Election News

Louisiana Postpones April 4 Presidential Primary

March 13, 2020

Louisiana's presidential primary will no longer take place on April 4, as concerns over the coronavirus have led the state to delay it to a later date. It is the first state to change a primary election date due to the pandemic. 

The primary has been rescheduled for June 20. That is after each party's approved window for holding primaries. It is possible this could impact the number of delegates Louisiana has at the conventions this summer, although that seems unlikely given the situation.

The postponement shouldn't have a significant practical impact on the race.  On the GOP side, President Trump is likely to clinch the Republican nomination this Tuesday. That day's primaries in Illinois, Florida and Ohio should give him well over the 172 delegates he needs to reach the required 1,276.  On the Democratic side, Joe Biden is likely to significantly expand his delegate lead on Tuesday and may well be the presumptive nominee by the end of the month.

Louisiana doesn't conduct a primary for congressional offices. Instead, all candidates from all parties appear on the ballot November 3. There is a runoff on December 5 for those elections where no candidate gets a majority of the vote.

 

March 10 Primaries: Overview and Live Results

March 10, 2020

Live Results

 

President - Democratic Primaries President - Republican Primaries

Mississippi holds its regular primary elections as well. We'll have results for any contested congressional races.

Mississippi

Polls Close (Eastern Time)

Your individual polling place may have different hours. Do not rely on this to determine when to vote. Total Democratic pledged delegates by closing time are displayed.

8:00 PM 118 Michigan [ET]1, Missouri (68), Mississippi (36), North Dakota2 (14)
9:00 PM 125 Michigan [CT] (125)
10:00 PM 0 Idaho [MT]1 
11:00 PM 109 Washington (89)3, Idaho [PT] (20)

Most of the state is in this time zone. Some results may display during this hour, but no race call will be made until all the polls are closed.
The GOP caucuses are on a different schedule, ending at 8:00 PM local time.
Primary conducted by mail. This is the latest time to submit a ballot to an official drop box.


Democratic Polling Averages & Delegate Estimates

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders should receive delegates in each contest, although it might be a close call for Sanders in Mississippi. Washington's primary is conducted by mail, with a good portion of the ballots submitted before today. This may partially explain the narrower spread vs. today's other states and the fact that the three remaining candidates only add up to about 80% of the vote.  Sanders scored dominant wins in Idaho and Washington in 2016; these states have switched to primaries in 2020 making that difficult to replicate.  

For polling detail, see the Democratic nomination home page. Select a state on the map. Note that the table below reflects polls conducted after Super Tuesday, to better reflect the smaller field of candidates that remain. To see delegate information for completed contests and create your own forecast, see the interactive delegate calculator.


Recommended Reading

How to Watch Mini-Tuesday Like a Pro - Politico is calling this 'Mini-Tuesday' and provides a nice overview of the six states.

Michigan Overview - Why it may not prove as friendly for Sanders in 2020, despite a similar polling deficit for the Vermont Senator heading into primary day. Analysis from FiveThirtyEight.

Today's Odd Delegate Quirk - There are 51 delegate 'buckets' Tuesday, each to be proportionately allocated based on the associated popular vote. Nearly two-thirds of them are an odd number - a very high proportion.  In what is effectively a two-person delegate race, this means that a very small difference in popular vote can yield an extra delegate instead of an even split.   Analysis from Associated Press.

The Road to 270: Maryland

March 9, 2020

The Road to 270 is a weekly column leading up to the presidential election. Each installment is dedicated to understanding one state’s political landscape and how that might influence which party will win its electoral votes in 2020. We’ll do these roughly in order of expected competitiveness, moving toward the most intensely contested battlegrounds as election day nears. 

The Road to 270 will be published every Monday. The column is written by Seth Moskowitz, a 270toWin elections and politics contributor. Contact Seth at s.k.moskowitz@gmail.com or on Twitter @skmoskowitz.

Maryland

Maryland is one of the most liberal states in the country. In 2011, the state legislature passed a bill to provide in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants; a year later Marylanders voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a popular referendum. In 2012 and 2016, it gave Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over 60% of the popular vote. It might be surprising, then, that such a liberal bastion elected a Republican, Larry Hogan, as governor in 2014 and again in 2018. Hogan, however, is a moderate on social issues while more conservative on fiscal ones. This ideological mix suits the state’s diverse, college educated, and wealthy population. To understand how Maryland became the nation’s richest state as well as one of its most diverse, we’ll go back to its pre-statehood history.

Catholic Refuge to Statehood

Europeans first settled Maryland in 1634 as a refuge for Roman Catholics, a group long discriminated against in England. The colony’s plantation-based economy originally relied on indentured and slave labor. Before the Revolutionary War, these slaves worked mostly in tobacco fields. As the industrial revolution made its way across the Atlantic, the work shifted to iron forges and wheat fields. Factory towns sprung up to process the goods and Baltimore grew as the state’s export hub.

The original charter mistakenly placed portions of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, within Maryland’s borders. The two states reached a settlement in 1760, with Maryland’s northern border comprising much of what would become known as the Mason-Dixon line. As one of the original 13 U.S. colonies, Maryland helped defeat the British in the Revolutionary War and joined the Union in 1788. In a final adjustment to its borders, the state ceded approximately 68 square miles of land in 1790 to help establish the capital city of Washington D.C.

Early Elections in Maryland

While most states allowed their state legislature to choose electors, Maryland split itself into districts and chose them by a popular vote within them. This is in some ways similar to the method used by Maine and Nebraska today.

In the nation’s early years, presidential elections split geographically between Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Party — popular in the northeast — and Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party — popular in the South. Maryland, with both northeastern, urban, and industrial characteristics as well as southern and agrarian ones, regularly split its Electoral College votes between the parties. In 1833, the state changed its method of choosing electors to a statewide ballot, making the vote winner-take-all. Even with this new method, Maryland remained divided and unpredictable.

As the nation’s Democratic South and Republican North began to clash, Maryland found itself in the middle. In 1856, when slavery became the dominant question in presidential elections, Maryland was the only state not to pick a clear side. Instead, Maryland cast its votes for Millard Fillmore, who had received the nomination from the Whig Party, the American Party, and the anti-immigrant American-Know-Nothing-Whig Party.

In 1860, Maryland voted for the pro-slavery Southern Democrat John Breckenridge. John Bell, the Constitutional Union Party’s candidate who ran on holding the Union together and won the other border states of Virginia and Kentucky, just barely lost to Breckenridge in Maryland.

Like other border states, Maryland allowed slavery but stayed in the Union during the Civil War. Pressure from President Lincoln, particularly after the Union victory at Fort Sumter, locked Maryland in as a pro-Union state even as secession was popular among many Marylanders reliant on the institution of slavery.

Maryland and Baltimore’s Industrial Revolution

In the years following the Civil War, Maryland would experience dramatic social change. The state’s 1864 constitution, as well as the 13th Amendment the following year, outlawed slavery. Efforts to expand the franchise brought these newly freed slaves into the electorate. The industrial revolution was also changing the character of Maryland and its largest city. Manufacturing began to take over as the state’s dominant economic force and the Baltimore Port allowed easy access to European markets. Like other northeastern cities, Baltimore drew in and prospered off of hard working and entrepreneurial immigrants. This growing population and booming economy led to the development of the state’s transportation and urban infrastructure including railroads and ports.  

Post-Civil War Elections

In the elections following the Civil War, Maryland reliably voted for the Democratic nominee. Even with a constantly changing electorate, Democrats carried the state in every election from 1868 through 1892. The Democratic dominance lasted until 1896 when Democrats nominated the populist William Jennings Bryan. That year, as well as in 1900, 1904, and 1908, the plurality of Marylanders voted Republican. Even in their losses, Democrats were competitive in Maryland. The elections of 1904 and 1908 were decided by just 0.02% and 0.25%, results that ended with a split electoral delegation.

For the next 45 years — from 1912 through 1956 — Maryland’s presidential elections would flip between the parties. Democrat Woodrow Wilson would carry Maryland and the country with his isolationist stance towards entering World War I. Republicans won in the 1920s while they steered a booming economy. Democrat Franklin Roosevelt won back the state in each of his four elections from 1932-1944 on the strength of his popularity and New Deal coalition. From 1948 through 1956 Republicans would again take back Maryland — the last time they would do so outside of nationwide electoral landslides.

Economic Transformation

The two World Wars turned Maryland and Baltimore into production centers. During the first war, several military bases and sites were built in the state. This military import continued in the next war as airfields were established in Maryland and as the state became a production center for warships and aircraft.

After World War II, Maryland’s traditional economy of industrial jobs in manufacturing, coal, and railroads shifted. Returning soldiers looked to raise families, accelerating suburban growth. Baltimore’s dense downtown spread into more sprawling urban region. In the city core, demolition was more common than new growth. New infrastructure — the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, interstates and freeways — was built to accommodate suburbanization.  

Meanwhile, the nation’s agricultural capacity grew and eliminated Maryland’s primacy in the sector. As suburbanization encroached upon rural and agricultural territory, land and labor became more expensive. Small family farms and homesteads condensed into large-scale ones. Manufacturing continued its decline as well, as General Motors and Bethlehem Steel downscaled their Baltimore operations.

As the state’s manufacturing and small-scale farming industries were on the decline, others were on their way up. In the state’s southern counties rimming Washington, D.C., jobs in and around the federal government employed commuting Marylanders. In Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University and its hospital (as well as the nearby NIH and FDA) became the anchor to a growing biotech, health care, and other high information service industries. Urban renewal projects also helped transform Baltimore into a trendy city more appealing to college-educated young people. This process, while successful in drawing in the desired young transplants and tourists, also pushed out low-income longtime Baltimore residents, many of them minorities.

Demographic and Electorate Changes  

During this economic transformation, Maryland turned from a state on the political margins to one heavily favoring Democrats. The state voted Democratic beginning with John F. Kennedy in 1960, only flipping back to Republicans in the three landslide years of 1972, 1984, and 1988. In 1992, Bill Clinton carried the state by 14%. Every Democratic nominee to follow would carry the state by double digits.

Maryland saw enormous economic shifts in the mid 1900s; more recent changes have been largely demographic. Black residents of Washington, D.C. moved out to the Maryland collar counties of Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. The influx diversified the Washington D.C. and Baltimore suburbs and the new residents progressed northwards. While in 1970 Maryland’s population was 81.5% white and 17.8% black, today those numbers are 58.8% and 30.9%. Maryland also saw an influx in foreign immigration. While in 1970 people born outside of the U.S. made up just 3.2% of the state's population, by 2012 it was 14.3%. And many of these new transplants — both foreign and domestic — were highly educated. In 1990, 26.5% of Marylanders had a Bachelor’s Degree, a number that is now pushing 40%.

At the same time that minorities and college-educated whites began to sort decisively into the Democratic Party, they also began to make up a larger share of Maryland’s population. This helped flip the state to Democrats in 1992 and make it the Democratic stronghold it is today.

Recent Elections

From 1992 through 2004, the Democratic nominee consistently carried Maryland by about 15%. In 2008, Barack Obama would expand that margin to over 25%. Obama won by a similar number in 2012, even as his national margin shrunk by 3%. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the state by a 26% margin, the largest since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide.

Maryland’s transformation to one of the safest Democratic states has involved a massive leftward shift in the counties surrounding Baltimore and Washington D.C. and a rightward shift in the state’s rural regions.  In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won Washington D.C.’s collar counties, Montgomery and Prince George’s, by 29% and 61% margins. In 2016, Clinton won those by 56% and 80%. Gore won Baltimore County and its neighbor Howard County by 9% and 8%. In 2016 Clinton won them by 18% and 34%. In many of the state’s more rural regions outside of the Baltimore - Washington-D.C. Metropolitan Area, Republicans gained ground. This shift, however, has not been nearly strong enough to counteract the Democrats’ dominance in the state’s dense urban corridor.

Current Political Landscape

Maryland underwent one of the most successful economic shifts in the entire nation. The state, once dominated by agriculture and manufacturing, has diversified to incorporate information and service jobs in government, education, biotech, and health care. These industries have built a strong and diverse middle class and pushed Marylanders to the top of the economic ladder. The state has the highest median household income in the nation, with the average household earning over $81,000 per year.

The economic prosperity hasn’t sheltered Maryland from political strife. The Wire, a political drama that ran from 2002-2008, documented Baltimore’s corrupted institutions — the police department, port unions, city government, public schools, and media. The state and Baltimore still have pockets of poverty that are only more vivid when contrasted with the state’s overall wealth and success. In 2015 when Freddy Gray, a young black man in Baltimore, sustained injuries that would prove fatal while being transported in a police van, Baltimore’s struggles took the national spotlight.

All this helped fell former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley, in his bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination. The state has other powerful elected officials including the Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senator Chris Van Hollen, who served seven terms in the U.S. House before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

This November, neither of Maryland’s Senate seats will be on the ballot, none of the state’s U.S. House elections are expected to be competitive, and the Democratic nominee will likely carry the state by around 30%. Democrats in the state don’t have their say in the nominating process until the April 28 primary. With the field recently winnowed to two major candidates, the nominee may be a foregone conclusion by that date. Regardless of who wins the nomination and the role Maryland plays in the selection, the end result is the same. Maryland will be blue in November.

Next Week: Nebraska

Reports in this series:

Montana Gov. Bullock Launches Senate Campaign; State Now in Play for 2020

March 9, 2020

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced Monday that he will run for Senate this year.

Bullock is unable - due to term limits - from seeking a third term as the state's governor in 2020.  He ran for president over the second half of 2019 before dropping out in December. He had previously resisted efforts from within the party to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines, but ultimately acquiesced.  Today is the candidate filing deadline in the state.

Bullock's candidacy moves the Senate seat onto the competitive map, with a consensus Leans Republican rating.  While still underdogs in this deep red state, it does give Democrats an additional path to pick up the 3 or 4 seats needed to take control in 2021. The number may more realistically be 4 or 5 seats, as the GOP is favored to recapture the Alabama seat in a presidential election year with a popular Republican incumbent on the ballot.

Based on consensus, the four most competitive races are in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina. All these seats are GOP-held.

 


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin

Polling Update for March 10 Democratic Nominating Contests

March 9, 2020

352 pledged delegates, across six states, are available in Tuesday's Democratic nominating contests. Here are the latest polling averages in each of those states, as Monday morning, March 9. 

Note that given the much smaller field, we have only averaged polls released after Super Tuesday, March 3.  We've also plugged these averages into our Delegate Calculator (create your forecast here) to get a sense of how the delegate split might look.  

Super Tuesday: Latest Polling, Live Results, and Overview

March 3, 2020

Live Results

President - Democratic Primaries President - Republican Primaries

 

The following states hold their regular primary elections as well. We'll have results for any contested Senate, House or gubernatorial races. 

Alabama California North Carolina Texas

Arkansas also has non-presidential primaries; there are no contested races we are tracking.


Polls Close (Eastern Time)

Your individual polling place may have different hours. Do not rely on this to determine when to vote. Total Democratic pledged delegates by closing time are displayed.

7:00 PM 115 Vermont (16), Virginia (99)
7:30 PM 110 North Carolina (110)
8:00 PM 268 Alabama (52), Maine (24), Massachusetts (91), Oklahoma (37), Tennessee (64), Texas* 
8:30 PM 31 Arkansas (31)
9:00 PM 370 Colorado (67), Minnesota (75); Texas* (228)
10:00 PM 29 Utah (29)
11:00 PM 415 California (415)
Other 19 American Samoa (6) Democrats Abroad (13)

*Polls close 7:00 PM local time. That's 8:00 PM ET in all but the far western part of the state.


Democratic Polling Averages & Delegate Estimates

There are two new surveys for each of the 14 states that vote today. This gives us more information, particularly in places where polling was minimal or non-existent. The smaller field is likely to increase the number of candidates hitting the 15% threshold in several states, which will flatten the distribution of delegates. 

For polling detail, click or tap the image below and select a state on the linked page. 

Click or tap the image below for the interactive delegate calculator.


Recommended Reading

How to Watch Super Tuesday Like a Pro - This Politico article succinctly analyzes the Democratic presidential primary in each state.

California Overview - Sanders is likely to win the overall vote here, but this demographically diverse state will likely yield more split results in the 53 districts that combine for 271 delegates. Analysis from FiveThirtyEight.

Slow Results from the West - Several western states have largely transitioned to vote-by-mail. While it may mean more voter participation, it can slow the results.  Article from NPR.

Congressional Races to Watch - Jeff Sessions wants his old job back, as do a few other familiar names. Two incumbents in Texas are facing competitive primaries.  Analysis from Roll Call.

Amy Klobuchar to End Campaign, Endorse Biden

March 2, 2020

Sen. Amy Klobuchar will suspend her campaign and endorse former vice-president Joe Biden later Monday. The move comes one day prior to Super Tuesday, where her home state of Minnesota will join 13 others in awarding over 1/3 of the total 3,979 delegates available this year.

Klobuchar finished third in New Hampshire but had been unable to replicate that performance in the other early states. In Super Tuesday states, she was only tracking to earn delegates in Minnesota, where she held a small lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders in limited polling. 

She joins businessman Tom Steyer and former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in exiting the race after Biden's large victory in South Carolina. A once historically-large Democratic field has now been winnowed to Biden, former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The Road to 270: Tennessee

March 2, 2020

The Road to 270 is a weekly column leading up to the presidential election. Each installment is dedicated to understanding one state’s political landscape and how that might influence which party will win its electoral votes in 2020. We’ll do these roughly in order of expected competitiveness, moving toward the most intensely contested battlegrounds as election day nears. 

The Road to 270 will be published every Monday. The column is written by Seth Moskowitz, a 270toWin elections and politics contributor. Contact Seth at s.k.moskowitz@gmail.com or on Twitter @skmoskowitz.

Tennessee

Tennessee has a history of distinguishing itself from its southern neighbors. It resisted secession and the Civil War, was first to break the "Solid South" electoral block, and was home to the first southern city to desegregate.  This independent streak goes back to Tennessee's earliest days before it was a state. 

Statehood and Early Presidential Politics

The territory that would become Tennessee was originally part of North Carolina. In 1789, after years of dissatisfaction with North Carolina governance and previous secession attemptsthe region broke off to form the “Territory South of the Ohio River”. Tennessee was admitted to the Union seven years later, in 1796.

Like most of the agrarian south, Tennessee reliably cast electoral votes for Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. It did so in each of its first eight elections from 1796 to 1824. The last of these, 1824, featured the Tennessean general Andrew Jackson. Jackson won his home state with 97% of the popular vote and won the plurality of the national popular vote with 41%. He lost that election due to a “Corrupt Bargain” between John Quincy Adams and Speaker of the House Henry Clay.

Four years later, the Tennessean populist ran again under his new Democratic Party — the same one we have today — and dominated his home state, the national popular vote, and the Electoral College. During his tenure, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act that forcibly displaced Native Americans out of the Southeastern United States, including Tennessee. The Trail of Tears, as it would come to be known, did little to hurt Jackson’s electoral fortunes. He won the popular vote and his home state in a landslide.

Unlike its southern neighbors, however, Tennessee broke from the Democratic Party for the next five elections. From 1836 to 1852 Tennessee would vote for the Whig Party, which built an effective infrastructure and tailored message in the state. As historian Jonathan Atkins writes,

"The Tennessee Whig Party built its platform on warnings that powerful, demagogic forces conspired to rob republican citizens of the liberty won during the American Revolution. Whigs also argued that the power of government should be used to promote the public good. This tactic proved especially successful during the economic depression of the late 1830s and early 1840s, when Whig supporters recognized that the party's success could enhance their material well-being."

Slavery and Civil War

By 1856, however, the question of slavery and the survival of the Union overshadowed all other political concerns. In 1856, Tennessee voted for Democrat James Buchanan, and in 1860 for Constitutional Unionist, John Bell. The Constitutional Union Party was formed to hold the Union together and performed best among the states forming the border between North and South. The only three states to vote for it — Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky — were largely pro-slavery, but wanted to hold the Union together. They had reason to fear that a civil war would be fought within their borders.

Displaying its moderate tendencies, Tennessee initially voted against secession. Later, following the attack on Fort Sumter, the state changed tack and joined the Confederacy. The state’s population, however, was not uniform in its support for secession. The eastern third of the state, made up mostly of homesteads and family farms, favored staying in the Union. The rest of the state, covered with large cotton and tobacco plantations, relied on slavery and supported secession.

Tennessee and the Solid South

After the war, Tennessee’s voting patterns reflected these feelings on secession and slavery: whites in the east voted Republican and those in the center and west supported Democrats. In the first post-war election of 1868, Tennessee voted Republican. Many newly freed slaves were able to vote for the first time while some whites were disenfranchised during Reconstruction. As whites regained the franchise and African Americans faced exclusion and voter suppression, Tennessee shifted into the reliably Democratic column. From 1872 through 1916, the state would vote exclusively Democratic. Unlike other southern states, and in particular those in the Deep South, Tennessee regularly gave Republicans over 40% of the popular vote.  

This moderation would help make Tennessee the first state to break the “Solid South”, the group of southern states that had voted uniformly Democratic since 1880. In 1920, due to the unpopularity of Woodrow Wilson’s foreign entanglements in the isolationist Appalachian regions of Tennessee, Republican Warren Harding would overcome his party’s drought in the state. Again in 1928, largely due to an anti-Catholic sentiment haunting Democratic candidate Al Smith, Republican Herbert Hoover would again break the Solid South and carry Tennessee by 8%.

With the popularity of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, Tennessee again shifted back to Democrats. The Tennessee Valley Authority, a state-owned enterprise created as a part of the New Deal helped employ, power, and pull a suffering region out of the depths of the Depression. Though not without its share of controversy and resentment, the TVA and Roosevelt’s legacy helped solidify Tennessee as a Democratic state.

Shifting Rightward

After Roosevelt’s landslide in 1936, however, Tennessee began shifting rightward every election cycle. The trend finally overtook Democrats in 1952, when the moderate Republican Dwight Eisenhower beat out Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson by 0.28%. Eisenhower’s victory marks a breaking point in Tennessee presidential politics; after his 1952 victory, no non-southern Democrat would win the state. Republicans would go on to win every election in Tennessee outside of 1964, 1976, 1992, and 1996, when Texan Lyndon Johnson, Georgian Jimmy Carter, and Arkansan Bill Clinton would be the Democratic standard-bearers.

A century after the Civil War, Tennessee’s ancestral voting patterns prevailed. The eastern third of the state remained staunchly Republican while the rest of the state would swing between elections. The once secessionist central and western regions would still sometimes vote for liberal Democrats including George McGovern and Michael Dukakis. Once again, Tennessee’s course is different than those of than its southern neighbors. Most southern states stuck to their Democratic roots until 1964 when the Civil Rights Act fractured the Democratic Party. 

As the parties further polarized along social issues including civil rights, abortion rights, gun control, and especially the environment, Tennesseans cut these ancestral ties. In 2000, Al Gore, a former Tennessee Senator and Representative, ran as an environmentalist. The platform played poorly in his home state, which Gore lost by 4%. That year, Gore won 21 fewer counties than Clinton had in 1996. Each subsequent election would see Republicans expand their margin of victory and flip more counties.

Economic Development in the Last Century

Tennessee’s economy, though once reliant on farming and agriculture, has shifted away from its agrarian roots. During the mid-20th Century, the Tennessee Valley Authority and World War Two had drawn manufacturing investment and a labor force into Tennessee. The cheap labor drew in more manufacturing jobs including in the textile and chemical industries. The state continued to attract new industries through the 1970s with its skilled labor force, low taxes, loose regulations, and tight restrictions on labor unions.  

In 1983, Nissan opened a manufacturing plant in Tennessee, kicking off a new era in the state’s economy. Other automobile companies, most importantly General Motors, also opened manufacturing centers that helped fuel the state’s economy and built up a skilled workforce that spread to other industries. A vestige of the TVA, Tennessee still produces a significant amount of energy though oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, and nuclear facilities.

The state's economy also relies on transportation and logistics, an industry boosted by the state’s position between the South and the Midwest and Northeast. The tourism industry is healthy, with music lovers drawn to Nashville’s country scene and Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion in Memphis. Chattanooga in the southeast has become an unlikely tech hub and the state is still covered in farmland, much of which is dedicated to soybeans, hay, and corn.

Recent Elections and Political Landscape

Downballot state elections lagged behind Tennessee’s national trends. As recently as 2004, Democrats held a government trifecta — holding the Governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. The State Senate was the first to flip in 2005, next was the State House in 2010 and last was the Governorship in 2011. In just 7 years, Democrats lost and Republicans picked up a state trifecta in Tennessee.  

Meanwhile, Republicans continued to expand presidential margins in Tennessee. George W. Bush won by 14% in 2004, John McCain by 15% in 2008, and Mitt Romney by 20% in 2012. Republicans gained ground in the rural and suburban communities in the central and western portions of the state. Democrats saw improvements in the most dense and diverse Shelby and Davidson Counties that house Memphis and Nashville.  

In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton with a 26% margin, the largest since Richard Nixon’s 49-state landslide in 1972. Trump improved on Romney’s margins in 91 of the state’s 95 counties. Clinton would only carry three counties — Shelby (Memphis), Davidson (Nashville), and Haywood, which along with Shelby, is one of Tennessee’s two majority-black counties.  

This November, Tennessee will hold elections for president, U.S. Senate and nine U.S. House seats. None of these elections is expected to be competitive. 

There is, however, a competitive election happening in the state this week. Tomorrow, on Super Tuesday, Tennessee Democrats will have their say in the party’s primary. There has been a dearth of polling in the state, but if regional and demographic trends are indicative, Joe Biden’s recent success in South Carolina could portend a plurality victory for him here. The Democratic electorate is whiter here than in South Carolina, however, a distinction that is likely to help Bernie Sanders. 

While Tennessee’s primary election results are uncertain, those of the general election are not. It is safe to assume a Trump victory in Tennessee this November, likely with a margin approaching 30%.  

Next Week: Maryland

Reports in this series:

Pete Buttigieg Suspending Campaign

March 1, 2020

Former South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg will suspend his campaign Sunday night.  Buttigieg earned delegates in the first three Democratic contests, but saw limited support from Latinos in Nevada, finishing third overall. In South Carolina, he finished fourth, receiving only 3% support from blacks, who make up a majority of the electorate there. 

The move comes two days before Super Tuesday and will free up his supporters to vote for other moderate candidates. During last week's debate, Buttigieg had said that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was too radical to beat President Trump.

Looking at Super Tuesday, Buttigieg was seeing upper single digit to low double-digit support in most of the 14 states that will vote that day, but was not tracking to hit the 15% threshold in most of them.

Buttigieg is expected to speak at 8:30 PM ET in South Bend.

 

Super Tuesday Polling Update

March 1, 2020

This Tuesday, Democrats in 14 states will go to the polls.  Collectively, they will award over one-third of all 3,979 pledged delegates available this year.  Here are the latest polling averages in each of those states, as of late Sunday morning, March 1.  

For polling detail, click or tap the image below and select a state on the linked page.

These 14 states have 1,338 pledged delegates. In addition, 6 delegates will be awarded from the American Samoa caucus that day. The Democrats Abroad primary also begins Tuesday, and goes for a week. 13 delegates will be available there. This brings the total for Super Tuesday to 1,357 pledged delegates.

Related:   Interactive Delegate Calculator