I95 Tuesday Preview

To find the last time we had five primaries on one day, we’d have to go all the way back to March 15. In fact, today will only be the third time (after Super Tuesday and March 15) that either party has five contests in one day. So it sounds consequential, doesn’t it?

Usually, my previews try to play up the drama of a voting day, but it’s hard to get excited about this one. On the Republican side, Donald Trump will win all five. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders can win a couple, but he won’t net enough delegates to better position himself for the May and June stretch run. It all feels so… procedural.

Of course, with yesterday’s news that Ted Cruz and John Kasich are now openly coordinating their campaigns to minimize Trump’s delegate haul over the next two months, things might get interesting again in May. I’ll have a column about that soon, but here’s a preview: it won’t work.

But before then, let’s make the most of tonight.


Republican I95 Tuesday

For the GOP, our questions are:

  1. In his quest to get to 1,237 by the end of the primaries, can Trump sweep Connecticut’s delegates?
  2. In his quest to get to 1,237 by the end of the primaries, can Trump sweep Maryland’s delegates?
  3. Who gets more second place results: Cruz or Kasich?

To predict our answers, let’s take a look at the states in order of delegate size:

Pennsylvania (71 delegates)

  • 17 state-wide delegates winner-take-all to the leading candidate across the state, regardless of percentage
  • 18 districts worth 3 delegates each (54 total), chosen by the totally annoying “loophole” primary (see Illinois Primary). They aren’t bound to their candidate and will be dramatically fought over in June and July if Trump hasn’t reached 1,237.
  • Last four polls: Trump 48.3 (and climbing), Cruz 26.5, Kasich 21.8
  • PPFA Predictions:
    • Trump wins the state and gets the 17 at-large delegates. We cannot allocate any other delegates.
    • Cruz has led the last seven polls in a row. He takes second.
    • The district delegates will be a source of controversy between now and the convention as all candidates fight for them. Cruz will have some organized effort, while Trump based on the reasonable premise that he won the state.

Maryland (38 delegates)

  • 14 state-wide delegates winner-take-all to the leading candidate across the state, regardless of percentage
  • 8 districts worth 3 delegates each (24 total), WTA to the candidate that wins each district, regardless of percentage
  • Last three polls: Trump 47.7, Kasich 26.7, Cruz 21.7 (and falling). Trump’s best poll was the most recent one, where he hit 53. Kasich has beat out Cruz for second in three straight.
  • PPFA Predictions:
    • Trump takes all 14 at-large delegates.
    • Kasich takes second place overall.
    • Polling percentages suggest Trump should win each district, but Cruz, Kasich, and #NeverTrumpers have targeted districts near anti-Trump DC. I’ll be optimistic and say that Kasich steals one.
    • Delegates from MD: Trump 35, Kasich 3

Connecticut (28 delegates)

  • 13 state-wide delegates that are WTA to a candidate that earns a majority, otherwise proportional to all candidates who earn 20 percent
  • 5 districts worth 3 delegates each (15 total), WTA to the candidate that wins each district, regardless of percentage
  • Last three polls: Trump 53.7 (climbing), Kasich 26.7, Cruz 13.7 (falling)
  • PPFA Predictions:
    • Trump’s huge lead in the polls almost certainly means he takes each of the districts comfortably, earning all 15 district delegates.
    • The only drama is in the state-wide vote, since Trump needs to clear 50 percent if he wants to sweep all 13 at large delegates. If he doesn’t, Kasich can grab some by finishing over 20 percent. Trump was right on the cusp of 50 percent for a while, but the last poll had him popping to 59. PPFA’s generally favorable column about Kasich after its experience at his Glastonbury town hall meeting might be his only hope for a post-poll bump.
    • State-wide prediction: Trump clears the majority threshold state-wide. Kasich comes in second, Cruz a distant last.
    • Delegates from CT: Trump 28

Rhode Island (19 delegates)

  • 13 state-wide delegates, split proportionally to all candidate who earn 10 percent of the vote.
  • 2 districts worth 3 delegates each (6 total), also split proportionally to all candidate who earn 10 percent of the vote.
  • The April polls: Trump 52.3 (with a bullet), Kasich 23, Cruz 12.3
  • PPFA Predictions:
    • Proportional results will allow all candidates to earn delegates, but Trump is on track to win most of them.
    • Can Cruz hang on to 10 percent to meet the threshold? Yes, state-wide, but not in both districts.
    • Delegate split: Trump 11, Kasich 6, Cruz 2

Delaware (16 delegates)

  • Winner-take-all state.
  • One poll (from 4/17-18): Trump 55, Kasich 18, Cruz 15
  • Likely result: Trump easily earns all 16 delegates. Kasich beats out Cruz for second.

Totals (five states, 118 bound delegates):

  • Trump wins all 5, earns 107 delegates
  • Kasich comes in second four times, third once, earns 9 delegates
  • Cruz finished second once, third place four times, earns 2 delegates
  • (Pennsylvania’s 52 unbound delegates split between Trump and Cruz come convention time.)

Answers to initial questions:

  • Trump sweeps Connecticut but not Maryland.
  • Kasich is the clear runner up on I95 Tuesday, further wounding Cruz heading into Indiana.

Democratic I95 Tuesday

Our only question: How many states can Sanders win? If he gets swept, we’ll see him further dampen his rhetoric and just coast until Clinton clinches a majority of the delegates. If he wins one or two, he’ll plug away at this pace. If he wins three or more, we’ll see him return to more aggressive campaigning, especially with his steady erosion of Clinton’s California lead.

All states and districts award delegates proportionally to those who earn 15 percent. Districts have different sizes, but all estimates below will assume they work out in a wash. In total, 384 pledged delegates will be allocated.

Pennsylvania (189 pledged delegates)

  • Seven most recent polls: Clinton 54.3, Sanders 38.3 (Clinton +16)
  • PPFA thoughts:
    • This is the day’s big prize. The other four primaries combined (195 delegates) just barely outweigh Pennsylvania alone (189).
    • The polls suggest Sanders has the momentum, which is remarkable considering Clinton’s New York victory and a media that has moved on to vice-presidential speculation. (My money’s on Tom Perez — a post for when it’s more appropriate.) Two of the seven polls have Clinton at 27- and 28-point leads, but the rest are between 8 and 15. I don’t think we can trust those massive gaps.
    • Important: it’s a closed primary (Sanders supporters ANGRY!)
  • Predictions: Clinton by about 10. Delegates: Clinton 104, Sanders 85

Maryland (95 pledged delegates)

  • Three most recent polls: Clinton 57.7, Sanders 33.7 (Clinton +24)
  • PPFA thoughts:
    • If we count Maryland as a “northern” state (students of colonial history just shuddered), it’s the northern state with the highest concentration of African-American voters. In fact, at 30 percent, it’s fourth nationally. Not good for Bernie Sanders.
    • Rare is the state where Sanders does not close the gap as the primary draws near, but that’s what we have in Maryland. Clinton has widened her lead across the month, from 15 to 22 to 25.
    • Closed primary seals the deal.
  • Predictions: Clinton by about 25. Delegate split: Clinton 60, Sanders 35

Connecticut (55 pledged delegates)

  • Three April polls: Clinton 49.3, Sanders 43.7 (Clinton +5.6)
  • PPFA thoughts:
    • Earlier in the month, there were Clinton leads of 6 then 9, but that dropped to just 2 by Monday, even though Clinton’s New York win and building inevitability status should have nudged her up.
    • But it’s a closed primary, sooooo…
  • Predictions: Clinton by about 4. Delegate split: Clinton 29, Sanders 26

Rhode Island (24 pledged delegates)

  • Two April polls: Clinton 44, Sanders 41.5 (Clinton +2.5)
  • PPFA thoughts:
    • Interestingly, a February poll had her up 9, 49 to 40. Then, both candidates lost six points by a mid-April poll (43-34). Only 77 percentage points were accounted for. Very strange. These late deciders seem to have broken to Sanders, who led the most recent poll 49 to 45.
    • This is the only state today that’s merely a semi-closed primary, meaning unaffiliated voters can participate.
    • Sanders excels in tiny states. They don’t get any tinier than Rhode Island.
    • It’s also only 7.5 percent black, putting it right around Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wisconsin, all Sanders victories.
    • In sum, it’s Sanders’s best shot at a win today.
  • Predictions: Sanders by about 10. Sanders 13, Clinton 11

Delaware (21 pledged delegates)

  • One April poll (from 4/18): Clinton 45, Sanders 38
  • PPFA thoughts:
    • Another closed primary.
    • Delaware 21 percent African-American.
    • It’s just not Bernie’s day.
  • Predictions: Clinton by about 10. Delegate split: Clinton 12, Sanders 9.

Totals (five states, 384 pledged delegates):

  • Clinton wins four, earns 216 delegates
  • Sanders wins one, nabs 168.

Answers to initial question:

  • Sanders wins one.
    • Sanders stays in the race until Clinton reaches a majority of delegates, but he starts to put the gloves back on.
    • He’ll justify this decision by wanting to have his issues heard and give his loyal supporters a chance to vote for him on June 7.
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