Aug. 5.

In chronological order, based upon the latest studies, we begin with the Tar Heel State. Survey USA polled the North Carolina Democratic electorate (Aug. 1-5; 534 likely North Carolina Democratic primary voters) and find former Vice President Joe Biden leading his opponents by 21 points. He would post 36 percent as compared to Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) scoring 15 and 13 percent, respectively. All others fall to single digits.

Accounting for some of the lower-tier candidates eventually dropping out before voting begins, it is likely that the three listed above would exceed the 15 percent threshold to qualify for delegates. If so, Biden would capture approximately 62 delegates, Sen. Sanders would earn 26, and Sen. Warren, 22.

Monmouth University conducted a new Iowa poll (Aug. 1-4; 401 likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants) and found much different results than when we last visited this electorate through the Change Research data in July. Those results projected the top five candidates qualifying for delegate apportionment, but Monmouth sees things quite differently.

According to their latest numbers, it is only Biden and Sen. Warren who would exceed the 15 percent threshold and qualify for delegates, polling at 28 and 19 percent respectively. Therefore, Iowa’s 41 first ballot delegates would split 24 for Biden and 17 for Warren.

Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College next released a survey for the Keystone State electorate, but its Democratic sample size is a very small 295 respondents. Still, this gives us at least an idea as for whom the PA voters might break if the nomination election were today. According to this poll, only Biden and Warren would qualify for delegates because their respective 28 and 21 percent would split the state’s 186 first-ballot delegates. In the F&M survey, Sen. Sanders posts 12 percent, and no other candidate breaks into double-digits.

Using the delegate allocation formula, Biden would capture 106 Pennsylvania delegate votes while Sen. Warren would be awarded 80.

Survey USA also polled the tight California electorate (Aug. 1-5; 528 likely California Democratic primary voters) and finds that four candidates would receive a share of the largest state’s delegate contingent of 416 votes. The poll breaks for Biden (25 percent), Warren (21 percent), Sanders (18 percent), and Harris (17 percent), which translates into 128 delegate votes for Biden and 108 for Warren. Sanders would score 92, and home state Sen. Harris, dropping in all polls, would secure only 88 delegate votes.

Washington, moving to a primary for the first time and whose voters will cast their ballots in conjunction with the March 10 date, is another state where little polling has been done. Zogby Analytics released their survey results from the July 22-Aug. 1 study (619 likely Washington Democratic primary voters) that yields Biden only a 19-18 percent edge over Sen. Sanders, with Sen. Warren posting 14 percent. Her number would likely exceed 15 percent at the time of the vote considering that many candidates would have exited.

Under these results, the approximate delegate apportionment would break 33-31-25 for Biden, Sanders, and Warren, in that order, thus dispersing the state’s 89 first ballot delegates.

The University of Texas at Tyler has been polling extensively of late, and they just released a new study (Aug. 1-4; 534 likely Texas Democratic primary voters) that also finds a closely bunched field. Here, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke factors into the mix to a great degree. The results find Biden and O’Rourke virtually tied at the top (24-23 percent) with Sen. Sanders recording 18 percent support and Sen. Warren dropping to 10 percent. Therefore, the top three would split the state’s 228 first ballot delegates, 84-81-63 for Biden, O’Rourke, and Sanders.

Finally, Suffolk University polled New Hampshire (Aug. 1-4; 500 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters) and sees Biden re-claiming the lead with 21 percent over Sens. Sanders and Warren who have 17 and 14 percent, respectively. Assuming all would qualify to split the 24 first ballot delegates, the apportionment would split 10-8-6 for Biden, Sanders, and Warren.

In order to include Nevada and South Carolina, we refer to previously calculated polls conducted earlier in the summer. Using those numbers, the delegates would break 19-10-7 for Biden, Warren and Sanders, while the South Carolina delegate count would project: Biden 31, Sanders 12, and Harris 11.

Therefore, the aggregate totals when combining these nine important states would yield the following delegate count standing:

Biden 497
Warren 268
Sanders 239
Harris 99
O’Rourke 81

While Biden has a substantial lead and is much stronger when compared to his numbers of one month ago, he is still well below majority pace. From these nine states, in order to capture a first-ballot victory, Biden would need 593 delegate votes, or 96 more than he currently projects.

Obviously, these delegate calculations are mere estimates and the entire delegate count is extrapolated based upon a projected statewide result. In actuality, the delegates are apportioned from both the statewide result and through the individual congressional districts. Still, this rudimentary delegate counting does give us an idea as to where the candidates might be standing today, and clearly depicts that Biden has regained strength within the Democratic electorates from these important states.

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