February 20, 2016
It’s Caucus Day for Hillary and Bernie. This is the biggest contest of the Democrats campaign. If Sanders wins, the whole narrative changes. Will he?Bernie Sanders 51.2%
We’re flying blind here. Only three polls in 2016. The one most favorable to Bernie is the only one he’s noticeably trailing in. If you adjust all the polls, Hillary has a small edge. FiveThirtyEight gives Hillary a small edge. The betting markets give Hillary a small edge.
If this was South Carolina, I’d base my guess primarily on the polls, accounting for trends, etc. You’ll see exactly that when the Palmetto piece is up in a short while. In this case, the respective campaigns have done more polling than the outsiders.
I don’t have access to the internal data. If either has leaked any, they’re being selective about what gets out, so that’s almost worse than no information. The only clues are in the actions of the campaigns.
Both seem to think Bernie has broken through with Latino voters. That squares with the external polls. That’s good for him. Hillary did the full pander on immigration issues in the MSNBC event Thursday. That’s another sign.
Bernie has some excellent advertising, with a mix of English and Spanish speaking Hispanic voters talking about the housing crisis in Nevada. No state was hit harder by foreclosures.
Projecting a turnout model is next to impossible. This is only the second competitive Democratic caucus in Nevada history. Completely going on feel here. Think Bernie turns out just enough voters to get the win. 11:00am is late enough in the morning for students to shake off their Friday night.
Many casino workers have time to grab some sleep after their night shift and can caucus before they are back on the floor again. The Culinary Workers union didn’t endorse. Even if they had, rank and file members are showing signs of abandoning their leaders to support Sanders.
Turnout in 2008 was approximately 117,000. Iowa turnout fell short of eight years ago. Bernie and Hillary couldn’t compete with what Barack Obama, John Edwards and Clinton were able to do.
Edwards was not a factor in Nevada in ’08. As such, this round may match or exceed that election, won by Hillary. New Hampshire turnout was a record. If 100,000 plus participate, he should win. I’m thinking the number winds up over that.
Hillary Clinton 48.7%
If I’m right and Sanders wins, you can chalk it up to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Clinton has overtly focused on South Carolina and March 1 to the exclusion of Nevada. She spent the final couple days in the Silver State, but was busy rounding up endorsements in Harlem instead of meeting with Nevadans.
Bernie didn’t spend that much more time in state. He was holding rallies in Minnesota and Colorado on his way over. But his volunteers are all over the place and for those paying attention to itineraries, at least he was out West.
Clinton pushed much harder in New Hampshire where the data indicated she had little chance of winning than in Nevada where it didn’t. The campaign doesn’t have a reputation for strategic brilliance, but they’re better than given credit for and showed in Iowa how well they count.
If Hillary’s team isn’t confident she’s going to win and didn’t take steps to fit Nevada behind her firewall instead of in front of it, there’s no reason for me to assume she will win without strong data to the contrary.
Prepare for the quake.