Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Last Big Primary Day: Revised Bernie Sanders Numbers

Last night I noted online that many Bernie fans were still convinced he could win the nomination.  His pathway to the nomination was a bit different than they originally planned (I'll get to that a bit later), but generally speaking there are many Bernie Sanders fans who believe he will be the eventual nominee.

Today is effectively the last day of the primary (the AP called it for Clinton last night), so this is Bernie's last chance.  Does he really have the chance that his followers say he does?  It seemed like another time to take a deep dive into the Sanders numbers.


I've looked at these numbers quite a few times on this blog, but the underlying method is this:
  • I only look at pledged delegates and make the general assumption that super delegates will get in line with the popular vote, as they did in 2012 for Obama. (I explored other models of super delegate agency as well.)
  • I compare pledged delegates and calculate the number/percent of remaining delegates needed to win the pledged-delegates only primary.
  • I use a logistic curve to calculate the percent by which Sanders needs to outperform polling in order to win the pledged-delegate primary.
First the current pledged delegate primary status, here's what it looks like graphically:

What does this mean?  Sanders needs to win 501, or 70% of remaining delegates in order to win the pledged-delegate primary.  

Comparing this to current polling by state, we can determine how Sanders needs to perform in each state.  The "post change percent" column represents the share of the vote he needs to win each state in order to win the nomination. While watching tonight (New Jersey results will likely come in first) you can track against this column to see Bernie's chances or securing the nomination (will need to win 63.7% in New Jersey, in all likelihood).

Here's the ultmate problem with these numbers: they require Bernie to outperform polling by an average of 22% (if he's currently polling at 50%, he will need 72.7% of the vote in that state).


In summary, Bernie's path to any kind of conventional "won the people's vote" election is mostly impossible at this point. In fact, this path has been largely cutoff for a couple of months now.  So is there any legitimate shot of a Sanders victory in the nomination?  The Sanders fans are actually pushing a low-probability idea that I mentioned earlier this year, wherein democratic super-delegates prefer Sanders in a general election versus Trump, and switch en masse prior to the convention.  


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