Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 22 Results

Both parties held contests in Utah and Arizona.  There was also a Democratic Caucus in Idaho.

As expected, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective party's contests in Arizona by significant Margin.  Trump wins a winner take all in Arizona.  Clinton, of course, must share her delegates proportionally with Sanders.

Ted Cruz landed a big win in Utah. Although it does not have as many delegates as Arizona, Cruz gets a winner take all win because he got over 50% of the vote.  A late poll showed John Kasich coming on strong in Utah, but it appears that poll was just wrong.  It looks like he has beaten Trump but just barely.  From a delegate perspective it does not matter as the 2nd and 3rd place finishers both get no delegates.  Kasich's poor showing, even in relatively unfriendly states, will increase calls for him to withdraw.  That is unlikely as Kasich will be hoping for better results in future contests on east and west coasts as well as a few more in the mid-west.  If he does poorly in Wisconsin in two weeks, you may hear those calls to go grow louder.

Bernie Sanders won big wins in Utah and Idaho.  Again, neither is as big as Arizona, so not as many delegates at stake.  Sanders, who was expected to pull out a relatively close fight was able to push turn out in massive numbers leading to much larger wins in Utah and Idaho, both by over 75%.. Because Democratic contests are still proportional, a big win allows Sanders to collect more delegates than a close win.  Sanders supporters remain much more motivated, giving Sanders increased support in caucuses over primaries.  As a result, Sanders will pick up a larger percentage of delegates in those States.  Overall, it looks like the candidates will probably divide the total delegates of all three States about evenly.

Coming out of these contests, each candidate has a unique spin.

Donald Trump's line will be that he won the most votes for the night and continues to widen his lead over the others.  He will continue to argue he is the clear choice.  Yes, Cruz won a closed caucus on a highly conservative State, but there there are few more contests like that on the calendar.

Ted Cruz will point out that he is the only serious challenger to Trump, that he can take States away from the winner.  Anti-Trump forces should stop dividing their efforts and focus on helping him win more upcoming States.

John Kasich will continue to argue for relevance.  The next Republican contest is Wisconsin in two weeks.  This is an open primary in a more moderate mid-west State.  It is Ohio's next door neighbor. It will be the first favorable State for Kasich in a three person race.  He really has to win there to remain relevant.  If he divides the vote and allows Trump to take all the delegates with a plurality, you will hear screams for him to leave the race and allow the race to become a two person race.  Even if he does, Cruz does not appear to have much of a shot of winning even in a two person race in the mostly mid-Atlantic and west coast States remaining.

Hillary Clinton will argue inevitability and focus on her existing massive delegate lead.  She would point out that Utah and Idaho were relatively small mostly white States with closed caucuses, which tend to benefit Sanders, who tends to lose the larger States with open primaries.

Bernie Sanders will argue the tables are turning, that Clinton did well in southern States with large black populations and those are almost completely done.  Sanders has a few more States upcoming with closed caucuses in largely white States.  If he can rack up similar big wins in upcoming Alaska, Hawaii and Washington caucuses, he may have momentum to carry him into Wisconsin and the mid-Atlantic primaries that follow.

Large voter turnout continues to surprise analysts.  This seems to benefit Sanders who is finding motivated activists who will turn out and fight for him in the typically lightly attended caucuses.  The increased turnout is not usually enough to win larger primaries.  On the Republican side, larger turn out has largely been credited to new Trump supporters.  Utah, however, seemed to show large turn out for Cruz.  Apparently, people are sufficiently afraid of a Trump victory to turn out in large numbers against him as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment