March 12, 2016
GOP voters in the District visit their local caucus precinct today. Republicans are a rare breed in the nation’s capital. Both George McGovern and Walter Mondale managed to carry it along with one state, while losing the other 49 in their respective landslide defeats.
Nonetheless, they still get to help choose a presidential candidate. As such, it’s time for a prediction.
Caution: There are no polls. This isn’t the only time we’ve dealt with this knowledge gap in the past several days. The results are mixed.Maine GOP (most recent poll December 2014)
Predicted: Kasich, Trump, Cruz, Rubio.
Actual: Cruz, Trump, Kasich, Rubio
Credit for deciding Trump wouldn’t win after grabbing wins in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. Some credit for predicting Cruz would wind up more than 10 points ahead of Rubio, after Marco did better in the other New England states.
Having Kasich barely break double digits instead of winning is a bit of a whiff though.
Maine Democrats (no data)
Predicted: Sanders 65.1%, Clinton 34.3%
Actual: Sanders 64.3%, Clinton 35.5%
Not too shabby, eh? Did I mention there was no polling?
Nebraska Democrats (no data)
Predicted: Sanders 62.9%, Clinton 36.7%
Actual: Sanders 57.1%, Clinton 42.9%
Close enough. Given how actual pollsters did in Michigan, I’m happy my dart throwing was reasonably accurate.
Puerto Rico Republicans (no data)
Predicted: Rubio, Trump, Cruz, Kasich
Actual: Rubio, Trump, Cruz, Kasich
We figured Rubio would win half the vote, the day after having very poor results in the Saturday contests. This felt brave at the time, but he actually took three quarters. Still more proud than not of this one.
Hawaii Republicans (no data)
Predicted: Rubio, Trump, Cruz, Kasich
Actual: Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich
This was just a miss. You could have picked names out of a hat with better accuracy. I’ll spare you the excuses.
Overall, it’s a pretty good record, one that is being put at risk today. Speaking of which, I’ve stalled enough. Time to decide who gets a small boost of momentum heading towards Tuesday.
It’s a closed caucus. That favors Ted Cruz. People are voting. That favors Donald Trump. It’s an upscale, educated area, with few GOP partisans. Good for John Kasich. A primarily Democratic area, with holdout Republicans probably decently conservative, but fairly inclusive. Marco Rubio.
If you’d asked me on February 29, I would have picked Rubio with very little reservation. Of course, he now has the worst momentum of any candidate. This really isn’t getting any easier. Ugh.
John Kasich 31.8%
If there are voters anywhere in the country who would favor experience in government, it should be here, right? D.C. residents would have more memory of Congressman Kasich, the guy who was a strong conservative back in the 90s.
Polling indicates his conservative Ohio constituents are more likely to support him than similarly conservative voters elsewhere. Perhaps this carries over to the District.
Combined with his existing support with moderates, it would get him to a win as long as the other three split the remaining support fairly evenly.
Ted Cruz 26.8%
I’m betting on a floor on how badly Cruz could possibly do in a closed caucus. He may only need a few thousand votes to wind up here. The campaign is very organized, and virtually always does slightly better to somewhat better than you think it will.
I wouldn’t be shocked if he won. Two weeks ago I would have picked him last. By clustering everyone within a few points, I’m chickening out a bit. Anyway, this seems like the most logical landing spot for him.
Donald Trump 22.9%
The betting markets actually thought he had a chance in Puerto Rico. He didn’t get close, finishing second, but more than 50 points behind Rubio. With that in mind, I figured he’d struggle a bit in Hawaii. Not so much.
Apparently, The Donald did call-ins to several Aloha State radio shows in the run-up to the caucus. Thousands of miles from the mainland, that almost counts as showing up and holding a rally.
D.C. voters probably feel like they get more than enough of everyone. If he wins this one, I give up picking against him in quirky non-main event contests. His campaign remembered Hawaii was voting, so they probably didn’t forget about this one either.
Marco Rubio 17.7%
Just taking on too much water. This is higher than his recent poll placement in any of the states that are voting real soon. The results in Hawaii have scared me away from picking him to win anything else until he has a good Florida poll.
This is actually a slightly larger vote share than he got in Hawaii. I’m a bit of a Rubio homer and picked him to win the two contests he won, but it’s not looking good for him here.