20 April 2016

Front Runners On Track To Win Nominations

The Republican Presidential Primary

Donald Trump's solid performance in the New York State Republican primary (well above polling in advance of the race) and strong polling in the states that vote next Tuesday in the Northeast, make the prospects that he will win a majority of the delegates in the first round of voting in Cleveland in July very high.

Running the numbers on a convenient delegate calculator at FiveThirtyEight, it appears that Trump can get away from some pretty lackluster results for the rest of the campaign relative to his current polling, if he does as well in other Northeastern states as he did in New York yesterday.

The only way that Cruz has a shot is to get to a contested convention with strong showings in Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, California, and a nearly complete sweep of the currently uncommitted delegates.  Particularly in California that means that Cruz needs a major surge in the polls there between now and the final day of the primary season on June 7.  If Trump can make a strong showing in California, Trump will be the nominee.

Even if Trump falls a little short of the magic number of pledged delegates going into the convention, it is unrealistic to expect that Cruz will be able to capture all, 95% or even 80% of the delegates who are not pledged on a first round vote, even if Cruz has a decisive lead among them.  Thus, Trump can probably afford to be as many as 25 or more pledged delegates short of the margin number when the dust settles on June 7, and can still win the nomination on a first round ballot. (The notion that someone who hasn't even run for President, someone who has dropped out of the race, or Kaisch, if he doesn't drop out of the race before then, could be nominated is sheer fantasy.)

Realistically, there is more than a two-thirds chance that Trump will capture the GOP nomination (particularly in light of the fact that he is the weakest of the three GOP candidates in a general election even relative to Ted Cruz which means that Trump's odds of being President understate the likelihood that he will be his party's nominee this year).

The Democratic Presidential Primary

Similarly, while a lot of attention has been devoted to the question of whether superdelegates unfairly sway the outcome of the Democratic primary process, where Clinton has won 21 contests and Sanders has won 17, given Clinton's strong polling in both the Northeastern states that vote on Tuesday and in California, and totals to date, it looks very likely that Clinton will go into the Democratic National Convention with a majority of the pledged delegates, in addition to almost all of the superdelegates.

Clinton over performed relative to the pace she needs to meet to win the nomination in New York and is likely to do so again next Tuesday, given her solid lead in polls of each of those states and the momentum she has coming off her stronger than expected win the New York.

Thus, a Clinton-Trump showdown in November continues to be, by far, the most likely outcome.

CNN's opinion markets reflect that, giving Clinton a 75% chance of being the next President, and Trump a 15% chance of being the next President (he has trailed Clinton by about 9 percentage points in general election runoffs for months).  The remaining 10% is presumably split somehow between Cruz, Sanders, Kaisch and Republican white knights who aren't in the running.  Realistically, of the three, the odds might be something on the order of Cruz 5%, Sanders 3%, Kaisch 1%, and none of the above 1%.

The odds that the Democrats will win the election in November are about 78%, which makes Republican stalling on a cenerist Democratic nominee of President Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court look like a counterproductive call for conservatives who will be in a weaker position after the election (and who might very well approve Obama's nominee in a lame duck session).

Indeed, the political parties both look likely to nominate the candidate still running who is weakest in a general election, rather than the one who would be strongest in a general election (Sanders and Kaisch, respectively).  Neither of those candidates have much chance at all of winning their respective party's nomination.

The Arizona Senate Race

Incumbent Republican Senator John McCain in tied with his Democratic opponent, Ann Kirkpatrick, in U.S. Senate race polling in Arizona.  Even the slightest of coat tails for Clinton in the general election could flip this seat to the Democrats.


andrew said...

Several days after New York, it is still hard to see a way that Trump doesn't capture a majority of the delegates before he gets to Cleveland. All of the contests on Tuesday are decisively in his favor according to polling. Polling puts Indiana in play, but Trump still leads there and benefits from Kaisch and Cruz splitting the not Trump vote there.

Trump's lead in California is still strong enough for him to win decisively there, and West Virginia and New Jersey also look good for Trump. Trump really has to dramatically underperform in both Indiana and California to have any real shot, while any stumble anywhere kills Cruz.

andrew said...

On the Democratic side, Clinton again has a very strong day ahead on Tuesday. After that, Clinton cruises easily to victory even if she can win a bit more than 40% of the vote in the average state, which isn't a very high bar. For the most part, Clinton is at least close to even with Sanders in many of the remaining races, and every 50-50 finish, no matter who actually wins a state, means that Sanders has to pick up even more than 60% of the vote in some other state. Sanders has some favorable states like Washington and Oregon ahead of him. But, he isn't favored 75-25 in those states as he would need to be to pick up the slack form states where he is 50-50 or trails Clinton.

We are looking a Clinton v. Trump absent some really extraordinary developments in the meantime. And, with the final votes cast on June 7 there are only about seven more weeks left when the delegate pool can shift.