Yesterday, the Democrats held three contests, in Louisiana, Nebraska and Kansas. I had predicted a Sanders win in Nebraska and Kansas, and a Clinton win in Louisiana, using my ever-evolving ethnicity-based projection model. Those predictions came to fruition. Like this:
Predicted on top, Actual on bottom.
Clinton did a bit better than projected in Louisiana, and Sanders did a bit better in Nebraska, but much better in Kansas than predicted.
I had projected the final delegate count to be 60:49 (Clinton:Sanders) for that day, and it turned out to be 55:49 (Clinton:Sanders). The difference is primarily in the number of actual delegates awarded to the candidate between what my model assumed and what the states (Louisiana) actually did. Overall, I’d say that the model, which currently predicts Clinton reaching lock-in on delegate count in mid or late April, is accurate, but with enough of a difference to allow for Sanders to close the gap somewhat. At this point, though, Sanders will have to start performing better in order to catch up.
Lately we’ve seen a discussion that runs something like this. Clinton is winning in states where a Democrat is unlikely to lose, and Sanders is doing well in states where a Democrat is likely to lose. Therefor, Clinton would lose the general election, and Sanders would win it.
This proposition fails to take into account that for the most part the two candidates are interchangeable at the level of the general election. All those people who preferred one candidate in the primary will prefer the other candidate in the general, should that other candidate win the nomination. The only way for Sanders to beat Clinton is to start winning more delegates than the model projects, and soon.
Sanders’ better than predicted performance yesterday is not enough for him to overtake Clinton, but perhaps it is a sign that he is increasing his performance. Every primary or caucus is a test of the running hypothesis of status quo, and at the moment, status quo gives Clinton the nomination. Sanders will have to start falsifying that hypothesis very soon. There is no reason to say that will happen, or not happen, at this time.
By the way, a similar model (using the status quo as the determining factor in making predictions, but with no ethnic adjustment) for the Republican party predicts that Trump will lock in the nomination late enough in the process that he could actually fail to do so if his performance falters. The possibility of a brokered Republican convention is very real.
That is not the case, probably, for the Democratic convention, as the uncommitted delegates (called Super Delegates) will likely vote for the winner at the end of the process, to lock in that candidate.
UPDATE: Today, Sanders won in Maine. I had predicted a Sanders win, though Bernie got more delegates than my model had suggested.
The Delegate total for this weekend is now 72:62 Clinton Sanders predicted, 62:64 Clinton Sanders actualized.
I will assume that the extra strong showing by Sanders in Maine is partly a result of the Favorite Son effect, and not adjust the model. Mississippi and Michigan, in just a couple of days, together with this weekend’s contests, should provide excellent calibration in preparation for primaries if Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.