Monday, March 7, 2016

Can Bernie Sanders Still Win? Part 2: Post Super Saturday

For an update on this analysis, please see our most recent post, found here.

After the weekend and our post on Friday, a lot of people pointed out that Bernie Sanders won big on (what CNN was calling) Super Saturday, so it appears he's moving in the right direction towards my March 15th drop-dead date!

I certainly could see how Bernie supporters would be excited about beating Hillary 2-1 in states on Super Saturday. Except for one fact:  Bernie still lost Super Saturday.  It was quickly clear that Bernie supporters weren't looking at the big picture, the final delegate count for the night.


Three primaries were held on Saturday, Kansas, Nebraska, and Louisiana.  Kansas and Nebraska are demographically similar Midwestern states with Bernie-favoring caucuses, whereas Louisiana was the outlier Southern primary State (with almost as many delegates as Kansas + Nebraska).

Here's a summary of what happened with the delegate count.  Notice that though Bernie saw small wins in the Midwestern States, he lost Louisiana by a huge margin, and thus lost the day.

Lucky for Bernie, there was another primary (this time in Maine, a Bernie-friendly New England State) where he won fairly easily.  Here's what the entire weekend looked like, with Bernie bringing home 51% of total delegates for the weekend (67-64).


That 51% victory sounds good for Bernie, but is that an adequate margin of victory?  First, let's look at how the press is reporting current aggregate primary election delegates: google is still showing super-delegates:

Super delegates, as we discussed before, may or may not actually vote for who they are currently supporting.  I recreated our "fair" view into the current state of the race.  I made a slight change from last time, and backed the super delegates out of the "to win" number, making the basic assumption that super delegates will, as they did in 2008, follow pledged delegate counts.

From this view, we can easily determine what Bernie needs to do from here to win, quick calculation: 2,899 pledged delegates left on the table, Bernie needs 1,550 to win.  Bernie needs to win 53.5% of remaining delegates to win the pledged delegate counts.

In essence, Bernie supporters may be happy about his performance on Super Saturday, but he needs to do quite a bit better than that to close the gap on Clinton.

A couple of quick notes on the current tone:
  • If Clinton can rack up big victories in a couple of states (Illinois, Michigan) this thing could be much closer to over very quickly.
  • The sentiment related to Bernie's "ghetto" comments from Sunday night's debate have been hugely negative (as well as shushing Clinton, which some perceived as misogynistic).  Those could have a negative impact with African American and women voters precisely in the two states he needs their support: Illinois and Michigan.


A few takeaways:
  • Bernie lost Super Saturday, despite winning two states, he is still behind in the delegate count.
  • For the weekend, Bernie won the delegate count, but only by 1%.
  • Looking forward, Bernie needs to win 53.5% of the remaining delegates-exceeding his performance over the weekend.

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