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”

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  1. From today’s Keane:

    [Reflecting on the week, Lindsey Graham told an audience: “Mah parrrty hayaz gone bayatshit crazah.”]

  2. Boerwar

    [ “Mah parrrty hayaz gone bayatshit crazah.” ]

    At least the US will no longer be able to point the finger and laugh at Australia for electing Abbott. Although they may blame us for starting a trend.

  3. If all goes as expected tomorrow, we can presume a Clinton v. Trump election.

    I must confess, while I had predicted Clinton, the Trump success actually took me by surprise. I had predicted that the GOP establishment would’ve rallied better to get behind an anti-Trump. Admittedly it could’ve happened with Rubio, had he not screwed up so badly in NH.

    If the GOP leadership are smart, they’ll read the writing on the wall now and start getting behind Trump, before it’s too late and he wins completely on his own and then owes them nothing.

    As for Rubio, I have commented that he reminds me of John Edwards in 2004. That silver medallist who becomes the alternative to the front-runner way-too-late in the game but makes enough of an impact that he becomes a favourite for running mate. However, this depends on Trump and whether or not they burn each other’s bridges.

  4. Sorry…the whole “President Trump” thing just doesn’t roll of the tongue without leaving a really bad taste. 🙂

    Its actually batshit scary. 🙁

    I have a strong suspicion that Hillary will win a contest of that nature……but i thought Abbott was unelectable.

  5. After the Trump/ David Duke/ KKK debacle/ fiasco – it will be interesting to see whether the Republican establishment bring out Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice to slap down Trump.

    The Republicans are up against demography in national elections – and Trump is doing little more than pissing off Black and Latino voters even more than they already are. The Republican establishment already probably know that they are staring electoral armageddon in the face – the Republican faithful may wake up too late. Super Tuesday may finish Bernie Sanders off and Hillary can then turn her guns on to Trump as well – well before conventions and nomination.

    Is Michael Bloomberg still out there somewhere?

  6. I cannot take Marco Rubio seriously at all. Every time he speaks he reminds me of a petulant teenager playing at being an adult. I know he’s roughly the same age Obama was in 2008, but if I didn’t know better, I’d think Rubio was at least ten years younger. If he does somewhow manage to wrest the nomination from Trump, I think he will get slaughtered in the general election. He just gives off the vibe of someone much too green and inexperienced to cope with the demands of the presidency, in a way that Obama never did.

  7. The only enjoyable thing about US presidential politics is that it makes our own lot look positively sane. Other than that the yanks can have em.

  8. I think Rodham will win Massachusetts but Sanders may win Minnesota (and I would not be surprised by Democrats Abroad, but I guess that barely counts).

    If Sanders can win Minnesota and later Maine he may stay in as late as the 16th before extracting convention concessions and dropping out, otherwise it will be about the 9th.

    I support Sanders but Rodham has this won.

  9. I think Trump is less inevitable than is portrayed but clearly his odds are growing. But Rubio can make up a lot of ground in later winner-takes all states *if* Cruz and Kasich drop out *and* he can win a little back from Trump.

    Van-guardedly I prefer Trump; I’m very confident Rodham will beat him. Both are disliked but independent voters will see only one who looks like they can do the job.

  10. Bludgers, if you haven’t already, please install this Chrome extension (if you use Chrome that is):

    Basically, it changes anywhere you see the name ‘Trump’ on an internet page (And I do mean anywhere) to his original ancestral name – ‘Drumpf’.

    I’ve been reading comments here for a bit using this extension, and let me tell you, it is hilarious.

  11. Re #7, Rubio is my age but I feel like he is younger.

    New CNN poll has Trump on 49. It’s an outlier, but still, it’s data.

    The guy probably does have a ceiling somewhere … about 60% or so.

  12. [ “The GOP Is On The Verge Of A Meltdown”: Senior Republicans Threaten To Vote For Hillary

    With Donald Trump set for a yuuge victory in tomorrow’s Super Tuesday slugfest – oddsmakers see 80% chance of Trump being the nominee – tensions are mounting dramatically within the Republican establishment.

    As The FT reports, many mainstream Republicans believe Mr Trump would struggle to beat Hillary Clinton and are urgently rallying around their man Rubio with some senior Republicans saying privately that they might consider voting for Mrs Clinton if Mr Trump were to end up as their party nominee as one conservative commentator exclaimed “we are on the verge of a real meltdown in the Republican party.” ]

  13. Despite what any CNN poll says at this point in the electoral cycle, there is no credible path to victory for Trump in the US General Election in November.

    Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, wrapping up enough delegates in the next couple of weeks of primaries to keep her well ahead of Bernie Sanders come convention time, and it does seem that Donald Trump is now the inevitable winner of the Republican nomination.

    Come November, the building blocs of a coalition of votes sufficient to win in the Electoral College do not exist for Trump, and they never will – he has alienated almost all of the groups that are currently required to secure 270 electoral votes, consolidating his appeal only in the ‘angry white male’ demographic.

    These are the simple electoral mathematical facts:

    African Americans make up 13% and Hispanics 16% of the US population, and Trump cannot win any substantial part of this bloc of votes because of his incendiary opinions on race.

    54% of those who voted in the 2012 US election were women, and 55% of those women voted for Obama – Hillary Clinton can expect the same, or a better results in November.

    Those who identify as Independents will also play a significant role, and they are overwhelmingly opposed at this point to a Trump Presidency.

    President Obama is currently enjoying a favourability rating of 47%, near unheard of for a late 2nd term President, and he will be closely allied with Clinton come November – his popularity, and also the continuing popularity of former President Bill Clinton, will aid Hillary n November.

    Forget whatever media spin is placed in any polling at this stage showing Trump as competitive in any head to head contest, as this is all fodder for the ‘horse race’ meme that is the media’s bread and butter, the gladiatorial ‘contest’ that sells their product to a jaded public.

    Hillary Clinton, short of her death, or a serious illness, will be the next US President.

  14. Sanders is looking like winning Colorado and Oklahoma and maybe even Minnesota. So don’t just chuck him in the bin completely. In the end, similar to Obama in 2008, the states after Super Tuesday are a lot better for him.

  15. The Big Ship@17

    Despite what any CNN poll says at this point in the electoral cycle, there is no credible path to victory for Trump in the US General Election in November.

    The poll I was quoting was a GOP nomination poll and had nothing to do with Trump’s competitiveness (or not) in the general election. Such polls are in no way inconsistent with what you are saying.

    GE matchup polls are not very reliable at this stage.

  16. I pretty much agree with Big Ship’s summation.

    Nate Silver has an interesting piece on 2016 being a potential realignment of US politics:

    Nate typically goes for understatement rather than exaggeration, so I was surprised by this idea of a turning point in the future of the GOP.

    The previous realignment in US politics occurred around 40 years ago, when the GOP wrested the South from the Dems – to the huge electoral advantage of the GOP in subsequent cycles. The current realignment is potentially dire for the GOP.

  17. Comparing the potential Electoral College outcome in 2016 to 2012 and 2008, my take at this time would be that Hillary Clinton could win all of the states won by Obama in 2012, plus potentially Texas, Arizona (with big Hispanic voting blocs) North Carolina and maybe South Carolina, Indiana and Missouri.

    This would give Clinton possibly 396 Electoral College votes and as many as 426, if Trump really goes off the deep end in the campaign – these are landslide numbers, if realised on election day.

    Have a look at the very fine David Leip’s US Election Atlas for some good interactive and historical election data:

  18. The only thing to say is “Go Trump!”. He’s completely unelectable in a general election, for all the reasons that #17 points out.

    Hillary might have trouble defeating a more credible GOP candidate. But even a wet paper bag could best Trump at a general election.

    Bring on another 4 years of conservative griping and conspiracy theories.

  19. TBS
    GE is too far out to be making such predictions even assuming its a 1 on 1.

    As KB says, we shouldnt put too much store in the GE polls – but for some balance to #23, I have seen Trump ahead of Clinton in Florida and Ohio – both won by Obama in 2012.

    Also, we should be wary of Independent runs.

  20. The Big Ship @ 17

    Excellent analysis.
    What must also be remembered when people look at polling for both Trump and Sanders is that they have only had the slightest amount of scrutiny up to this point.
    If either of them become the nominee you can expect to see their whole life, business dealings, voting history etc to come under the harshest of spotlights.
    Clinton has faced that level of scrutiny for 20 years.

  21. When they have a presidential election, do they have congressional or senate at the same time or are the timings offset??

    Yup, Hillary wil beat Trump if it comes to that, but what about composition of House and Senate. That has a HUGE effect on what a president can do.

  22. imacca,
    Dems could/should win the senate but whilst Dems do better in these during a GE, due to gerrymandering its impossible for them to win the House.

    Boundaries are redrawn in 2020 (I think) – so Dems need to get control of the bodies in charge of that (state legislatures?).

  23. imacca @27:

    [When they have a presidential election, do they have congressional or senate at the same time or are the timings offset??]

    The entirety of the House of Representatives faces re-election every two years, in every presidential election and mid-term. Senators serve six year term, with a third being elected each presidential election and mid-term. (ie. Senators elected in the 2006 mid-terms went up for re-election in the 2014 presidential election, those elected in the 2008 presidential election had to go to the polls again in the 2014 mid-terms, and those elected during the 2010 mid-terms will face re-election this November.)

  24. [ie. Senators elected in the 2006 mid-terms went up for re-election in the 2014 presidential election]

    D’oh, I of course meant the 2012 presidential election there.

  25. In the senate, the ones coming up for re-election are mostly Republican (20-10 or something similar). Most of the Dem ones are solid. So good chance the Dems can control Senate.

  26. SK

    [Boundaries are redrawn in 2020 (I think) – so Dems need to get control of the bodies in charge of that (state legislatures?).]

    Exactly – state legislatures.

    Some (very few) states appoint independent bodies that decide boundaries of the districts. Iowa (which recently lost a district) has this.

    For most states, re-districting falls prey to rampant gerrymandering by the state legislatures. At the time of the last re-districting, most legislatures were in the hands of the GOP. So the boundaries of the districts reflected interests of their federal counterparts.

    It is also inherently easier to re-draw boundaries to favour the GOP. Dem voters tend to be concentrated in metropolitan areas, where the Dem vote is very high. So the boundaries of metropolitan-based districts can be drawn to bottle up the Dem vote. This produces a relatively small number of extremely safe Dem districts in a given state.

    By contrast, in outer suburban and rural areas, the districts can be drawn to give the GOP a solid (but not overwhelming) lead in a larger number of districts.

    As a result, in some states the Dems may win half (or more) of the vote for their HoR candidates, but capture less than a third of HoR seats in that state.

  27. SK

    [Dems could/should win the senate but whilst Dems do better in these during a GE, due to gerrymandering its impossible for them to win the House.]

    Yes, you can’t gerrymander the Senate. So the make-up of the Senate is much more representative of the vote in each state than (ironically) the House of Representatives.

  28. [ In the senate, the ones coming up for re-election are mostly Republican (20-10 or something similar). Most of the Dem ones are solid. So good chance the Dems can control Senate. ]

    Interesting, so overall a Hillary Clinton presidency could be in a better position to actually do stuff than Obama was?

  29. Big Ship and others: I’m not convinced re Hillary having a walkover victory against Trump in November.

    Hillary is not a good candidate: uncharismatic, uninspiring and not standing for all that much. Except, of course, the idea of a woman as President: something that I find some female friends of mine (and some women who post on PB) feel very passionately about, and which can cause them to become quite angry in response to any criticism whatsoever of Hillary.

    I find this feminist idolatry of Hillary rather ironic, because the same friends won’t have a bar of any praise of Margaret Thatcher: a woman who, unlike Hillary, got to the top entirely on her own steam through being much better at playing boys’ games than the boys. Hillary, even leaving aside the question of to whom she is married, has been give the most dreamy of all dream runs in the Democratic primaries. She’s waltzing her way to the nomination without a serious rival: an advantage usually (at not always) given only to incumbent Presidents.

    And yet, even with only a joke candidate against her, she couldn’t win New Hampshire. Sure, she might be popular with the African-Americans and the Hispanics who are registered Democrats. But the voters of New Hampshire are the sort of voters a Democrat needs to win to be elected as President. If I were a Democrat insider, I’d be worried about how very badly Hillary did there.

    I know the polling shows Hillary a long way ahead of Trump. But I’m still not convinced. In my book, both are dud candidates. And history shows that a dud Republican candidate will generally beat a dud Democrat candidate (and, under some circumstances, even quite a good Democrat candidate: eg, when old George Bush beat Dukakis in 1988).

    The only two countervailing factors here might be 1) Hillary being a woman might get a big vote from women; and 2) Trump is a looney and that might scare the voters.

    With 1) there is clearly a constituency of female voters who are very excited about Hillary. But it’s also conceivable that most of these are committed Democrat voters anyway, so we don’t know yet.

    2) I’m not convinced that Trump is that much of a looney. Cruz is a looney (although I suspect he is a lot smarter than he comes across and some of it is an act). But Trump is not so much a looney as a populist. He needs to carry on the way he is doing now to get the nomination. If he gets it, I predict we will see a very different Trump during the election campaign. The man is perhaps rather silly at times, but he is not stupid. And, unlike Hillary, he is a great marketer of himself.

    It’s by no means over.

  30. Nice summery!

    Not too sure that polls actually do look great for Cruz in Arkansas and actually no Republicans at all will win Colorado. This year the Colorado Republicans have decided to not vote for a presidential nominee but rather send their electors to the Republican National Convention unbound.

    Also, I wouldn’t be shocked if Sanders manages a win in Minnesota, Colorado, or Oklahoma as well. Or loses Massachusetts.

  31. BNudgel

    [Obama had a house and senate majority between 2008 and 2010, but didnt do too much with it.]

    Well, there was that little thing called the Affordable Health Care for America Act (aka ‘Obamacare’).

  32. Jeez Obama. You rescued the US from the greatest economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression. You brought the US banking sector back from the brink of disaster. You introduced an affordable and equitable healthcare system, over the ferocious opposition of the Republican party. And you disentangled the US from two unwinnable wars (Afghanistan, Iraq).

    But what have you done for us lately?

  33. mb

    [And yet, even with only a joke candidate against her, she couldn’t win New Hampshire. ]

    You do realise that the New Hampshire primary only includes registered Democrats? No independents. No moderate Republicans.

    No primary (or caucus) is representative of the general election.

    Clinton beat Obama in New Hampshire in 2008. Obama carried New Hampshire in 2008 and 2012. Not bad, considering that NH is the most conservative state in New England, and a swing state.

  34. kakuru@45: “Clinton beat Obama in New Hampshire in 2008. Obama carried New Hampshire in 2008 and 2012. Not bad, considering that NH is the most conservative state in New England, and a swing state.”

    Well, yes, but for a Democrat to win the US election in the 2000s, they are looking to get all of New England and the eastern seaboard states immediately below it (NY, Pennsylvania, etc.), the whole West Coast, some of the Mid West/Rockies, New Mexico and perhaps Florida. The South, where Hillary is doing the best vis-a-vis Sanders, isn’t going to produce many, if any, Electoral College votes for her in November.

    At Presidential elections, the US has very divided electorally since 1988. The old north and the West Coast belong to the Dems, the South mainly belongs to the Republicans: other than Florida, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina which are all vulnerable to the Dems because they have experienced a surge of migrants from the north in recent decades.

    The battleground is really in the mid-west and the Rockies, where a lot of the voters are white and conservative like those of NH: indeed, perhaps a bit more conservative.

    Obama got a big vote in the mid-west because: a) he is a mid-westerner, b) he mobilised the African-American vote in those areas and c) he is a very appealing candidate to the young and got big turnouts from first time voters.

    Hillary doesn’t have these three qualities and, on my estimate, is starting on the back foot in the mid-West and possibly even in parts of the old north like NH and perhaps even NY.

    This is my concern.

  35. @Simon, not any more mate, i got that all cleared up. from Mullum originally.
    @kakuru. fair point. i guess i was trying to say that Hillary wont have an advantage over Obama in that regard (barring a minor miracle in the house). although inherent in the question i was answering is, i think, the assumption that Obama aint done a lot.

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