Tag Archives: brokered convention

Within a Week . . .

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 27, 2020 — Now, just two days away from the South Carolina primary and a mere five from Super Tuesday, it’s time to again determine candidate progress for what is arguably the most important primary election day of this presidential nomination cycle.


Currently, now that the Nevada Democratic Party has ostensibly tabulated the remaining caucus preference sheets from last Saturday’s Nevada vote, the aggregate bound delegate count gives Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the lead with 45, former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg is second at 26, former vice president Joe Biden posts 15, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) eight, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar holds seven. These numbers will change significantly by this time next week. A total of 1,398 delegate votes will be bound on Super Tuesday evening and 18 states and one territory will have completed their voting process.

We’ve had some polling movement in several of the Super Tuesday states that make a tight race even closer. North Carolina, with 110 first ballot delegates, at least according to one polling firm has lapsed into a three-way tie. Spry Strategies (Feb. 21-23; 561 likely North Carolina Democratic primary voters) finds former VP Biden, ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Sen. Sanders locked into a three-way tie, each with 20 percent support. None of the other candidates appear close to the 15 percent delegate allocation threshold in the Tar Heel State.

The new Public Policy Polling North Carolina survey turns in similar numbers (Feb. 23-24; 852 likely North Carolina Democratic primary voters) with Biden leading Sanders and Bloomberg, 23-20-17 percent, respectively. PPP agrees with Spry in projecting that only these three men will qualify for delegates. Such a split, assuming the congressional delegation allocation yields the same ratio, would find each of the three candidates receiving approximately 35-37 first-ballot votes.

The latest YouGov poll (Feb. 6-18; 1,352 likely Texas Democratic primary voters; online) also finds a tie, but this time in the Lone Star State with again three candidates winning bound delegates. The data finds Biden and Sanders tied with 20 percent, and Sen. Warren getting into delegate contention with 17 percent. If the actual Texas votes break similarly to this ratio, it would mean Bloomberg would fail to qualify for at-large delegates, leading to a fight for delegate allocation within each of the 31 state Senate districts. While other states divide by congressional districts, Texas uses state Senate seats.

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Projecting Delegates

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 24, 2020 — It is becoming clearer that the Democratic presidential contest could result in an open, or “brokered”, convention. This would occur if no candidate secures majority support after the electorates in all the voting entities have cast their ballots and the delegates’ first ballot tallies are locked into place under the individual state laws.

Discounting the Nevada Caucus held over the weekend, only 65 of the 3,979 first-ballot delegate votes have been assigned. By the evening of March 3, however, the aggregate assigned delegate total will soar to 1,398 and we will begin to see sustaining patterns developing.

By March 17, 61 percent of the first-ballot votes will be locked. At that time, it is highly likely we will be able to determine if a candidate can attain majority support or whether multiple ballots will be required to choose a nominee. If this latter scenario occurs, it will be the first time since 1952 that a major party convention is forced to call for more than one ballot to choose a nominee.

Looking past Nevada and onto South Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 29, and then to Super Tuesday just three days later, we can begin to make delegate projections based upon available polling data. Of the 19 total voting entities that will record votes from the time the Iowa Caucuses began to the end of voting on Super Tuesday, relevant polling exists in 14 of those states.

Using the available data and delegate quotas that are noted from each place, rudimentary projections can be calculated regarding which candidates might receive delegate votes from the specific states for purposes of comparing aggregate totals against the 50 percent threshold.

Early in the cycle, it appeared that former Vice President Joe Biden would be in the strongest position post Super Tuesday because of what looked to be his early dominance in the South. The voting schedule appeared to favor him since half the March 3 voting states lie in that region. His trouble in Iowa and New Hampshire, plus his poor debate performances, and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ strength along with the recent emergence of Michael Bloomberg, has apparently already relegated Biden to also-ran status.

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Iowa: Trump Falling

Oct. 28, 2015 — Several new Iowa Republican polls — the most stark examples coming from a pair of surveys released yesterday — project Donald Trump now falling behind in preparation for the Hawkeye State’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucus meetings scheduled for Feb. 1.

According to Monmouth University (Oct. 22-25; 400 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders, each of whom has voted in at least one of the last two primary elections), Dr. Ben Carson has opened a significant lead over Trump, topping him 32-18 percent in their October study. Looking back at their August poll, the two were tied at 23 percent. The swing represents a net 14-point gain for the retired neurosurgeon and first-time political candidate.

But, Monmouth is not the only pollster to detect a major switch among Iowa Republican poll respondents. Loras College (Oct. 19-22; 500 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders), polling just days before Monmouth, arrived at a similar conclusion. They find Carson ahead of Trump by an almost identical 31-19 percent.

The CBS News/YouGov survey (Oct. 15-22; 529 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders), again in the field during the same basic period, arrives at a much different result, however. This data finds Carson and Trump tied at 27 percent, but still points to the fact that latter is losing steam while the former is gaining within the Iowa Republican cell samples.

Interestingly, the three polls also detect similar second-tier findings. All show significant increases in support for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Monmouth finds Rubio and Cruz tied for third with 10 percent apiece. Loras also has Rubio at 10 percent, but Cruz following with six percent. CBS/YouGov predicts Cruz doing better than Rubio, leading him 12-9 percent. All three studies find Jeb Bush in a like position, still lagging in single-digits as he has been beginning in early summer, recording eight percent (Monmouth), seven percent (Loras), and six percent (CBS/YouGov).

The Iowa swing toward Carson again reveals the early volatility in the Republican race. From a national perspective, current events have not yielded a drastic change in the campaign but this shows us that what may be happening on the ground in small states can be different than what we see in the national media.

These results again reinforce that the there is no candidate, including Trump and Carson, anywhere close to dominating the field to the point where he or she can attract majority delegate support. Therefore, the race culminating in a brokered convention remains a distinct possibility.

Additionally, it is important to remember that in the Iowa system, individuals attend evening precinct meetings to cast their ballots in the middle of a cold winter; it is difficult to poll and the actual results could be much different than pre-election polling might indicate.