There is a non-zero chance that Hillary Clinton will have a bad day tomorrow.
My model is estimating two Sanders wins on Tuesday, in Missouri and Illinois. However, Illinois and Ohio are both effectively coin flips with such thin margins between victory and defeat (if you recall, I put Bernie at 53.48% in Michigan and he won by less than 1%, though my model should be more accurate now). It is also estimating two wide victories for Hillary in North Carolina and Florida, which is and has been expected. Here are tomorrow’s projections:
Only one Bernie win in Missouri will not likely lead to any permanent change in the perception of Hillary being the candidate that is destined to win the nomination. Two upsets will likely change the narrative of the presidential race, and bolster Bernie’s image as a threat to the prospect of Hillary being the Democratic nominee. Three upsets tomorrow will likely transform Bernie from “challenger” status to “probable nominee”status, and I say this because early numbers indicate to me that Bernie will win (at least) the next eight states in a row, all the way until April 19th. If Sanders wins three states tomorrow, this means that in mid-April he will be able to say that he has won eleven of the last thirteen state primaries. That’s some serious momentum.
I’ve also been putting together a GOP model over the past week. Though the model seems to fit previous elections extremely well, the GOP elections are just far too volatile for me to have much confidence in the numbers. Regardless, it is estimating at least two upsets tomorrow, in Florida and North Carolina. If it turns out to be acceptably accurate, I will begin posting projections for the GOP as well.
After projecting one incorrect result on Super Tuesday, in the state of Minnesota, I was able to refine my forecasting models further. There does seem to be some variability in these outcomes that I am currently unable to account for, e.g. if the models predict a win in Minnesota, a win in Iowa also should have happened. Iowa could without a doubt be a special case for our purposes, as it was indeed the first state to hold a Democratic Caucus, both candidates had been campaigning there relentlessly for months, and so on. Therefore, it stands to reason that, looking backwards, perhaps it was Iowa that was the anomaly, and not Minnesota. Sanders outperformed my estimates in every state except Texas, Alabama, and Arkansas; with these states of course having in common the characteristic of being southern and having a larger minority population.
Fortunately, these next four states seem to be firmly in one or the other candidate’s favor. Here are the new projections:
Hillary Clinton will win Louisiana by a significant margin, but the subtle and interesting characteristic of this estimate (as my colleague Matt pointed out to me) is that the estimated margin of victory seems to be smaller than other similar states. For instance, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina are almost identical in demographic makeup as Louisiana, yet Clinton won all those states with greater than 70% of the vote. This could signal that Bernie Sanders is becoming increasingly more popular with the minority community.
Bernie Sanders is projected to win the other three states, Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine. Though these states have relatively few delegates up for grabs, this will still be a victory for his campaign insofar that it should create some positive momentum for his campaign after he lost the majority of the Super Tuesday states. Honestly, I expected the estimates for Kansas and Nebraska to signal a more hotly contested race, but the data from the past three days shows that the residents of these states are certainly feeling the Bern.
Special thanks to Andrew, Phil, and Matt for their collaboration and thoughts.