Clinton 1223
Sanders 574
 Needed   2383
Trump 458
Cruz 359
Rubio 151
Kasich 54
Needed 1237
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Takeaways from Tuesday's Primaries

Alexander Burns at the New York Times has some takeaways from the primaries on Tuesday as follows:

  • With three wins, Trump is still in control of the Republican contest
  • The Democratic race hasn't changed: Clinton can't knock out Sanders, but Sanders can't expand his coalition
  • It was a miserable, disastrous night for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) because he has no core constituency
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) are competing for completely different voters with no overlap
  • The Midwest is the next big battleground, with Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri next week and Wisconsin on April 5
  • Open primaries matter: If independents weren't allowed to vote in Michigan, Clinton would have won in a landslide

Eric Bradner of CNN also has a list of takeaways about the primaries.

  • Sanders pulled off the upset of the year
  • Trump is eating everyone else's lunch
  • Clinton has a trade problem, in part because Bill signed NAFTA and only recently is she opposed to TPP
  • Marco Rubio's magic is all gone
  • Cruz and Kasich clobbered Rubio so maybe either of them could become the anti-Trump

There are several small-bore events this week, then next week we have five major states, two of the biggest using winner-take-all delegate allocation for the Republicans. If Trump wins all the states, he will be unstoppable. The Democratic primaries are proportional all the way to the end, which hurts Sanders. He is 200 pledged delegates and 650 total delegates behind and he needs to catch up. His win in Michigan got him a net gain of only seven delegates. If he wins all the states next week by a margin similar to his margin in Michigan, it will net him only a few dozen delegates. (V)

Another Day, Another Democratic Debate

Just three days removed from their previous encounter, the Hillary and Bernie Show descended on Miami on Wednesday night. The loss in Michigan has upped the pressure on Clinton but the not-getting-any-smaller delegate gap has done the same to Sanders. As such, we had another debate that was—at least by Democratic standards—quite snippy.

Much of the territory covered during the debate was, of course, quite familiar. The "millionaires and billionaires," Clinton's Wall Street speeches, the "rigged economy," Hillarycare, the evils of Donald Trump. They did find some new ground to explore, however, particularly as regards immigration/Latin America.

The debate was hosted by Univision, and both candidates are desperate to attract the Latino vote. While they broadly agreed that currently-ongoing deportations of families should stop—thus breaking with President Obama—they sparred on related issues. Clinton hit Sanders for voting against a 2007 amnesty bill, and compared him to the Minutemen—self-appointed volunteers who patrol the U.S.-Mexico border looking for undocumented immigrants. Sanders was furious at the comparison, as well he should have been, calling it "horrific." He was also compelled to defend himself when the moderators brought up his previous statements in support of former Cuban president Fidel Castro and current Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, both fellow leftists who ultimately abused their power. Sanders tried to explain himself by observing that Castro, in particular, did good things for Cuba, at least early in his career.

There were other moments where both candidates were forced to play defense as the moderators toed the line between "tough" and "overly pushy." Jorge Ramos, seemingly looking to prove that he is not in the bag for Clinton despite his daughter working for her campaign, grilled her on her emails and on Benghazi. Sanders was compelled to address questions about the viability of his proposals.

Mild fireworks aside, debate weariness seems very clearly to be setting in. The evidence of this? The #1 debate-related topic on Twitter was not immigration, or Benghazi, or Wall Street. It was Sanders' suit, which triggered a debate about whether it was blue or brown. Very much like the famous blue/black or white/gold dress.

This is the last Democratic debate until April; the exact date and location of the next matchup hasn't even been determined yet. Hopefully, we don't all go into debate withdrawal. (Z)

Republicans Take Their Turn in the Sunshine State

The Democrats hit Miami yesterday, and the Republicans take their turn tonight. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich will make their pitch to voters for a staggering 12th time.

Get your popcorn ready, because it's going to be a bloodbath. The last two were vicious, and the situation facing the three non-Trump candidates has gotten even more grim since then. Cruz allowed Rubio to be the main attack dog last time, but this time he may not be able to afford such passivity, since the race could slip away for good on miniTuesday. Rubio, for his part, is making his last stand, and will surely go down with guns blazing. Kasich is in a similar situation to Rubio, and may drop the nice guy shtick on the basis that desperate times call for desperate measures.

What will the Senators (and maybe Kasich) hit The Donald with? Well, their attacks seem to work best when they're something new that the billionaire has not prepared for. They haven't done much with the marriages/adultery yet, so maybe they go there: Donald, how many of the Ten Commandments do you support? Or perhaps the failed casinos in Atlantic City? Of course, past debates have shown us that Rubio and Cruz do not feel all that constrained by the truth, so maybe they can make up something out of whole cloth. Mr. Trump, where were you when Kennedy was shot?

In any event, the gladiatorial games begin at 8:30 p.m. EST. CNN, which is serving as co-host with the Washington Post will broadcast on all of their platforms. (Z)

Trump Leads the Republican Race in Florida

CNN/ORC and Quinnipiac have polled Florida. Here are the results.

Florida - CNN/ORC
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 40%
2 Marco Rubio 24%
3 Ted Cruz 19%
4 John Kasich 5%

Florida - Quinnipiac
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 45%
2 Marco Rubio 22%
3 Ted Cruz 18%
4 John Kasich 8%

The polls are fairly consistent. The bad news for Marco Rubio is that this is the end of the line for him. After the primary results are in he has a choice (1) drop out or (2) become a laughingstock. Being crushed by a buffoon in your own state pretty much finishes him off. (V)

Ohio Republican Party Going to Bat for Kasich

Normally, state parties do not pick winners in primaries. That is the job of the voters. However, the Ohio Republican party is discarding 64 years of tradition and doing everything it can to support its governor in next Tuesday's primary. It is deploying its turnout machine, which is driving a surge in absentee and early ballots, which are typically a third of the vote. The Party is even going after Ohio snowbirds at their winter addresses in an attempt to get them to cast absentee ballots. For Kasich, Tuesday is do or die. If he loses Ohio, he is likely to drop out immediately. (V)

Ohio Is Much Closer Than Florida

We have three new polls of Ohio by CNN/ORC, Quinnipiac University, and Fox News. Donald Trump leads in two of them, but the Fox News poll has Kasich in front. Here are the numbers.

Ohio - CNN/ORC
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 41%
2 John Kasich 35%
3 Ted Cruz 15%
4 Marco Rubio 7%

Ohio - Quinnipiac
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 38%
2 John Kasich 32%
3 Ted Cruz 16%
4 Marco Rubio 9%

Ohio - Fox News
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 John Kasich 34%
2 Donald Trump 29%
3 Ted Cruz 19%
4 Marco Rubio 7%

The margin of error on these polls is about 4%, so they are roughly consistent. In any event, with the Ohio Republican Party working very hard on the get-out-to-vote operation for Kasich, he has a shot at winning Ohio. If he wins, he might not drop out and the Republican Party would have another problem. Just when there was a gradual agreement that Cruz was the vehicle to stop Trump, Kasich pops up. For the establishment, Kasich is not only acceptable, but as good as it gets this year. He was in Congress for 18 years and then was twice elected governor of a key swing state. He has crossover appeal to independents and Democrats. On a couple of issues (Medicaid, Common Core), he has positions that are outside the mainstream for Republicans, but which could be assets in the general election. The only problem is that in a Trump-Cruz-Kasich three-way race starting March 16, Trump will win because many states have thresholds to get any delegates. If there were only one non-Trump candidate left, he would get all of the anti-Trump vote and be sure to pass the threshold.

CNN also polled Democrats and Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders in Ohio by 64% to 33%. (V)

Liberal Donors Set Up Big Push to Mobilize Latinos

Billionaire George Soros and other liberal donors are going to try to impact the general election by pouring lots of money into a super PAC whose goal is to get 400,000 new Latino voters to the polls in November. Most Latinos vote Democratic under all conditions, but with Donald Trump talking about deporting 11 million people and building a big beautiful wall on the Mexican border, in a Clinton-Trump race, Trump might be lucky to get 15% of the Latino vote. The autopsy report commissioned by RNC chairman Reince Priebus after the Republicans' 2012 loss said that to win the White House, Republicans need 40% of the Latino vote. Most of the money will be spent in three states with large Latino populations: Colorado, Florida, and Nevada. (V)

It's Howard Dean's Fault the Michigan Democratic Polls Were So Bad

The polls for the Michigan Republican primary were spot on, but those for the Democratic primary showed Hillary Clinton winning by 20 points. She lost by 1.6%. Why? The Washington Post has figured it out. Short answer: The likely voter screen was botched on account of 2008.

Long answer: It goes back to 2008. In that year, Michigan violated the rules and, like Florida, moved its primary to January. Then-chairman of the DNC, Howard Dean, announced that as punishment for violating the rules, Michigan's delegates wouldn't be seated. Barack Obama supported Dean and didn't file to be on the ballot. Hillary Clinton filed and, naturally, won although only 600,000 people voted since voters knew the results didn't matter. This year (and every year), the pollsters try to figure out who is likely to vote, the so-called "likely voter screen." One of the questions they ask is: Did you vote in the last contested Democratic primary? That was 2008 and was anomalous because the DNC said it wouldn't count. Thus the pollsters were way off in guessing who would vote.

That said, another issue is why Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) did relatively well with black voters in Michigan, getting about 30% of the vote. He got about 25% in Nevada and Oklahoma, but about 10% in most of the South. It is not clear why he did relatively better with blacks in Michigan than elsewhere, but one possible explanation is that many blacks in Michigan have or had good-paying jobs in the auto industry and feel threatened by free trade in general and the TPP—which Sanders strongly opposes—in particular. There is much less industry in the South, so having factory jobs being shipped overseas isn't a concern for black voters there, and thus they stuck with a known quantity, the Clintons.

One thing the media has missed with all the stories about Sanders' stunning upset is that he did really well compared to defective polls for reasons described above. If Michigan had not jumped the gun in 2008, then the polls would have been saying all along: "Michigan is neck and neck." Then the headlines would have read: "Sanders ekes out a victory." His win was stunning only because the polls were so wrong. If he wins neighboring Ohio next week, that will be truly stunning. The same effect is found in the financial news. If Foobar Corp. earns a billion dollars in some quarter but analysts expected it to earn 2 billion, the headlines read: Foobar in big trouble. But if the analysts had predicted earnings of half a billion, then the headlines read: Foobar doing great. In both cases, the headline should read: Analysts screwed up. Also with elections, what matters is how well you do, not how well you did compared to someone's (possibly very bad) prediction. (V)

Duckworth Got over 1,000 Donations after NRSC Tweet

The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a tweet condemning Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who is running against Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) for "not standing up" for veterans. It is sort of true. She can't stand up on her own two legs, because she lost both legs when the helicopter she was piloting for the Army was shot down in Iraq. This tweet generated over 1,000 donations to Duckworth's campaign. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Mar09 Sanders Pulls Off a Big Upset in Michigan
Mar09 Another Day, Another Trump Triumph
Mar09 Romney Speech Backfired
Mar09 Democrats to Debate in Miami
Mar09 Cruz Catching Up to Trump Nationally
Mar09 Republicans May Be Coming Around to Cruz in a Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Trump
Mar09 Would Dropping Out Before Florida Be Best For Rubio
Mar09 Would Dropping Out Before Florida Be Best For Rubio?
Mar09 Trump and Clinton Way Ahead in North Carolina
Mar09 Is Trade Trump's Big Issue?
Mar09 How Would a Brokered Convention Be Received by Trump Supporters?
Mar08 Democratic Debate Postmortem
Mar08 Two Democratic Primaries Today
Mar08 Republicans Vote in Four States Today
Mar08 The Stop-Trump Movement Is Gaining Steam
Mar08 Scared by Trump, Latinos Are Becoming Citizens
Mar08 Bloomberg Is Out
Mar08 Sanders Donors Want Him To Keep Going
Mar08 Supreme Court Makes a Decision on Gay Adoption
Mar08 Are the Intramural Fights Over?
Mar07 Sparks Fly in Flint
Mar07 Sanders Wins Maine Big Time
Mar07 Rubio Wins Puerto Rico Primary
Mar07 Preview of This Week's Events
Mar07 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Michigan
Mar07 Republican Leaders Are Really Stuck Now
Mar07 How Does It End for the Democrats?
Mar07 Republican Candidates Ranked
Mar06 Results of the Republican Caucuses and Primaries
Mar06 Results of the Democratic Caucuses and Primaries
Mar06 Democrats Debate in Flint, Michigan
Mar06 Puerto Rico's Republicans Vote Today
Mar06 Gov. Susana Martinez Endorses Rubio
Mar06 Trump Could Help Democrats in the House
Mar06 Will Trump's Opponents Follow Karl Rove's Advice?
Mar06 Sanders Raises More Money Than Clinton in February
Mar05 Republicans Hold Caucuses and Primaries in Four States Today
Mar05 Democrats Have Caucuses and Primaries in Three States Today
Mar05 Republican Debate Postmortem
Mar05 Trump Withdraws from CPAC Event
Mar05 Ben Carson Withdraws at CPAC Event
Mar05 Marco Rubio Slinks Back to Florida
Mar05 Could Romney's Speech Be A Gift to Trump?
Mar04 America Gets Schlonged By Trump
Mar04 Seven Takeaways from the Debate
Mar04 Seven More Takeaways from the Debate
Mar04 Romney Slams Trump
Mar04 Is Romney a Hypocrite?
Mar04 Republicans are in Desperate Times; What Desperate Measures Might They Employ?
Mar04 The Republican Party Meets Elisabeth Kubler-Ross