Tuesday brings us the West Virginia primary for both parties, while Republicans in Nebraska will also go to the polls. The polling places are open until 7:30 ET in West Virginia. In Nebraska, polls close at 9:00 ET, meaning 8:00 PM locally for those in the Central Time Zone and 7:00 PM for those in the Mountain Time Zone.
Hillary Clinton starts the day 155 delegates from the 2,383 she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination, while Donald Trump, now the presumptive Republican nominee, needs 169 to officially reach the magic number of 1,237 delegates. Neither can reach the required total today with the pledged delegates available.
Democratic Primary: There are 29 pledged delegates available in the Democratic West Virginia primary. Sanders leads the limited polling by 6 points. As with all Democratic contests, the delegates will be awarded proportionately based partially on the statewide result, partially on the result within each congressional district. Regardless of the outcome today, Clinton is likely to clinch the nomination on June 7th. Six states, including California with 475 pledged delegates, vote that day.
Republican Primaries: 70 delegates are available today. Nebraska has 36 delegates, winner take all. There has been no polling here, but, with no competition, little reason to think anyone other than Trump will win. Trump has a commanding lead in West Virginia. He should win most or all of the state's 34 delegates, depsite the convoluted way they are awarded. June 7th is also the most likely date for Trump to officially seal the nomination.
A new Quinnipiac poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania finds a competitive general election battle in those states between Donald Trump and either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
This poll shows a closer race in Florida and Pennsylvania than other recent 2016 election polls; Ohio remains close. This is the first set of polls in these traditional swing states since Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee. Future polls will tell us whether this result indicates a growing acceptance of Trump as Republican standard-bearer.
Note: The image above has been corrected from an earlier version. The initial version said Clinton - Sanders when it should have been Sanders - Trump.
For those that think a viable alternative to Clinton vs. Trump might emerge in the weeks ahead, here's a new version of the 270toWin interactive map that lets you game out those possibilities. Click or tap the map to get started!
Background: Democrats and Republicans have held a monopoly on the electoral map since 1968, when George Wallace won the popular vote in five southern states and amassed 46 electoral votes. While that probably won't change in 2016, the two major parties are on the cusp of nominating historically unpopular candidates as their standard-bearers. This has led to more talk than usual about alternatives.
With Donald Trump becoming the presumptive Republican nominee this past week, much of the current talk is around finding a conservative alternative. Bill Kristol, Editor of The Weekly Standard, has been pushing the Independent Republican idea. He recently met with 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. (Needless to say, this strategy is not popular with Mr. Trump's supporters).
Given ballot access issues associated with an independent bid, another option mentioned is achieving this via a 3rd party. The Libertarian party is already on the ballot in most states, and is working toward being an option in all 50 states. The party holds its nominating convention Memorial Day weekend in Orlando. In 2012, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson received over 1.2 million votes (about 1% of the national total) as their nominee. Johnson is running for the party's nomination again in 2016. A big hurdle for the Libertarian nominee will be achieving the 15% national polling support needed to qualify for this fall's presidential debates.
However a Trump alternative emerges, the 'dream scenario' for those seeking that is one where none of the three candidates reaches the required 270 electoral votes. In that case, the election will be thrown into the House of Representatives, with each state delegation getting one vote. Since Republicans control most of these votes, the thinking is the majority will side with the Trump alternative.
That outcome is highly unlikely, as Trump and the 3rd party/independent would mostly be competing for the same subset of voters. This might actually increase the electoral vote count for Hillary Clinton. For it to have a remote shot at working, Clinton would need to be a weak nominee by Election Day and the Trump alternative would need to be someone that could focus on and win a couple blue states without significantly diluting the non-Clinton vote elsewhere.
The Upshot team at The New York Times has taken a look at the electoral map for a general election match-up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They see a challenging landscape for the presumptive Republican nominee if he cannot improve his standing in the polls between now and November.
Use the link above to read the article. For those that want to play around with the scenarios in it, we've created interactive versions of the maps. Click or tap any one of them to get started.
Scenario 1: Based on current polling, Clinton wins 347-191. This is the actual 2012 electoral map with North Carolina flipping to the Democrats.
Ohio governor John Kasich will suspend his campaign today, the Wall Street Journal reports. Kasich was fourth in delegates, having only won his home state of Ohio, yet his campaign was the last one to yield to Donald Trump.
Kasich's suspension comes on the heels of a similar announcement by Texas Senator Ted Cruz last night. The Republican field, once 17-deep, is now down to just Trump.
Trump will meet Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in November.
Here's the latest (in some cases only) poll for Clinton vs. Trump in each state. This is limited to polls conducted in 2016. Alongside the result is the party winner of the last four presidential elections.
Here are these polls presented in a Clinton vs. Trump electoral map (based on polling).
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, reeling after a significant defeat in Indiana, has ended his campaign. Donald Trump is almost definitely going to be the 2016 Republican nominee.
It's admittedly of limited predictive value, but here's the electoral map based on Clinton vs. Trump polls thus far:
A new Public Policy Polling survey of West Virginia shows Donald Trump with a commanding lead in advance of next Tuesday's Republican primary there. For the Democrats, Bernie Sanders has a single digit lead over Hillary Clinton. This is the first poll of the state since February.
The West Virginia Republican primary awards 34 delegates in what Politico has called "a mind-boggingly compex delegate election process". That said, given Trump's 61% showing in this poll (22% for Cruz, 14% for Kasich) and the increasing likelihood that he's on a path to the nomination, it would be reasonable to expect he'll do well in the delegate count despite the system.
Sanders leads Clinton by 8 points in the Democratic West Virginia primary, 45 to 37. The state awards 29 pledged delegates which, as in other Democratic contests, will be allocated proportionately partially based on the statewide result, partially based on each congressional district.
Looking ahead to November, West Virginia's 5 electoral votes seem safe for the GOP. In the most likely match-up, Trump leads Clinton by 57% to 30%. The only scenario where the poll shows the election would be close is Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders. This is not a surprise, when looking at the state's history. Starting with the Great Depression-era election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, West Virginia was a pretty reliable 'blue state' through 1996, when it voted with Bill Clinton for a 2nd time. Since then, however, the state has voted Republican, with increasing margins in each election. Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama by abput 27 points in 2012.
Indiana holds the only primary this week. The polls are open 6AM to 6PM local time. Part of the state is in Central Time, meaning the last polls would close at 7PM Eastern Time. That is likely when the networks will begin reporting results. Depending on the outcome, the narrative may begin to shift to a prospective Trump vs. Clinton match-up this fall.
Republican: Trump is at about 1,000 delegates after his strong showing on the East Coast the past two weeks. Indiana has 57 delegates, awarded on a split winner take all basis. 30 of these will go to the statewide popular vote winner, with the remaining 27 awarded, in groups of 3, to the winner of each of the state's 9 congressional districts.
Reviewing the polls, Trump has a 3 point lead, on average. However, Trump likely has the momentum heading into Tuesday. The two most recent polls have him up by 9 to 15 points. The one poll that shows Cruz well ahead was a survey conducted over a two week period. A Trump victory statewide seems likely; the question then becomes how many congressional districts he will win. Assuming it is at least 5, that will put him over 1,050 delegates, well inside 200 of the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination.
Looking ahead, there's been no polling for next week's Nebraska primary, which awards 36 delegates on a winner take all basis. The conventional wisdom has been that Cruz will win there. However, the prediction markets have made a pronounced move in Trump's direction over the past week; with his probability of winning doubling, to near 60%.
If Trump were to take Indiana and then win in Nebraska, his path to 1,237 would be that much more clear. Map it out with our interactive delegate calculator.
Democrat: Clinton enters the week about 200 delegates short of the required 2,383. This includes superdelegates. Bernie Sanders strategy revolves around leading in pledged delegates by the time the primary calendar wraps up and then convincing the superdelegates to switch their positon at the Democratic Convention. The math is not in his favor. It is also worth noting that, in the superdelegate era, Al Gore was the only Democrat to arrive at the convention having clinched the nomination on the strength of pledged delegates alone.
Looking specifically at Indiana, most polls give Clinton a single digit lead; it averages about 6 points. Tuesday's primary will award 83 pledged delegates, allocated proportionately based on statewide and individual district results. This proportional approach, common to all Democratic contests, makes a late-in-the-campaign comeback by Sanders all that much more challenging.
Neither Trump nor Clinton is likely to officially clinch the nomination until the California primary on June 7. However, it seems increasingly likely they will meet in November.
This week's 5 East Coast primaries, dominated by Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump, have moved those candidates much closer to a general election meeting on November 8th.
On the Republican side, after sweeping all five states on Tuesday, Trump is now just short of 1,000 delegates. While he outperformed across the board, his biggest boost is coming from Pennsylvania, where he seems to getting the support of the majority of the state's 54 elected, unbound delegates. According to the AP, Trump has thus far secured the commitment of 40 of those, to just 4 for Ted Cruz. While these unbound delegates can theoretically change their mind, the AP is usually pretty conservative with their allocations.
Considering this Pennsylvania windfall, Trump's path to the nomination has gotten a bit easier. Whether he makes it will likely come down to California, although a win in next Tuesday's Indiana primary, where Trump leads by 5, would go a long way. Use our interactive delegate calculator to see if you can get Trump to 1,237.
The math is much easier for Hillary Clinton. She is now just 200 delegates shy of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination. She'll likely pick up about 45 in next Tuesday's Indiana primary, where she leads by 6 in the polls. There are only about 235 pledged delegates available during May (including Indiana). Absent a surge in commitments by the remaining superdelegates, Clinton will likely not officially achieve the required number until June 7, the day of the huge (delegate-wise) California primary.
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