March 1, 2016
The Sooner State is one of the most important on the board today. It’s the only state outside of Vermont with current polling data where Bernie leads Hillary. If there’s a Sanders Miracle on Super Tuesday, it begins here.
Trump is the clear favorite on the GOP side, but Cruz and Rubio are both close enough to win if everything broke right for one and wrong for the other. Failing at that, the two are virtually tied in recent polls.
The Fight for Number Two plays out here too.
Bernie Sanders 50.9%
Two new polls. Bernie leads one 48/43 and trails the other one 30/41. That’s a ton of undecided voters. FiveThirtyEight has this contest virtually tied. When you have polls taken at the same time and one has him ahead by 5, the other trailing by 11 with almost a third unsure, you can argue for anything.
Before anyone started voting, before there were any 2016 polls, I thought Oklahoma was a definite Hillary state. I figured Tennessee and Virginia were in play, but this wasn’t. It appears he won’t compete well in either of those.
While I expected Bernie to struggle with African American voters (though not to quite the extent he is) in the earlier contests, at that point, it appeared Bernie would do well with white voters where Barack Obama did well with white voters.
This was a Hillary state in 2008. It isn’t now. The populist streak in this part of the country has returned, and Trump is showing some momentum. It’s a coin flip, but this one lands on Sanders.
Hillary Clinton 49.0%
There’s a very real chance Hillary sweeps every non-Vermont state. The Berners are more confident about hanging on here than a few other targets. After they overshot their Nevada estimate, I’m not putting too much weight on the campaign’s pronouncements, but Hillary has focused her recent attention elsewhere.
There are more delegates in play in Virginia and other stops on her itinerary. The Nevada result was partially due to a full Clinton blitz in the final 48-72 hours. In this case, Team Sanders is pushing harder.
With Hillary not very popular in the state, you can make a case that Oklahomans will pick Bernie to keep the race from being decided too soon. I doubt that many voters think this way, but when things are this close, anything can make a difference.
Donald Trump 33.5%
This is about exactly where the FiveThirtyEight algorithm has this contest. There aren’t many different ways to read the data. If it isn’t wrong, this is where he lands. Cruz and Rubio have continued to contest the state, and Trump only recently hit 35% in a poll.
It’s hard to imagine him scoring worse than the high 20s in any state that isn’t noticeably hostile to him. Trump has spent a good amount of time in the state and held multiple large rallies.
With Cruz and Rubio roughly equivalent, having one of them do well enough to surpass him is hard. They might wind up clustered together, but Trump should remain at the top of the heap.
Marco Rubio 25.4%
The data has Rubio and Cruz virtually tied. This was true in both Nevada and South Carolina and Marco wound up ahead both times, once by a couple percent, once by a couple on the other side of the decimal point.
Enough of the population is in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas for Marco to do his thing with upscale suburban/exurban voters. Cruz has to fight Trump in the smaller cities and rural towns.
Ted Cruz 22.9%
To wind up as the final anti-Trump, Cruz needs to defeat Rubio in a state like this. Arkansas and Tennessee too. He might get this one, but I’m betting against it. The case for Marco as the challenger is based on Ted’s inability to beat him in places like this. If he does, the narrative flips.
Ben Carson 9.6%
See previous March 1 prediction reports on how I got here.
John Kasich 8.3%
Ditto. The important states for him are Vermont and Massachusetts, unless he also manages to surprise in Minnesota (doubtful). Beyond that, he’s more interested in how Cruz/Rubio shakes out than if he winds up at 6 or 9 percent here.