Can Bernie Sanders Beat Hillary Clinton?

What are the chances that Bernie can mount a come from behind victory?

That is a tough question.  My previous post, Can Ted Overtake Trump showed that Trump was much better situated then the current numbers showed and that Ted was not doing as well as his “stats” suggested, and the March 8 elections confirmed that.  If Trump is sitting pretty with a roughly 100 delegate lead, what does that say about Hillary’s 650 delegate lead over Sanders?  She has double the delegates than Senator Sanders and is over half way to the 2838 need to win the nomination.  She also has a comfortable 1.5M lead in the popular vote tally.


Looking at these charts it is easy to conclude that Hillary has this thing in the bag, but there are some interesting points to bring up that show the race is much closer than these two charts show.

I am not predicting an upset in the end by Bernie Sanders, but there are some very interesting things going on within the Democrat party involving Hillary and you know, THE FBI…maybe, since Bernie is not as far behind as people think (as I will show), if enough current Hillary supporters loose faith in her (and super-delegates change their minds) he can pull it of.

The first obvious thing that sticks out in the delegate count above is how many “supers” Hillary has.  This to a lesser extent was the case in 2008, in the beginning of the process Hillary had the majority of super-delegates on her side, but most ended up jumping ship and pledged to Obama.  That, to some degree or another, could happen again, if things look “iffy” for Clinton.

Without super-delegates, Hillary still has a decent lead, but things don’t look so bad for Bernie:


(Note: the above chart shows the current delegate count per candidate NOT including super-delegates)

Hillary is cleaning up big in the South

Of the 19 states that have voted on the Democrat side so far, 10 of them have been in the South, those states are Clinton’s “firewall” and (except Oklahoma) went heavily for Hillary:


In addition to having nine victories to Sanders’ one, Clinton received the majority of her delegates (not counting supers) and 3.5M of her almost 5M total votes in the South:


These states gave Hillary a commanding lead, but there are only a few Southern states left.  And this is where I would guess Hillary is getting worried.  After “Super Tuesday” (March 1st) when many of the SEC states voted and Bernie remained defiant, the Clinton campaign must have thought “what a nuisance, why doesn’t he leave”.  BUT there have been two election days since Super Tuesday, March 5th (Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska) and March 8th (Michigan and Mississippi), the only states Hillary won were in the South, Louisiana and Mississippi.  

Polls are getting it wrong

Her firewall held in that regard, and kept her comfortably in the lead in both delegates and votes, but something strange is happening.  Bernie is consistently finishing better than polling is predicting.  This would not be that big of a deal if Sanders is doing this in caucuses only (kind of like Ted Cruz is doing on the Republican side), but this is happening in primaries as well, and most recently Michigan.


(Note: the table above from Real Clear Politics shows recent polling in Michigan and the actual results)

This is a big deal, polls in Michigan never had Bernie even close, and shown in the table above Clinton’s average lead in the state was over 20%.  That is quite something!  If Sanders continues to perform ten to twenty percent better than polls show (outside of the South) this race could go on much longer.

Democrat turnout is down against 2008

Another note in Bernie’s favor, is the states that Hillary won are down in turnout against 2008, while states Bernie wins are close to flat or up over 2008:


The states highlighted yellow are Hillary wins.  When compared to 2008 primary turnout, those states are down much more than the Bernie wins.  The two exceptions are Massachusetts and Nevada, but those were very close contests (Mass: 603K votes to 586K, Nevada: 6300 to 5700) and Bernie almost squeaked out ahead.

Hillary is doing poorly outside of the South

Putting all this together, my conclusion is that Hillary is not playing well with Democrat voters outside of her firewall, the South.  On the flip side, Bernie supporters in many cases are coming out of the woodwork and overwhelming the polling formulas.  On March 15 five states are voting, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio.  Hillary is expected to win all of these, but based on the “polling to actual” discrepancies, I hope Bernie can pull off a win in Ohio, come very close in Illinois, and hopefully get above 40% in the other three.  If that happens, Clinton will maintain her lead, but those are the last of her Southern states. Going forward, the states voting will not be as easy for Hillary.  To get a glimpse of how things could play out once the Southern states are done, consider this chart showing current results outside of the South:


(Note: the above charts show combined results for Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Vermont)

Feeling the Bern Hillary?




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