Super Tuesday minus one day

A thread for all your United States presidential election discussion needs.

Depending on how you calculate the time difference, we’re now just a day out from “Super Tuesday”, in which American voters across 14 states will more than likely settle the question of who will contest the presidential election in November. Following on from the early rounds in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, Super Tuesday will see both parties conduct their primaries and caucuses in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, with the Republicans adding Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming to the list. As a Washington Post explainer puts it, this entails “a combination of a dozen races with a dozen set of rules with another dozen set of exceptions”.

Pundits now seem of one mind that this process will set the seal on a presdiential election contest in November between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump’s indestructibility might encourage skepticism about what pundits say, but the trends on both sides have been clear enough from the early primaries. The Republicans’ Iowa caucuses produced a close contest between the three front-runners, Trump, Ted Cruz and Mario Rubio, in which Cruz emerged narrowly ahead, but Trump has since won clear victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Polls indicate Ted Cruz will carry his own state of Texas tomorrow, and apparently also that Cruz should win Arkansas and Ben Carson should win Colorado, but the rest looks like a cakewalk for Trump. Hillary Clinton’s road has been bumpier than anticipated, but her loss to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire is now balanced by victories and Iowa, Nevada and a particularly emphatic win in South Carolina yesterday. Reflecting the strength in New England that was demonstrated by his win in New Hampshire, Sanders looks set to carry Massachusetts and his home state of Vermont, but barely looks competitive anywhere else.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

137 comments on “Super Tuesday minus one day”

  1. I think the biggest thing is that the Republicans have been very effective in controlling the state governments.

    First, this gives them power to draw the electoral districts, so they can keep their big majority in the House.

    Second, it means that there aren’t many up-and-coming Democrats like Bill Clinton who can win states that are Republican strongholds.

    The Democrats for their part seem to be waiting for changing demographics to change things in their favour.

  2. mimhoff

    [The Democrats for their part seem to be waiting for changing demographics to change things in their favour.]

    So far, these changing demographics have delivered for the Dems. Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada are all now Dem-leaning (the last three due partly to “Californication” – the population shift, not the TV show.) They all used to be solid red states.

    Demographic changes have also made swing states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida more friendly to the Dems.

    There really is no point of a Dem candidate going after states like Arkansas or Texas or North Dakota. They are effectively unwinnable. Despite the pipe dream the Dems have of one day winning Texas (on account of its burgeoning Latino population), this is still decades away (if it happens at all).

  3. Bill Clinton did win a bunch of Southern states. I think things got more polarized since then though, Gore who was also a Southerner couldn’t win any of those states.

    And all of the conservative Democrats who survived through the Southern Strategy are now gone.

  4. kakuru@83: “True. But also totally irrelevant. A candidate’s performance in the primaries has no bearing on his or her performance in a general election. HRC will win big in Vermont and Mass in the general election.”

    You’d certainly hope so, or we would be looking at a 1988 sort of massacre!

    The big question for me is whether Hillary can win big (or at all) among white voters in states like New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and Maine. If she loses all of those, and doesn’t pick up any, she’s going to need to pick some up. You’d say that, on the basis of her strong Latino and African-American support, Arizona and North Carolina would be potential wins for her. But it’s not certain by any means.

  5. mimhoff

    [Bill Clinton did win a bunch of Southern states. I think things got more polarized since then though, Gore who was also a Southerner couldn’t win any of those states.]

    Yes, Gore didn’t even carry his home state of Tennessee. When Clinton ran, the Southern Strategy had not yet reached its high watermark. The Dems have clawed back Virginia (courtesy of the influx of voters into greater DC), and are doing well in N.Carolina. But the rest of the Southern states are beyond their reach.

    [And all of the conservative Democrats who survived through the Southern Strategy are now gone.]

    Yep, every one. Bobby Byrd was the last (died in office, aged 92).

    Strangely, the old-style Dems do well in West Virginia at state level, but bomb at federal level. The only exception is Byrd’s successor, current Senator Joe Manchin (former WV governor); but he’s barely a Democrat.

  6. mb

    [The big question for me is whether Hillary can win big (or at all) among white voters in states like New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and Maine. If she loses all of those, and doesn’t pick up any, she’s going to need to pick some up. You’d say that, on the basis of her strong Latino and African-American support, Arizona and North Carolina would be potential wins for her. But it’s not certain by any means.]

    The states you list were all won by Obama (twice). If Obama can win over these white voters, why not Hillary?

    Hillary won’t win Arizona. Unless Trump tanks.

  7. Rubio didn’t even reach the 20% threshold in some of the states where you don’t get anything if you poll less than 20%. He’s done and has to quit and endorse Cruz. Those two are cutting each others lunches.

    Clinton vs Trump looks a dead cert.

  8. From fivethirtyeight.com …
    [don’t know why folks are walking away from tonight with the idea that Trump is somehow dominant. He’s won only 37 percent of the vote, pooling across states. That means he’s ahead but far from being a lock of any sort.]
    Well, who is going to drop out then? Rubio will surely hold on till at least Florida… especially now he is winning Minnesota. Would the GOP give him the nudge in favour of Cruz? Unlikely. I cant see them nudging Cruz.
    So we wait till Florida (15th March). If Trump wins that….. its over. Right? 99 delegates, winner take all.

  9. [A pitched battle for the White House between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton moved closer to becoming reality as both leapt further ahead in the first battleground states of a marathon Super Tuesday.

    On the most important night of the presidential race so far, Clinton was grinding down the challenge from Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, beating him in six of the eight states declared.

    In the Republican race, with eight of the 11 states declared,Trump had won six of them, taking a commanding lead in the bitterly fought race for the Republican nomination. Maverick Texas senator Ted Cruz won his home state and Oklahoma whilst the establishment’s last hope, Marco Rubio, was left adrift. ]

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/01/super-tuesday-trump-clinton-sanders-cruz-rubio

  10. They just posted a current rough estimate of delegates for GOP. Rubio is 200 behind Trump and 100 behind Cruz.

    99 delegates in Florida…. so tempting for Rubio to hold on even tho he is behind in polling there. Will Kasich and Carson drop out before Florida and will their support go to Rubio?

  11. kakuru@107: “The states you list were all won by Obama (twice). If Obama can win over these white voters, why not Hillary?”

    Because Obama had a strong appeal to white voters, which Hillary doesn’t have. Have you watched any of her campaign performances online? As an orator or debater she isn’t fit to tie Obama’s shoelaces.

    There is absolutely no doubt about Hillary’s massive appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters, which was apparent on Super Tuesday 8 years ago. But that’s not going to win her many additional states: she might get there in North Carolina (which Obama won in 2008 and lost in 2012).

    But it’s hard to see her retaining all of Obama’s vote in the north and mid-west. If she keeps most of it, she’ll be ok. But, if, like me, you’ve watched some of her performances on the campaign trail, you will understand that she isn’t going to win anybody over who isn’t already well-disposed towards her (either because, like many African-Americans, they loved Bill; or because they see her as a feminist icon).

    “Hillary won’t win Arizona. Unless Trump tanks.”

    It’s a long shot, but there is significant demographic change going on there similar to Florida: lots of New Yorkers moving there for the winter sun and the ever-growing group of Hispanics.

  12. The Lorax@114: “Clinton would be very happy about today’s results. The last thing she wants is to fight an election against Rubio.”

    If I were Clinton, I’d far rather be up against Rubio than Trump.

    Like Hillary, Rubio is a piss poor campaigner: Trump’s description of him as “the lightweight” seems entirely fair to me. He’s a former moderate who has recently embraced a far right set of policies, but he doesn’t come across as believing in them and, lately, seems to have been trying to shift back towards the centre because suddenly there’s more opportunity for him there now.

    Trump, on the other hand, is an unpredictable force. Yes, he’s a ratbag, but he’s also very charismatic and a great public performer. Hillary is uncharismatic and a poor public performer. Trump could blow up completely, but he could also conceivably roll over the top of her, crowding her out of the campaign to the extent that she is hardly even heard.

    Then Hillary will be depending on people choosing her because she is a proven safe pair of hands over Trump’s erratic nature. But, in America, a lot of people who marginally prefer Hillary over Trump might end up not bothering to turn out to vote.

  13. The Lorax:

    [Clinton would be very happy about today’s results. The last thing she wants is to fight an election against Rubio.]

    While I’m sure Clinton would indeed be happy with today’s results, I can’t agree at all about Rubio. He is a joke. Trump and Cruz might be lunatics, but at they at least seem vaguely presidential.

  14. I really dislike the publishing of superdelegates in all polling. Those numbers can change (as superdelegates are allowed to change their vote at any time).

    I’m just following the pledged numbers for now.

  15. Raaraa
    Superdelegate preferences at this stage would enter into Sanders calculations on deciding to pull out or not. So it would also help pundits predicting such.

    Ordinary people are sending him their money. It must be an agonising decision for him.

  16. You’ve got to wonder how the US came up with such a bunch of shit candidates with 400 million people.

    I imagine the cost of $100M to get this far would cut out most of those.

  17. Trump is now paying 7/1 on (ie 85% chance of winning) and Clinton 33/1 (97%).

    Time to start thinking about running mates.

    Democrats 2/1 on to retain the presidency.

  18. Interesting election analyst on Triple J Hack.

    Sanders winning the states that are usually won by the Democrats, while Clinton took those that are usually won by Republicans.

  19. Dio,
    I prefer betting on the outsiders. If I were to tipple, I would drop a few bob on Kasich. If only for this line he angrily hurled at a wealthy Republican donor who questioned why he supported Medicaid…
    [I don’t know about you, lady, but when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.]

  20. Diogs,

    I notice you’ve neve had the courage to throw your hat in any electoral ring so others can ascertain how “Shit” you are as a political candidate.

  21. So now I will start talking about the race in terms of Clinton v. Trump. While technically there are still avenues to upset either of those candidates, I cannot see it realistically happening.

    I made a prediction at the end of last year that it would be Clinton v. Rubio. It appears I got the latter way wrong. I had too much faith that the GOP establishment would be able to rally itself to a single candidate, similar to how they successfully did so with Romney in 2012 (Although, it helped that he had the base of support from his 2008 run.)

    I guess the strategy for the anti-Trump GOP elements will soon be to try and spoil as many races as possible and try to force a brokered convention. However, I doubt this will work as, despite him not having that strong of a popular vote in the primary races, he’s still picking up the delegates. Also, as it becomes more clear that he will be the nominee, more in the GOP will start to accept that and get behind him.

    Honestly, as I said earlier, the best thing for the GOP establishment (and aspirants) is to bite the bullet and get behind Trump (before it looks completely opportunistic.) That way a Trump loss can’t be blamed on white anting and, if Trump wins, they might be invited to the table and might be able to have some influence over him.

    (Of course, I am saying this from the hypothetical perspective of someone in the GOP who, let’s face it, agrees with most of Trump’s policies – from my own ideological perspective I wouldn’t have anything to do with him and hope that he crashes and burns)

  22. All the way back @60

    [But the low voter turnouts in the US will always make it difficult for the “lesser of two evils” candidate to win. ]

    No, independent voters do turn out as a substantial fraction of voters in Presidential elections, and their opinions will often be decisive.

    [The national polls are hard to credit.]

    As 538 keeps pointing out, national polls at this stage are not predictive of general election results, so they should not be (especially) credited.

    [They are showing Trump behind Hillary but Rubionalmost beating her. Rubio is an insincere twerp who couldn’t be expected to come close in a Presidential race.]

    It is, of course, always possible that this people surveyed are making different assessments to you.

    [But November is a long way away. Things can change. And Hillary has virtually no appeal beyond the rusted on base. And I can’t see that changing much.]

    The point is that both Trump and Rodham are *extremely* well known, and opinions about them throughout the country have been stable for quite a long time. Neither of them is going to suddenly turn around a big chunk of negative opinion about them.

    Rodham doesn’t have charisma, and she’s not even all that likeable, necessarily, but she does look like she can do the job. Trump doesn’t. And that is something that independent voters will care about, not ideology or history.

  23. mb

    [Because Obama had a strong appeal to white voters, which Hillary doesn’t have. ]

    Is there data to back this up?

    Re Arizona…

    [It’s a long shot, but there is significant demographic change going on there similar to Florida: lots of New Yorkers moving there for the winter sun and the ever-growing group of Hispanics.]

    There’s still a long way to go before Arizona goes the same way as Nevada and New Mexico. It’s a long shot indeed.

  24. Republican operative Peggy Noonan paints a bleak picture for the Republican party if Trump wins. Their dammed if they do and their if they don’t.

    “If trends continue—and political trends tend to—Mr. Trump will win or come very close to winning by the convention in July. If party forces succeed in finagling him out of the nomination his supporters will bolt, which will break the party. And it’s hard to see what kind of special sauce, what enduring loyalty would make them come back in the future.

    If, on the other hand, Mr. Trump is given the crown in Cleveland, party political figures, operatives, loyalists, journalists and intellectuals, not to mention sophisticated suburbanites and, God knows, donors will themselves bolt.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-republican-party-is-shattering-1457050017

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