February 28: We've updated the information below: Go Here.
Republicans will caucus in Nevada tomorrow, then debate in Houston this Thursday. After that it's on to Super Tuesday, March 1. This will be the busiest date of the Republican nominating calendar. Here's a very quick update on the polling in each state. Note that most delegates on this date will be allocated proportionately, either based on the statewide result, or some combination of statewide and each Congressional District. There is also usually a minimum threshold to claim any delegates. Click/tap a state for more details. We'll do a Democratic update tomorrow.
Correction: An earlier version of this post included North Dakota as a Super Tuesday caucus state. That appears to be better classified as a caucus (state convention) the weekend of April 1-3. We've moved it to April 1 on our 2016 election calendar. Regardless of date, none of the state's 28 delegates will be bound to a particular candidate at the Republican National Convention.
Alabama (Primary, 50 delegates): A mid-February poll had Trump at 38%, Cruz and Rubio in the mid-teens (Likely Trump)
Alaska (Caucus, 28): A January poll showed Trump & Cruz separated by 4 points (Toss-up)
Arkansas (Primary, 40): A poll earlier this month had Cruz, Trump & Rubio within 4 points (Toss-up)
Colorado (Caucus, 37): No recent polling; delegates won't actually be awarded until a later date
Georgia (Primary, 76): It's been about a month since two polls that had Trump up by 10 points over Cruz (Leans Trump)
Massachusetts (Primary, 42): A poll out today had Trump at 50% (Looks pretty solid for Trump)
Minnesota (Caucus, 38): A late January poll showed a pretty close 3-way race with Rubio, Cruz & Trump (Toss-up)
Oklahoma (Primary, 43): The Sooner Poll early this month gave Trump a small lead over Cruz, with Rubio 3rd (Toss-up)
Tennessee (Primary, 58): No recent polling (Based on nearby state polling, would say Likely Trump)
Texas (Primary, 155): The big delegate prize on Super Tuesday; a couple polls late January had Cruz ahead (Leans Cruz)
Vermont (Primary, 16): A poll out today (very small sample size) had Trump well ahead of Rubio and Kasich (Leans Trump)
Virginia (Primary, 49): A poll last week showed Trump with a small lead over Rubio and Cruz (Leans Trump)
Wyoming (Caucus, 29): No polling; delegates won't be known until a later date
Donald Trump solidified his lead in the 2016 Republican race by defeating Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz by 10 points and claiming most (if not all) of the state's 50 delegates. Rubio just edged Cruz for second, while Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson were well back in single digits. After another lackluster performance, Jeb Bush suspended his campaign.
Trump, Rubio and Cruz all outperformed the polling averages, and it appears we have a 3-person race for the nomination. John Kasich will likely benefit from Bush's withdrawal and will probably stick around at least through mid-March in the hopes of adding to his delegate count in states like Michigan and his home state of Ohio. Ben Carson doesn't seem to have a realistic path forward. While he may outperform South Carolina in some of the southern states on Super Tuesday, most of those states have a threshold minimum popular vote to win delegates.
Rubio appears to have barely edged out fellow Senator Cruz for 2nd place; perhaps the endorsement earlier this week by Governor Nikki Haley made the difference. Despite the strong showing by both Rubio and Cruz, they will likely have nothing to show for it in terms of delegates.
South Carolina is the only Republican state to be exempt from the Party's proportional allocation rules in effect for contests before March 15. The state awards 29 delegates to the winner of the state, with 3 more to the winner of each of the state's 7 Congressional Districts. As of this writing, Trump has 44 of those 50 delegates, and is likely to win the remaining 6. This puts him well in front in the early delegate count.
Additionally, since its inception in 1980, the winner in South Carolina's primary has gone on to be the Republican nominee each cycle except for 2012, when Newt Gingrich defeated Mitt Romney.
The remaining five Republicans will compete for 30 delegates in the Nevada caucuses this Tuesday.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the winners in Saturday's contests. Trump won the South Carolina primary, with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz locked in a tight battle for second as of this writing. Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson seemed to be duking it out for 4th in single digits.
South Carolina has 50 delegates. It is the only state prior to March 15th that is allowed (by Republican rules) to allocate delegates on a winner take all basis. In South Carolina's case, 29 delegates will go to Trump as the statewide winner, while 3 will go to the winner in each Congressional District. As of this writing, Trump has won at least 38 delegates. This gives Trump 55 total delegates.
Hillary Clinton edged Bernie Sanders in a fairly close Nevada race. Democrats allocate delegates on a proportional basis. As of this writing, Clinton has won 19 delegates to Sanders 14. Overall, despite very competitive races in Iowa and Nevada and a Sanders win in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is far ahead in delegates on the strength of the commitment of party superdelegates.
The Nevada Democratic caucuses will continue into early evening, although results are starting to come in. We'll report the final results when available; here's a few other options to 'watch' the returns online:
NBC News: In addition to displaying the vote percentages, this page includes the results of entrance polling being conducted throughout the day. A good way to see how different demographic groups are voting.
NVcaucuses: The Nevada Democratic Party is presenting results here. This site seems to be intermittently offline this afternoon.
The South Carolina polls close at 7PM tonight. Donald Trump is expected to win, although the most recent polls have hinted at a tightening race.
South Carolina Republicans and Nevada Democrats will weigh in on Saturday as to who should represent their respective parties in the 2016 presidential election. The recap below includes polls of which we are aware through about 8AM ET on Friday.
South Carolina Republican Primary is February 20. There are 50 delegates, allocated on a winner take all basis (some statewide, some to the winner of each of the state's seven Congressional Districts).
There have been about 15 polls over the past week and, aside from a couple outliers, the results have been pretty consistent. Looking at the current 270toWin South Carolina average, Donald Trump appears poised to pick up the majority of the state's delegates. He's averaging about 32%. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are battling for second, with Jeb Bush, Jon Kasich and Ben Carson tightly grouped for the fourth spot.
Nevada Democratic Caucus is February 20. There are 43 delegates, allocated proportionately (some statewide, some in each of the state's four Congressional Districts).
Polling in Nevada is much more limited than in South Carolina, but what there is indicates a close race. Our Nevada average shows just 1.4 points separate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Nevada Republicans will caucus on Tuesday, the 23rd. Again with very limited polling, Donald Trump appears to be well out in front. The state's 30 delegates will be allocated proportionately.
South Carolina Democrats will hold their primary next Saturday, the 27th. Hillary Clinton looks to have her easiest victory thus far, she's averaging about 25 points ahead of Bernie Sanders. The allocation process is proportional (statewide and Congressional District), with 59 delegates available.
Looking ahead, Super Tuesday, March 1 will quickly follow. Over 25% of Republican and 20% of Democratic delegates will be available that day. Note that in some caucus states, such as Colorado, the date marks jus the beginning of an allocation process that could stretch over many weeks.
Public Policy Polling has released the findings of Democratic polls conducted in 9 states that will hold primaries on Super Tuesday, as well as Louisiana (March 5), Michigan and Mississippi (March 8).
Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders in 9 of those states, including 8 by large margins of over 20 points. Oklahoma is essentially tied (Clinton leads by 2) and Sanders is up in two New England states, including his home state of Vermont where he gets 86% support.
The 9 Super Tuesday primary states have 835 delegates up for grabs, 17.5% of the Democratic total. It is worth noting that Democratic Party allocations are proportional (some statewide, some by Congressional District), so Sanders should still receive some delegates even where he loses by 20 points or more. On the other hand, with a 15% Party minimum threshold, it is possible that Clinton will receive none of the Vermont delegates.
Louisiana (59 delegates), Michigan (147) and Mississippi (41) were also included in the survey, bringing the total delegates in the surveyed states to 1,082, about 45% of the 2,382 needed to nominate.
Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota and Nebraska will hold caucus events (which are often just the first step in the delegate awarding process) in this same calendar period. These states were not surveyed.
A new CNN/ORC poll out this afternoon shows Donald Trump with a 16 point lead over his closest rival, Ted Cruz. Trump's 38% in the CNN poll is pretty close to what he has seen in other polls out in recent days.
It has been a while since CNN polled the Palmetto State, with their last survey in October. Interestingly, not much has changed since then, except for Ted Cruz, who rocketed from 5% to 22%. The Texas Senator's gains appear to have mostly come at the expense of Ben Carson.
The two CNN polls are compared in the image below. Select the image to see all recent South Carolina polling. The Republican primary is this Saturday, February 20. The state is exempted from Republican rules on proportional delegate allocation prior to March 15; about half the 50 delegates will go to the winner of the state, with the remainder based on the winner within each individual Congressional District.
On the Democratic side, CNN shows Hillary Clinton with an 18 point lead over Bernie Sanders, 56% to 38%. Clinton's lead has narrowed quite a bit since October, when she led Sanders by 31 points. Nonetheless, the former Secretary of State looks to cruise to a fairly easy victory on February 27th. The state's 59 Democratic delegates will be allocated proportionately, mostly by Congressional District.
The death of Justice Scalia has highlighted the importance of this year's 34 Senate elections, where control of the body that ratifies presidential Court nominations is again hanging in the balance. We've summarized the current state of the race in the table below. Use our 2016 interactive Senate map to review the current Senate, make an election forecast, and then see the 2017 Senate based on your prediction.
The left part of the table shows the 16 potentially competitive races in 2016; these are the seats that will determine control of the Senate. For a race to be in this list, at least one of three 'pundits' needed to see the race as at least somewhat competitive. The other 18 seats were seen as safe for the incumbent party by all three; these are listed to the bottom right.
In the top right, we've summarized what it all means. The current Senate is controlled by Republicans, with 54 seats; Democrats have 46 (including Maine independent Angus King). More than 70% (24 of 34) of the seats to be contested this year are currently held by Republicans, with the composition of safe seats much closer to 50-50. This puts the Democratic floor at 43 seats, Republicans at 41 or, put another way, 3 Democratic seats are at risk, while 13 Republican ones are in play.
Several of the seats fall into the 'likely' category; those may or may not end up as competitive. If we adjust for that, we end up with a 'Likely' floor of 46 for Republicans, 44 for Democrats, with 10 seats seen as highly competitive.
Justice Antonin Scalia, who served nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, was found dead today at a resort in Texas. He was 79. The vacancy has huge implications for the 2016 presidential and Senate elections.
According to a guest on MSNBC (no link available), Republican-appointed justices have been in the majority of the Court since 1972.
The president nominates Supreme Court justices, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The Court is ideologically divided 4-4 with the vacancy created by Scalia's passing. We obviously have a presidential election this year, and 34 U.S. Senate seats are up for election. The presidential race is likely to be competitive, and it is also close to 50/50 as to who will control the Senate.
This creates an interesting 'game theory' situation. Does President Obama nominate someone now, knowing that if he name someone with his ideological view, that person would have a very difficult time getting confirmed in a Republican-controlled Senate? Or does he nominate a moderate, hoping that person can get approved? Both parties will be reading the tea leaves as the year goes on.
For example, Republicans are already saying (McConnell, Cruz) that the appointment should wait until a new president is in office. However, if it becomes obvious that Democrats will win the White House and take control of the Senate, they might become more accommodating to an Obama nominee as the year goes on.
Ironically, Senator Cruz's statement could work against him, to the benefit of establishment Republicans, if voters conclude that Cruz or other outsiders like Donald Trump can't win in 2016.
Nevadans may be 'Feeling the Bern' after the Vermont Senator's strong performance in New Hampshire earlier this week. In a new Nevada survey conducted by TargetPoint, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are tied at 45%. This is the first Nevada poll since late December, when Gravis Marketing found Clinton ahead by 23 points.
While we'd like to see more polls confirm this, long-time Nevada political expert Jon Ralston says the results look pretty reasonable.
The Nevada Democratic caucuses are on February 20.
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