New Hampshire Democratic primary live commentary

Live commentary on today’s New Hampshire primary. Also: Sinn Féin upsets the conservative duopoly at Saturday’s Irish election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont

4:05pm Thursday With all precincts reporting, there were almost 297,000 votes in this year’s Democratic primary, up from just over 253,000 in 2016.  So Democratic turnout in New Hampshire was well up on 2016, but this is partly explained by having an uncontested Republican race.

The final outcome is Sanders 25.7%, Buttigieg 24.4%, Klobuchar 19.8%, Warren 9.2% and Biden 8.4%.

8:18pm Conversation article up.  I argue that Klobuchar has a good case for being electable.  She won her three Minnesota Senate races by at least 20 points, far exceeding the presidential lean of Minnesota.  She’s 59, so she doesn’t fall into the 70+ category.

Also, the FiveThirtyEight forecast has the chance that nobody wins a pledged delegate majority up to 33% (one in three).  We could be heading for the first contested convention since 1952.  The next two contests are the Feb 22 Nevada caucus and Feb 29 South Carolina primary.  Then it’s Super Tuesday on March 3.

3:05pm Two US TV networks have CALLED the New Hampshire primary for Bernie Sanders.

2:50pm With 82% in, Sanders’ lead over Buttigieg down to 1.7%.  The NY Times Needle gives him a 68% chance to win.  Hardly a convincing victory in a state where he crushed Clinton 60-38 in 2016.

2:22pm Sanders’ lead over Buttigieg down to 2.1% with 69% in.  The NY Times Needle gives Sanders a 59% chance to win.

2:07pm Took a break for lunch, but didn’t miss much.  Sanders 2.5% ahead of Buttigieg with 64% in (26.4% to 23.9%).  Klobuchar has 20.1%, and both Biden and Warren have less than 10%, and will both miss the 15% threshold to win any NH delegates.

1:02pm CNN has Sanders still ahead in NH by 4.4% over Buttigieg with 41% in.

1pm The NY Times needle is now giving Sanders just a 53% chance to win, with 33% for Buttigieg and 14% Klobuchar.  However, Wasserman on Twitter is projecting Klobuchar will finish third.

12:47pm The NY Times needle is giving Sanders a 59% chance of winning, with Buttigieg a 33% chance and Klobuchar 8%.  But for some reason, CNN’s results are more up to date than the NY Times.

12:37pm With 32% in in the Dem primary, 27.8% Sanders, 23.5% Buttigieg, 20.0% Klobuchar.  Gap opening up between Buttigieg and Klobuchar for 2nd place.  Warren and Biden still at less than 10%.

12:35pm In the Republican primary, Trump has 85%.

12:25pm Dave Wasserman on Twitter

12:17pm 28% Sanders, 23% Buttigieg, 21% Klobuchar with 20% in on the CNN results.

12:12pm 28% Sanders, 22.5% Buttigieg, 20.5% Klobuchar, less than 10% for both Warren and Biden in CNN results with 17% in.

12:05pm CNN is back ahead of the NY Times, and has 28% Sanders, 22% Buttigieg, 20% Klobuchar, 9% Warren, 9% Biden with 14% in.

12pm With 7% in, 28% Sanders, 22% Buttigieg, 20% Klobuchar, 12% Warren, 7.5% Biden.  US election analysts on Twitter are saying Sanders should win.

11:50am With 5% reporting, the NY Times has 30% Sanders, 22% Buttigieg, 18% Klobuchar, 12% Warren and just 7% Biden.

11:40am The CNN New Hampshire results give Sanders 27%, Klobuchar 22%, Buttigieg 21%, Warren just 11% and Biden 8%.  That’s with an estimated 3% in.  So Klobuchar has had a massive surge in New Hampshire.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final RealClearPolitics poll average for today’s New Hampshire Democratic primary gives Bernie Sanders 28.7%, Pete Buttigieg 21.3%, Amy Klobuchar 11.7%, and Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren both 11.0%. Most polls close at 11am AEDT, with some staying open until 12pm. Unlike Iowa, New Hampshire is a primary, not a caucus. Primaries are administered by the state’s election authorities, not by a party. Counting is slow in New Hampshire.

 Sinn Féin comes first in Irish election

 Irish politics has been dominated by two conservative parties: Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. But at Saturday’s election, the far-left Sinn Féin upset this order by coming first on first preferences with 24.5% (up a massive 10.7% since the 2016 election). Fianna Fáil was second with 22.2% (down 2.1%) and the governing Fine Gael third with 20.9% (down 4.7%). The Greens won 7.1% (up 4.4%). Irish Labour has never been a strong party, and won just 4.4% (down 2.2%).

While Sinn Féin advocates a united Ireland, its success at this election appears to be the result of a campaign focused on homelessness and hospital waiting lists.

Despite winning the popular vote, Sinn Féin was second in lower house seats with 37 of the 160 (up 14). Fianna Fáil won 38 (down six), Fine Gael 35 (down 14), the Greens 12 (up ten), other left-wing parties 17 (up one) and independents 19 (steady). There were two more total seats than in 2016. A Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael grand coalition would have 73 seats, short of the 81 needed for a majority. Government formation is likely to be difficult.

In Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system, which is used in Ireland, leakage from within parties has occasionally cost seats. In Ireland, leakage is a bigger problem, as the ballot paper lists candidates alphabetically, not by party grouping (see Antony Green). To reduce leakage, Sinn Féin only nominated 42 candidates, and were unable to benefit as much as they should have from their late campaign surge.

Previous Irish elections have been held during the working week, but this one was on Saturday. Turnout was expected to increase, but it actually fell 2.2% to 62.9%.

Iowa Democratic caucuses: live commentary

Live commentary on the US Iowa Democratic caucuses. Also: Sinn Féin surges ahead of Saturday’s Irish election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

9:27am Sunday The exit poll for Saturday’s Irish election has been released.  The governing Fine Gael has 22.4%, the far-left Sinn Fein 22.3% and Fianna Fail 22.2%, so there’s only 0.2% between the top three parties.  The Greens have 7.9%.  The full exit poll is in the comments.  No vote counting in Ireland until tonight AEDT.

5:15pm Friday With all precincts reporting, Buttigieg provisionally wins Iowa’s state delegate count by 0.1%.  However, the AP will not declare a winner owing to irregularities.  We will probably never know for sure who won Iowa’s state delegate count.

Sanders won both of the popular vote measures.  He won the “initial” vote by 3.5% and the “final” vote by 1.5%.

4:37pm This tweet explains why Sanders is doing so well with these satellite caucuses.

4:35pm Late counting Iowa drama!  I’m not sure what the “satellite caucuses” are, but there were four of them, one for each of Iowa’s Congressional Districts.  Three of them have reported, and they are all very strong for Sanders.  There’s still one to go.

With 97% in, Buttigieg now leads Sanders by just three state delegates or 0.15%.  Sanders leads by 3.5% on the “initial” popular vote, and by 1.5% on the “final” popular vote.

10:41am In the FiveThirtyEight post-Iowa model, Biden’s chance of winning a pledged delegate majority has plunged from 43% to 21%, with Sanders up to 37%.  The probability that nobody wins a pledged delegate majority (contested convention) is up to 27%.

10:20am Thursday More Iowa results!  With 86% in, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 26.7% to 25.4% on state delegates, the measure the US media is using to call a winner.  Warren has 18.3%, Biden 15.8% and Klobuchar 12.1%.

On two other measures, Sanders is still ahead.  He leads Buttigieg by 24.3% to 21.6% on “initial” popular votes.  He leads by 26.1% to 25.5% on “final” popular votes after realignment.

4:05pm 71% of precincts are now in for the Dem Iowa caucus.  The latest 9% haven’t made much difference to the figures.

2:50pm My Conversation article on these caucuses is up.  We need to see if there’s a significant impact on national polls from these results.  The next contest is New Hampshire on February 11; polls close by 12pm February 12 AEDT.

There was a big moment in Trump’s State of the Union address today.  At the end of the speech, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi literally tore it up.

10:30am New York Times analyst Nate Cohn says results reported so far are representative of the whole state.

10am Wednesday We FINALLY have more Iowa results.  With 62% of precincts reporting, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 27% to 25% on State Delegate Equivalents, the traditional measure that most of the media has focussed on.  Warren has 18%, Biden 16% and Klobuchar 13%.

On the two other measures, Sanders leads.  He leads on the “initial” popular votes by 24.5% to 21.4% for Buttigieg.  He leads on the “final” popular votes after realignment by 26% to 25%.

8:15pm More than EIGHT hours after the caucuses began, still only 2% has been reported!  I hope we have better results by tomorrow morning.

3:57pm In Ireland, a new poll has Sinn Fein in outright first on 25%, with Fianna Fail on 23%, Fine Gael 20% and the Greens 8%.

3:43pm Nate Silver

3:15pm Turnout at these caucuses in on pace for 2016.  In 2016, 172,000 participated in the Iowa Dem caucuses, well down from the record 240,000 in 2008.  In 2008, the Dems had a charismatic candidate in Barack Obama.

3:05pm With 1.9% in, Sanders is on top with 28% followed by Warren at 25%, Buttigieg 24%, Klobuchar 12% and Biden just 11%.

2:57pm On the Dem side, we’ve only got 32 of 1,765 precincts reporting their post-realignment votes.  Much slower than in 2016, when 85% had reported by this time.

2:55pm In 2016, 187,000 votes were cast in the Republican Iowa caucuses.   With 83% in, 29,000 votes have been cast in 2020.

2:35pm Still only 1.7% counted, with Buttigieg leading Sanders by 1.3% after realignment.  Biden down to 14%.  Hurry up!!

1:56pm In the Republican caucus, Trump has over 96% of the vote.  Republicans love Trump.

1:54pm By “after realignment”, I mean after the initial division.  Candidates polling below 15% in a particular precinct are declared unviable, and their supporters are asked to pick a viable candidate.  Candidates originally declared unviable can become viable if they pick up enough to make it over 15% in the second round.  It’s explained in this Conversation article.

1:50pm The AP has Buttigieg leading Sanders by 27% to 24% on final alignment numbers, followed by 19.5% for Biden, 15% Warren and 14% Klobuchar.  1.3% of precincts are in.

1:40pm The New York Times results page now gives Sanders 408 final votes (after realignment presumably), Buttigieg 380, Biden 310, Warren 277 and Klobuchar 176.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final RealClearPolitics poll average for Iowa gave Bernie Sanders 24.2%, Joe Biden 20.2%, Pete Buttigieg 16.4%, Elizabeth Warren 15.6% and Amy Klobuchar 8.6%. As I noted in Friday’s Conversation article, polling for these caucuses has often been inaccurate. The caucuses begin at 12pm AEDT, and the process is described in that article. I will begin commenting on the results about 1:30pm after I return from bridge.

Elsewhere, the far-left Sinn Féin has surged in the Irish polls ahead of this Saturday’s election. Sinn Féin is equal first with Fianna Fáil in one recent poll, and two points behind in another. There is a chance that the two dominant Irish parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, will fail to win a combined majority of the seats. Both these parties are conservative. Other parties likely to win seats are left-wing, so a left majority is a possibility.

Polls in Ireland close at 10pm local time (9am Sunday AEDT). Exit polls will be released then, but no votes are counted until the next morning (Sunday evening AEDT). As Ireland uses Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system, it is likely to take at least a few days to finalise all counting.

And in Britain, Boris Johnson appears to want a hard Brexit on December 31, when the transition period ends.

US Iowa Democratic caucus minus six days

Polls show Bernie Sanders with a narrow lead over Joe Biden in Iowa. Also: the upcoming Irish election and yet more on Brexit. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Six days before the US February 3 Iowa Democratic caucus, the RealClearPolitics poll average has Bernie Sanders narrowly leading with 25.0%, followed by Joe Biden on 22.0%, Pete Buttigieg 17.0% and Elizabeth Warren 13.5%.  Nationally, it’s 28.4% Biden, 23.0% Sanders, 14.9% Warren, 8.0% Michael Bloomberg and 6.9% Buttigieg.  In the last two weeks, Biden and particularly Sanders have gained, mostly at Warren’s expense.

Iowa is important because it helps to winnow the field of candidates, and candidates who exceed expectations often get a surge in their national voting intentions.  Three more contests are scheduled in February: New Hampshire (February 11), Nevada (February 22) and South Carolina (February 29).

The early states are important mainly to demonstrate strength; on “Super Tuesday” March 3, 36% of all pledged delegates will be awarded, and this could be decisive.  Delegates are allocated proportional to vote share in each state and Congressional District (CD), but with a high threshold of 15%.  That threshold applies to CDs, so any candidate who fails to break 15% in a CD gets zero delegates from that CD.

Biden has polled strongly with black voters, but not so well with whites.  Iowa is a virtually all-white state.  If, as some polls suggest, Biden nevertheless won Iowa, he would likely be the Democratic nominee to face Donald Trump in November.  If he fails to win Iowa, Biden is still well-placed when the contest turns to more diverse states.

You can see my Conversation articles for more on the US elections.  The strong US economy is Trump’s best asset.

Is Brexit over on January 31?  No

After the Conservative landslide at the December 12 election, Boris Johnson easily passed his Brexit deal through the Commons, and Britain will Leave the European Union on January 31.

However, there will be no major changes until at least December 31, when the transition period expires.  The transition period could be extended, but Johnson has ruled it out by legislation.  The transition period is time to negotiate a UK/EU trade deal, and pass it through parliament.

While the Conservatives hold 365 of the 650 Commons seats, 118 Conservative MPs rejected Theresa May’s deal when first put to a vote in January last year, and 75 in March.  Johnson would easily lose Commons divisions if those defections were repeated.

If Johnson agrees a soft trade deal with the EU, he is likely to anger hard Leave Conservative MPs.  If no deal were agreed, there would be a “no deal” Brexit on December 31.  With Brexit assured, there would be little incentive for hard Leavers to hold their noses and vote for a soft Brexit.

Also in Britain, there is a Labour leadership contest.  This will be decided by a preferential postal vote among Labour members, with the result announced in early April.  The main contenders appear to be the pro-Remain Keir Starmer and the pro-Corbyn Rebecca Long-Bailey.  A mid-January YouGov poll of Labour members gave Starmer a 63-37 lead over Long-Bailey, from first preferences of Starmer 46%, Long-Bailey 32%.

A Starmer victory is unlikely to help Labour in Leave-voting regions.  According to a YouGov post-election poll, the Conservatives won lower-income voters by a greater margin than higher-income voters.  They won those with the lowest education level by 58-25.

Irish election: February 8

The Irish election will be held on a Saturday.  Previous Irish elections have been held on weekdays, so this Saturday election may boost turnout.  The 160 lower house seats are elected in 39 electorates that each have three to five members.  Ireland uses Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system, so a quota for election is 25% in three-member electorates, 20% with four, and 16.7% with five.

Irish politics has been dominated by two conservative parties: Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.  Currently there is a minority Fine Gael government.  Polls suggest Fianna Fáil will narrowly win the most seats, but there will be a large increase for the far-left Sinn Féin and the Greens.

Spain’s Socialists win confidence vote after election

I wrote for my personal website on January 8 that the left-wing Spanish government won its investiture vote by just two votes, 167 to 165.  Also covered: the left won the Croatian presidential election, a conservative/green government was formed in Austria, and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu easily won a primary for leadership of his Likud party.

Ireland abortion repeal referendum: 66.4 yes, 33.6 no

A follow-up guest post from Adrian Beaumont on the result of Friday’s referendum in Ireland to repeal the eighth amendment to the constitution, which greatly restricted abortion rights.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian’s work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here.

The Irish referendum on repealing the eighth amendment resulted in a Yes victory by an almost 2:1 margin (66.4% to 33.6%). All of Ireland’s 40 parliamentary constituencies except Donegal in the north returned Yes majorities. In Dublin, the Yes vote was over 73% in all constituencies, but it was also strong in the rest of the country. Apart from Donegal, the closest vote was 55.5% Yes in Cavan-Monaghan. Turnout was 64.1%, higher than for the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum (60.5%), and the Yes vote was also higher (66.4% vs 62.1%).

The effect of repealing the eighth amendment is that parliament can now legislate on abortion. As discussed previously, a Department of Health policy paper proposes to liberalise abortion laws. Given the strong Yes majority, these proposals should have no trouble in Parliament. Once passed, Northern Ireland will be isolated as the only part of the British Isles with strict abortion laws and no same-sex marriage.

In 1983, Ireland voted by a 67% to 33% margin in favour of the eighth amendment, which criminalised abortion unless the mother’s life was in danger, including by suicide. In 2001, Ireland came close to tightening the eighth amendment to exclude suicide; that proposed amendment failed by a narrow 50.4% to 49.6% margin. The massive landslide for Yes in Friday’s referendum implies that Ireland is a very different country from even 17 years ago. Exit polls indicated that only those aged over 65 voted No, with young people voting Yes by massive majorities.

At the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum, polls overstated the Yes vote by nine points. It seemed reasonable to think there would be a shy No vote for the abortion referendum, but this was not the case. The two polls that gave Yes a 28 to 29 point lead were close to the actual margin of 33 points, while Ipsos’s 12-point Yes margin was far too low. The two exit polls slightly overstated the Yes vote. It is possible that undecided voters could be persuaded to vote against same-sex marriage more easily than abortion.

Ireland abortion referendum: May 25

On Friday, Ireland will vote on whether to repeal its restrictive abortion law. Yes leads in the polls, but there are likely to be shy No voters. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian’s work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here.

In 1983, Ireland voted by an emphatic 67% to 33% in favour of a constitutional amendment – the eighth amendment – that allowed abortion only if the mother’s life was in danger, including by suicide. Other than this exception, abortion within Ireland is a criminal offence. Irish women who want abortions need to travel to the United Kingdom.

On Friday, May 25, Ireland will hold a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment. If the referendum is passed, parliament will be able to legislate regarding abortion. A Department of Health policy paper proposes to allow abortion within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy; where there is a foetal condition likely to lead to death before or shortly after birth; or where there is a physical or mental threat to the mother’s health. These proposals are likely to be adopted by Parliament if the Yes vote wins the referendum.

There have been three polls with field work during May. Two of these polls gave Yes a lead of 28 to 29 points, and over 50% of the vote including undecided voters. The most worrisome poll for Yes supporters was an Ipsos poll that gave Yes just a 44% to 32% lead. There are likely to be shy No voters who say they are undecided in a referendum on social reform.

In 2015, Ireland approved same-sex marriage at a referendum by a 62% to 38% margin. However, the four final polls had a Yes vote averaging 71% on a two-answer basis, so they overstated the actual Yes vote by nine points, and the difference between Yes and No by 18 points. If we subtract 18 points from the Yes lead in the current Irish polls, Yes leads by 10-11 points in the stronger May polls, but No leads by six in Ipsos. It is likely that Yes will win the referendum, but not as likely as implied by looking at the raw Yes leads in the polls.

Polls in Ireland close at 10pm May 25 local time (7am May 26 Melbourne time). However, counting will not begin until 9am May 26 Irish time (6pm Melbourne time). I would expect final results by Sunday morning Melbourne time.

Irish election thread

A thread for discussion of the Irish election, results from which should be through shortly. Commenter Oakeshott Country has passed on an exit poll which bears out expectations of an apocalyptic result for the ruling Fianna Fail party:

From Dublin:
An exit poll of 1200 nation wide – NOT RTE’s
Official Counting starts in 2 hours
Finn Gael – 29%
Labour – 22%
Sinn Fein – 15%
Fianna Fail – 11%
Ind – 10%
Green – 3%

The election is for Ireland’s lower house of parliament; its unelected upper house has only weak powers, similar to the House of Lords. Ireland’s head of state is an elected president whose functions are largely ceremonial – an election for this position will be held in October. The electoral system for Ireland’s lower house is similar to that for Australia’s Senate and most state upper houses. However, the country is broken up into regions which variously elect between three and five members, so while the system is a kind of proportional representation, it is difficult for small parties to win seats.