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Republicans: Trump wins Nevada, plus a look at Super Tuesday

Once again the headline out of a state is Trump winning. In Nevada the delegate count was:

14 Trump, 7 Rubio, 6 Cruz, 2 Carson, 1 Kasich

To be on the glide path for a 1st ballot victory though, Trump needed 15 of the 30 delegates. So he fell slightly short.

Now, don’t misunderstand. This is still an impressive victory, and looking at the upcoming states he has a clearer path to victory than anybody else. His margins were higher in Nevada than many people expected. But if today’s performance was replicated in all of the other states, Trump would come to the convention with more delegates than anybody else, but not the majority needed to win outright. Of course as we continue more people will drop out, and the amount with which states give bonuses to the winners increases, so that still seems like an unlikely final outcome.

Right now Trump continues to do everything he needs to do to win. Lets look at some of the graphs, then we’ll do a quick look at the March 1st “Super Tuesday” states.

chart-47

The overall delegate count is now:

81 Trump, 17 Cruz, 17 Rubio, 6 Kasich, 5 Carson, and 7 for people who have dropped out

Trump continues to dominate. Lets look at this as percentages:

chart-48

The “winners” here were actually Cruz, Rubio and Carson. Each of them improved their proportion of delegates with Nevada’s results. Trump actually went down. He doesn’t have to worry too much about that though. He still has a majority of the delegates allocated so far, and he is far far ahead of any of his opponents.

Finally, lets look at the “% of remaining delegates needed to win”, which I argue is the single most important thing to look at to understand where the race really is:

chart-49

Because Trump got 14 delegates instead of 15 delegates, his line goes up a little bit. (Remember, on this chart down is good, up is bad.) The red line goes from needing 49.39% of the remaining delegates to needing 49.42%. This is a relatively trivial difference though. It is basically flat. Trump’s situation is very close to unchanged.

Meanwhile, the other lines keep going up at a decent pace. Kasich and Carson add about 0.6% to their numbers. Cruz and Rubio add about 0.4%.

This should be obvious, but the more they lose, the harder it is to catch up.

Many people are still talking about how as consolidation happens, the remaining non-Trumps will do better and the picture will change. Maybe, but nobody new announced they were dropping out after the Nevada results (yet anyway). So it looks like we may still go into March 1st with a five person race.

Lets run a hypothetical using current polling on the Super Tuesday states and see where we end up using RCP poll averages for the five remaining candidates. We’ll make delegate estimates based on the specific delegate allocation rules in each state.

Texas (155 delegates)

  • Current poll averages: 37.3% Cruz, 28.0% Trump, 11.7% Rubio, 4.7% Carson, 3.0% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 99 Cruz, 56 Trump

Georgia (76 delegates)

  • Current poll averages: 35.0% Trump, 22.7% Cruz, 19.3% Rubio, 7.3% Carson, 6.3% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 50 Trump, 26 Cruz

Tennessee (58 delegates)

  • Last poll from November so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 37 Trump, 21 Cruz

Alabama (50 delegates)

  • Last poll from December so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 32 Trump, 18 Cruz

Virginia (49 delegates)

  • Using only February poll: 28% Trump, 22% Rubio, 19% Cruz, 7% Kasich, 7% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 17 Trump, 13 Rubio, 11 Cruz, 4 Kasich, 4 Carson

Oklahoma (43 delegates)

  • Using only February poll: 32.5% Trump, 25.0% Cruz, 15.5% Rubio, 7.0% Carson, 0.0% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 17 Trump, 15 Cruz, 11 Rubio

Massachusetts (42 delegates)

  • Current poll averages: 41.0% Trump, 17.0% Rubio, 10.0% Cruz, 7.5% Kasich, 3.5% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 23 Trump, 9 Rubio, 6 Cruz, 4 Kasich

Arkansas (40 delegates)

  • Using only February poll: 27% Cruz, 23% Trump, 23% Rubio, 11% Carson, 4% Kasich
  • Delegate estimates: 18 Cruz, 13 Rubio, 9 Trump (giving Rubio the 2nd place finish breaking 23% tie by alphabetical order)

Minnesota (38 delegates)

  • Last poll from January so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 18 Trump, 11 Cruz, 9 Rubio

Wyoming (29 delegates)

  • No polls at all, using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 12 Trump, 7 Cruz, 5 Rubio, 3 Kasich, 2 Carson

Alaska (28 delegates)

  • Last poll from January so using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 13 Trump, 8 Cruz, 7 Rubio

Vermont (16 delegates)

  • No polls at all, using national average: 33.6% Trump, 20.4% Cruz, 16.4% Rubio, 9.8% Kasich, 7.4% Carson
  • Delegate estimates: 10 Trump, 6 Cruz

OK, that’s it.  Adding all that up…

Estimated Super Tuesday delegate totals: 294 Trump, 246 Cruz, 67 Rubio, 11 Kasich, 6 Carson

That gives Trump 47.1% of the super Tuesday delegates, Cruz 39.4%, and everyone else much less.

Trump needs 49.4% of the delegates to be on the path to an outright win though! So 47.1% would be in the realm where heading to a contested convention might be possible! Still unlikely, as the additional states in March will add up fast, and more candidates are likely to drop out. Still though, possible!

Adding in the existing delegates, we’d have a post-Super Tuesday race that looks like this:

375 Trump, 263 Cruz, 84 Rubio, 17 Kasich, 11 Carson, 7 for candidates who have already dropped out

Now, these are estimates based on current polling, and very few of these states were well polled as of this post, so much of the above is based on one or two polls, or using the national averages rather than state polls. And I had to make the assumption that all congressional districts would mirror state results (which is unlikely to be true). And Wyoming actually elects individual delegates rather than doing things based on candidate preference, so it may be an oddball in the end. And of course things are likely to change further before people actually vote next Tuesday. But… the general outlines of this aren’t likely to be too far off.

If this is even remotely close to where we are on March 2nd, we end up with Trump very close to the 50% of delegate mark. (The above has him EXACTLY at that mark.) He would need just a LITTLE bit more to actually push him over the edge to a clean win.

The flip side of that though is the combination of all the anti-Trumps would need just a LITTLE bit more in order to have this be on the path to a contested convention. I mentioned earlier that this is still an unlikely outcome. It is. After March 1st, the disproportionality of delegates given to the winner increases, and after March 15th we have pure winner take all states as well. If Trump remains in the overall lead, even with a plurality, then that is all it takes to push him over the edge.

If the anti-Trumps want to have any hope here at all, they need to be in a position by mid-March that they can win not just a few, but many states of the winner-take-most and winner-take-all variety. And frankly, the most likely scenario even then is just forcing a contested convention where Trump still has the most delegates, not someone else winning outright.

The anti-Trumps would have a hard road to get to an outright win. Cruz would need 56.8% of the remaining delegates to catch up and win after March 1st if things played out like my estimates above.

If you had to make a guess based on what we know now, a Trump nomination is far more likely than any other… and with an outright delegate majority on the first ballot, not after a contested convention.

6 days until Super Tuesday. We’ll see how close my estimates above turn out to be.

Update 2016-02-26 07:17 UTC – On February 22nd New Hampshire certified the results of their primary. In the final tally Trump had one more delegate than previous estimates, and Rubio one less. This did not seem worthy of a separate post, but a note here seemed appropriate. The totals on ElectionGraphs.com have been updates appropriately. This does not substantively change any of the analysis above.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added.

[Edit 16:28 UTC to correct math on % of remaining Cruz would need after Super Tuesday, I’d originally shown a higher number around 61%.]

[Edit 2016-02-27 17:06 UTC to fix place where Kasich had been autocorrected to Quash.]

[Edit 2016-02-28 22:03 UTC to add dropped out candidates to the after Super Tuesday estimate.]

Electoral College: 01:15 – Lots of states, All expected

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 310 228
Current Status 206 332
Obama Best Case 190 348

There were no states called between 00:45 UTC and 01:00 UTC so there was no 01:00 update.

But there were tons of states called between 01:00 and 01:15 though.

  • Obama: CT, DE, DC, IL, MD, MA, ME-All, ME-1, RI
  • Romney: OK, GA

I also corrected the light blue line in the chart, which I’d neglected to decrement when Romney won South Carolina.  That line represents the states where Romney was ahead by more than 5%, but less than 10%.

The three scenarios remain the same though, as no close states have been called.  In 2008, since McCain’s best case was still to lose, I also tracked a “McCain SuperBest” case on election night, the case where he would have won all the states he was behind by less than 10% in.  That was to keep it interesting in a race that wasn’t close.  No need for that this time.

This time we wait for the states that are actually close.

2012 Republican Delegate Count: First Round of Super Tuesday Results

Chart from the Abulsme.com 2012 Republican Delegate Count Graphs page.  When a candidate gets down to 0%, they have cinched the nomination.  If they get up past 100%, they have been mathematically eliminated.  Rather than the date on the x-axis, we show the “% of Delegates Already Allocated” as this better represents the progress through the race.  Note that these numbers include estimates of the eventual results of multi-stage caucus processes which will be refined as the later stages occur.

So, Super Tuesday happened.  As of this update, Green Papers has “called” 385 of the 419 delegates available from the Super Tuesday contests.  There are 34 delegates that haven’t been determined yet that will result in updates later, but of the ones we do know, the estimates for Super Tuesday contests are:  Romney 208, Santorum 84, Gingrich 72, Paul 21.  Romney also picked up a Superdelegate, bringing the total for the day to Romney 209, Santorum 84, Gingrich 72, Paul 21.

Compared to the Sabato Crystal Ball projections which we used to game out Super Tuesday over the weekend, Romney performed better than expectations, as did Gingrich.  Santorum and Paul underperformed compared to those predictions.  In any case, where does this put us…

Bottom line, Romney is the big winner today, and this may be the start of him actually pulling away and heading toward the nomination, but he is still not out of the woods in terms of the danger of being blocked from 1144.  Lets look at the details.

The situation for Santorum, Gingrich and Paul is essentially what I mapped out in the gaming Super Tuesday post.  To paraphrase what I said there, it is now absolutely undeniably clear (although the trend was obvious even before today) that none of these three guys are on a path to the nomination.  Of the three, Santorum is doing the best, but with today’s numbers, to be on a path to win, he would need to now get  64.5% of the remaining delegates, compared to the 21.1% he has gotten so far.  For this to even come into the realm of possibility, Gingrich and Paul would both have to stop getting delegates, Santorum would have to pick up all of their support, AND something would need to happen to cause support for Romney to plummet.  This is a very unlikely sequence of events.  It isn’t going to happen.

Oh, I guess I should also note that Gingrich pulled back ahead of Paul for 3rd place.

The remaining question is: “Are the non-Romney’s collectively still in a position to potentially block Romney from getting to 1144?”  If after today, Romney was under 50% of the total delegates, and his “% of remaining needed to win” was heading upward or flat, this is a possibility that would be looking like it was still very much in play.  But Romney exceeded the 49.7% of delegates he needed in order to be on track toward 1144, and did it by a decent margin.  Of the delegates in today’s total, he picked up 209 of 386, or 54.1%.  This reduced his “% of remaining needed to win” from 49.7% to 48.5%.  That means to block, the non-Romney’s collectively need to be getting 51.5% of the delegates, compared to the 46.9% they have managed so far.  So they have to do better than they have been so far, and by a non-trivial margin.  And they have do do this even though it is obvious none of them can win outright.  It has to be about stopping Romney.

Now, the rest of March has a bunch of states that are supposed to be relatively good for the non-Romneys.  So the non-Romney’s managing to get 51.5% in the next few state is very much within the realm of possibility.  After that we hit more Romney friendly states in April.  The thing to watch for in the upcoming states is not who wins the popular vote, or even the delegate count.  The question will be: “Is Romney continuing to get enough delegates to avoid being blocked?”  Right now, that magic number is 48.2%.  As long as he is getting 48.2% of the delegates (or more) then he is marching his way toward the nomination.  If he gets less than that, then blocking will remain possible a little bit longer.  If the rest of March really is friendly to the non-Romneys, we may see that Romney’s “% needed to win” starts heading back up a bit before Romney hits friendly states again and starts fully pulling away.  As long as we see that happening, blocking Romney is still a possibility.  And indeed, if Romney is damaged by the contests in March and his April states start looking not so good after all, then blocking starts looking more real again.

But Romney’s “% of remaining needed to win” is the smallest it has been so far, and none of the other candidates have realistic shots at winning, only a shot at blocking that relies on them continuing to win delegates even though it is obvious they can’t win, so Romney is in a pretty good position right now.  Watch that line though.  Until it starts heading downward decisively, Romney hasn’t got it wrapped up just yet.

So what is next?  Well, first, the last 34 delegates from Super Tuesday (they are from Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee).  Then on Sunday we have Kansas (40), Guam (9), Northern Marianas (9), Virgin Islands (9).  Then Tuesday we have Alabama (50), Mississippi (40), Hawaii (20), American Samoa (9).  And then it goes on and on…