March 26, 2016
We have no polls. That’s good. It means there’s more reason to read a forecast piece. Also, I’ve got a solid track record picking Democratic contests without data. Here’s the full list of mistakes so far:
Nevada (limited, but updated data)
Colorado (very limited, old data)
Michigan (plenty of updated data)
Illinois (some updated data)
Missouri (limited semi-updated data)
Bernie was picked to win, but lost three times. Hillary twice. Doesn’t look like a big bias either way. Colorado was the only miss with limited to no data. Mistakes were actually more frequent with more information.
We’ve done fairly well in the margin of victory category. A couple/few Super Tuesday states were a little light on Hillary’s support. A few western caucuses were a little light on Bernie’s. I thought Ohio was going to wind up close. It didn’t. Most margin errors were from understating the gap, regardless of who the winner was.
As we dive in to figuring out Hawaii, I’m taking the above record into account. Bernie is immediately the favorite in any caucus. Nevada was Hillary’s one win (I’m counting Iowa as a tie. Sanders actually had more individual voters.)
We’re calculating margins here. Bernie has the following post-Nevada caucus results:
Nebraska (closed) 57.2%
Colorado (closed) 59.0%
Minnesota (open) 61.7%
Maine (closed) 64.2%*
Kansas (closed) 67.7%
Idaho (open) 78.1%
Utah (semi-open) 79.3%
The open/closed stuff above is in reference to who gets to participate. Closed means Democrats only. Open means any registered voter. Semi-open allows for Independents/undeclared. Semi-closed at least has a loophole or two, but is primarily for Democrats.
We care because Hillary fares better with actual Democrats, Bernie far better with Independents. The easier it is for someone to feel the Bern and rush to the caucus, the better for Sanders.
Bernie really struggles in closed primaries. With a caucus, he’s still more than able to win, but the above numbers indicate he does far better when open. Nevada and Iowa were both closed.
Hillary does better when there’s more ethnic diversity. However, this is the first state where that diversity is mostly Asian or Pacific Islander, not Latino or African American.
Bernie does better in very blue places. Hawaii is very blue. Perhaps there’s an Obama Factor. The president was born and mostly raised in the Aloha State. As we know, Hillary is the Obama’s Third Term candidate. Don’t know if that matters, but it can’t hurt her.
Our final variable is Tulsi. Bernie has his best surrogate here. Tulsi Gabbard is a rising star on the islands and in the party. She ditched out of a senior role at the DNC to endorse Sanders. It’s possible she’s the heir to the insurgency, the person to take the Political Revolution forward in 2020.
With candidates unable to easily travel to Hawaii for intensive on the ground campaigning, surrogates are a bit more important. Beyond having boots on the ground, she’s especially important because her boots were on the ground in Afghanistan for a full tour.
Bernie’s biggest weakness with Democratic voters is on foreign policy. Gabbard expressly endorsed him because of foreign policy. She was born in American Samoa and is both ethnically mixed and a practicing Hindu. This is a long way of saying you couldn’t have engineered a better surrogate.
Throwing all of the above in the blender, we get this:
Bernie Sanders 68.8%
Hillary Clinton 30.6%