Delegate Math Week of June 6 (Part 1)

The week of June 6 marks the end of the Republican primary season and is the next to last week of primaries for the Democrats.  Given the sheer size of California, I will leave that state for its own post.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump is likely to go over 1,237 bound delegates this week.  (He is currently ninety-eight bound delegates short of that number.  Depending upon the site doing the count, he either currently has enough verbal commitments from unbound delegates or is just short of enough to reach that 1,237 number.  There was a time in early April when there appeared to be  a chance to keep Trump short of that number, but his opponents were never able to unite in a coherent strategy (and John Kasich never had enough funding) to target districts and states were Cruz or Kasich could win delegates.

Not counting California, the Republicans have four primaries scheduled for this week.  New Jersey is a winner-take-all state with fifty-one delegates.  Montana is also a winner-take-all state with twenty-seven delegates.  (If the race were still competitive, Montana would have been a difficult state for Trump as Cruz took all of the neighboring states.)  New Mexico is proportionate (with a 15% threshold) for its 24 delegates.  Finally, South Dakota is winner-take-all for its twenty-nine delegates.  (As with Montana, South Dakota would not have been a good state for Trump in a competitive primary.)  With Trump essentially being unopposed, he will probably pick-up enough delegates from these four states without the need for any delegates from California.   However, excluding New Jersey, Trump may find himself getting a lower percentage from these states than he would like.  I would not be shocked if either Kasich or Cruz or both picked up some delegates in New Mexico.

In addition to primaries in these four states, the Democrats also have a caucus in North Dakota.  The caucus will be at the legislative district level.  North Dakota only has one congressional district so the district-level delegates are allocated based on the state-wide results.  Those twelve delegates are allocated based on the vote at the legislative district caucuses.  North Dakota also has two pledged party leader delegates and four at-large delegates allocated in proportion to the number of district-level delegates (like Washington).   With twelve district level delegates, it will take 54.17% to get a 7-5 majority with an additional delegate for each 8.34%.  It will take an 8-4 split of the district level delegates to get a 3-1 split of the at-large delegates and a 10-2 split to get both party leader delegates.  Given Sander’s past performance in caucuses, he is probably looking  at taking 12 of the 18 delegates

The New Jersey primary should be the first results reported on the evening (the polls in the Eastern part of South Dakota close at the same time, but the Western half of the state does not close until an hour later).  New Jersey (like a handful of other states) does not use congressional districts for allocating its district level delegates.  Instead, New Jersey has twenty “delegate districts” (two adjoining legislative districts combined in each delegate district).  These districts have between three and five delegates each (eighty four total) with two districts having three delegates, twelve have four delegates, and six have five delegates.  The three-delegate districts are almost certain to split 2-1 (probably in favor of Clinton), it would take 62.5% to get a 3-1 split in the four-delegate districts (Clinton may get that in one or two districts), and the five-delegate districts are likely to split 3-2 (unless Clinton gets to 70%).  There are fourteen pledged party leader delegates (53.6% to get 8-6 and 7.2% for each delegate beyond that) and twenty-eight at-large delegates (51.8% to get 15-13 and 3.6% for each delegate beyond that) for a total of 126 delegates from New Jersey.  Based on current polling, Clinton is probably looking at getting something in the lower to mid-70s.  Combined with her expected results this week, sometime around 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Clinton should become the presumptive nominee.

Like North Dakota, South Dakota only has one congressional district.  There are fourteen district level delegates (see New Jersey for the breakdown), two pledged party leader delegates, and four at-large delegates (total of twenty delegates).  It is hard to project what to expect out of South Dakota as (with the exception of Montana), all of the neighboring states used a caucus process to allocate delegates and there is no notable polling of South Dakota.  (Since Clinton won the primary in Nebraska after losing the caucus, the caucus results are probably not a good estimate for a primary.)  Sanders would have to do better in the South Dakota primary than he did in the Minnesota caucus (his best result in a neighboring state) to do better than a 12-8 margin.

New Mexico closes at the same time as the western part of South Dakota.    New Mexico has three congressional districts with seven delegates in the second district and eight each in the first and third district (twenty-three delegates total).   With eight delegates, it will take 56.25% to get a 5-3 split and 12.5% for each additional delegate.  With seven delegates, a 4-3 split is likely with it taking 64.3% for a 5-2 split.  There are four pledged party leader delegates and seven at-large delegates (bringing New Mexico to a total of thirty-four delegates.  Looking at neighboring primaries in Texas and Arizona, Clinton seems likely to win with a 50-50 chance of getting to the 5-3 split in the first and third district.   If she got both, that would be a 20-14 margin.

Montana closes an hour after New Mexico.  While Montana only has one congressional district, the state is split in two (resembling the old split from when it used to have two districts) for the district level delegates.  The Eastern part of the state has seven delegates and the Western part of the state has eight delegates (see New Mexico) for a total of fifteen district level delegates.  It has four at-large delegates and two pledged party leader delegates (for a total of twenty-one).  As with South Dakota, it is difficult to project Montana due to the fact that the other surrounding states have all used caucuses.  The results in Idaho and Utah would project out to a 16-5 split in Montana, but the results in Wyoming would project out to an 11-10 split (both in favor of Sanders).

In short, it is probable that Sanders will win North Dakota and lose New Jersey and New Mexico.  Sanders also has a decent shot to take South Dakota and Montana, but because of the lack of primaries in the region (and the two states that had advisory primaries as part of the regular state primaries for all offices showing a big swing from Sanders to Clinton), it is unclear who will win those two states.  However, of the 221 delegates up for grab, Sanders best hopes are probably for something like a net swing of five to ten delegates in his favor and could have a net swing of ten to twenty in Clinton’s favor.  If these numbers hold up (and the projected results from this week’s two contests hold up), Clinton would only need something like 20-25% of the vote in California to clinch a majority of the pledged delegates at the convention.

The story of the campaign on the Democratic side (aside from Bernie being able to unify the progressive vote and get the anti-Washington vote from rural white voters) has been that Clinton has been able to win (and often win big) in many of the mid-size and larger primary states.  Using 50 delegates as a cut-off, Clinton has won 19 of 23 primaries (with only California and New Jersey) left.   In the four primaries that Sanders won in the large states, he took a net of twenty-eight delegates.  Clinton has five primaries in which she had a bigger net in a single state.  Of the nine states in which Sanders had a margin of ten delegates or more,  seven were caucuses and one of the two primaries was in his home state.  The math on the Democratic side is relentless.  It is very hard to make large gains in the small states, and a large margin in one large state can counteract the results in three or four small states.  Combining all of the margins in the states that Sanders won, only gives you a net of 226 delegates to date (even assuming good results on the 7th that total net will be something like the 245-250).  Clinton’s five biggest delegate margins (Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Virginia) by themselves combine to a total of a net of 244 delegates.   Those big wins in the big states also have had a major impact on the popular vote totals in which Clinton has a 3 million vote lead.  The combination of winning the pledged delegate race and the popular vote race (both by substantial margins) have placed Clinton on the verge of being the Democratic nominee.


This entry was posted in Bernie Sanders, Delegate Count, Delegates, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Primary and Caucus Results and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.