I’m going to make this simple. The primary season has not started yet. It starts in a few weeks. Everything we are doing now is pre-Primary. Not one person has put pen to checkmark in a voting booth.
Once that process starts, everything changes. Suddenly there is more polling in downstream states. Starting before the first primaries, but then ramping up as we head towards states that matter (and no, Iowa and New Hampshire don’t matter despite what you may have been told). Same with campaigning. We’ve seen a few debates, there’s been a lot of speeches, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. And other things (fund raising, more endorsements, etc.)
I thought I’d start out a discussion on the historic context by producing the simple graphic above. This is the course of polling (from Real Clear Politics) for the Clinton-Obama race in 2008 up to about now in the process, along side the Clinton-Sanders race this year. The graphic is rough, I just threw it together, but it kind of speaks for itself.
But in case the meaning is not clear, it means this: The primary season has not started yet. It starts in a few weeks.
I made a new graphic to underscore the meaning of the graphic above. Here, I took the 2008 primary season and the 2016 primary season RCP polling data for the two main candidates and ROUGHLY scaled them together. That moment when everything changes for 2008 is about now, or about the beginning of the actual primaries. Will that be what happens this year?