Making Sense of the Polls: Trump, Clinton Dominate Super Tuesday

March 2, 2016 Updated: March 2, 2016
FONT BFONT SText size

Donald Trump won 7 of the 11 Super Tuesday states, to 3 for Ted Cruz and 1 for Marco Rubio. Trump’s best state was the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts, where he won 49 percent. He also had solid wins in Alabama (43 percent), Georgia and Tennessee (both 39 percent); in these four states, Trump won a majority of the delegates.

Trump narrowly won Arkansas (33-30 vs Cruz), Virginia (35-32 vs Rubio) and Vermont (33-30 vs John Kasich). He had narrow losses to Cruz in Oklahoma (34-28) and Alaska (36-34), and an embarrassing third place finish in Minnesota (Rubio 37 percent, Cruz 29 percent, Trump 21 percent). Trump’s poor performance in Minnesota may have been because it is a caucus state; he also underperformed in the Iowa caucus, and he had been expected to win the Alaska caucus.

Cruz dominated his home state of Texas, the biggest Republican prize with 155 delegates. He won 44 percent of the vote, to 27 percent for Trump and 18 percent for Rubio. He appears to have won all of Texas’ Congressional Deistricts (CDs), giving him two of three delegates for each CD. As a result, Cruz looks likely to win 103 Texan delegates, to 50 for Trump and 2 for Rubio.

Despite Cruz’s wins, his path to the nomination remains in tatters, as he needed to win many more southern states. He is likely to win in highly religious states, such as Kansas and Utah, but he will not come anywhere near a majority of delegates.

Rubio missed three delegate thresholds; he needed 20 percent to win statewide delegates in each of Alabama, Texas and Vermont, but won only 19 percent in Alabama and Vermont, and 18 percent in Texas. As a result, Trump and Cruz combined won all statewide delegates in Alabama and Texas, and Trump and Kasich won all delegates in Vermont.

According to this delegate tracker, Trump won a total of 256 Super Tuesday delegates, to 216 for Cruz, 96 for Rubio and 21 for Kasich. That gives Trump an overall total of 338 delegates, to 233 for Cruz, 112 for Rubio and 27 for Kasich. Trump has 47 percent of the current total. A total of 1,237 delegates are needed to win the nomination.

This was a strong performance by Trump, but not a knockout blow. There will be more primaries and caucuses next Sunday and Wednesday Melbourne time, but these are unlikely to settle things, partly because semi-proportional allocation will still apply.

The next very big day is Tuesday 15 March, when five states vote. Two of these, Rubio’s home state of Florida and Kasich’s home state of Ohio, are straight winner takes all—the statewide winner wins all delegates. Illinois and Missouri are winner takes all by CD and statewide, and North Carolina is proportional representation. If Trump wins both Florida and Ohio, that will be the knockout punch.

Clinton Wins 7 States to 4 for Sanders, but Dominates Delegate Count

In the Democratic nomination contest, Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont, the caucus states of Minnesota and Colorado, and somewhat surprisingly Oklahoma. However, Hillary Clinton’s margins in the states she won were huge: 78-19 in Alabama, 66-30 in Arkansas, 71-28 in Georgia, 66-32 in Tennessee, 65-33 in Texas and 64-35 in Virginia; she also won Massachusetts 50-49.

The only state Sanders won by a colossal margin was his home state of Vermont, where he crushed Clinton 86-14. In Oklahoma, Colorado and Minnesota, he won between 52 and 62 percent of the vote.

As delegates are allocated proportionally, and as the states Clinton won have a far larger population than Vermont, Clinton gained 453 pledged delegates today, compared with 284 for Sanders. That takes Clinton’s overall pledged delegate lead to 544-349.

There are few, if any, states remaining where Sanders has a huge lead over Clinton, while Clinton will have big wins in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana in the next two weeks. Clinton continues to have overwhelming support from superdelegates. Unless something major derails her campaign, Hillary Clinton will win the majority of the pledged delegates, and be the Democratic Presidential nominee.

Adrian Beaumont is a Ph.D. student at the department of mathematics and statistics at the University of Melbourne in Australia. This article was originally published on The Conversation.