Sanders wins again


Bernie Sanders won a convincing victory 51.4% to 36.0% over Hillary Clinton in the West Virginia primary. The 15-point margin of victory was well above what the poll averages predicted. This follows his victory in Indiana last week.

This must be worrisome for Clinton and her supporters. It is true that she still has a commanding lead among delegates especially when superdelegates are factored in, but the fact that she cannot put away this race has to be embarrassing for her. Next week sees Kentucky and Oregon. Polling is next to non-existent in those states so it is hard to gauge sentiment. But there is no reason to think that they will be easy for her.

She has to be hoping for a strong finish to the primary season in delegate-rich New Jersey and California on June 7 if she wants to avoid limping into the Democratic convention with the aura of a loser.

Comments

  1. doublereed says

    I keep hearing people say that the polls have been pretty accurate this race. I have no idea what they’re talking about, and I have to assume they’re parroting 538. But 538 has been wildly – even comically – changing their reasoning of why their such-and-such poll isn’t accurate.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    I expect Clinton will crow a lot when she wins California and New Jersey, which she is expected to do. They are both populous states with a lot of delegates.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    she still has a commanding lead among delegates especially when superdelegates are factored in

    The fact that she’s still having to fight, while Trump is already the presumptive nominee, means the “loser” aura is already on her. The fact that her “commanding lead” is despite, rather than because of, the popular vote merely cements her image as an insider rigging the competition because she really would lose if she didn’t.

  4. anat says

    sonofrojblake, actually Clinton has a large lead in popular vote, as many of Sanders’ large victories come from caucus states, where participation is low.

  5. flex says

    Doublereed @1, wrote,

    But 538 has been wildly – even comically – changing their reasoning of why their such-and-such poll isn’t accurate.

    Am I the only one who feels that once 538 moved to NYT the quality went down?

    I have thought of a number of reasons, none of which suggest that 538 sold out, but might explain why I rarely read the site any longer.

    1. There are far more people working there. Some of whom are clearly not statisticians.
    2. Nate Silver really enjoys sports statistics rather than political statistics. So political statistics are getting less attention.
    3. The quantity of posts has gone up quite a bit. Which tends to make it harder to find the quantitative posts among the qualitative ones.
    4. Now that Silver’s methodology is fairly well known, it is easier for an individual polling organization to screw with the results. This seems less possible because of Silver’s methodology, but it could occur.
    5. The individual poll results which Silver uses may be getting less accurate, thus impacting the overall results. A meta-study is only marginally better than the data from individual studies, and can be severely flawed if only some of the data used is inaccurate. Bayesian analysis is a powerful tool, but GIGO is the one ring which rules them all.

    This isn’t an exhaustive list of possibilities, just a few of those I’ve thought of.

    So, while I used to read 538 every day, over the past year or two I’ve pretty much dropped the site. I submit that they are likely the victim of their own success.

  6. doublereed says

    I don’t follow 538 that closely. I’ve just been very annoyed at their variety of excuses during this election cycle.

    I just figured that primary polling is less accurate than general election polling. It’s not like I blame them. They shouldn’t pretend otherwise though.

  7. Nick Gotts says

    She has to be hoping for a strong finish to the primary season in delegate-rich New Jersey and California on June 7

    Which she will almost certainly get. Sanders, unfortunately, has comprehensively failed to broaden his appeal to minorities, or to bring in the hordes of new voters he hoped for (turnout in Democratic primaries has been well down). I really wish these were not the facts – I prefer him to Clinton both politically and personally, and polls indicate that he would be the stronger candidate against Trump – but facts they are.

  8. lorn says

    I think there is a substantial shift by Democratic voters toward Bernie because Clinton has a lock on the Democratic nomination. Given that the practical aspects of the primaries, getting the most reliable and predictable candidate the nomination, has been satisfied people are free to vote their aspirations.

    Once the rent and bills are paid you can throw a little money at indulgences that make you feel good about life and yourself.

  9. doublereed says

    See, random and blatantly idiotic explanations like the one found in @8 lorn are the kind of thing that 538 would say nowadays. When Kansas was off by 30 points or whatever they said “well liberals in red states could be more liberal than in blue states.” Evidence-free assertions that are just baffling in their stupidity and complexity. Maybe the polls just sucked.

    As for lorn: Maybe, just maybe, they’re voting for Bernie because they want him to be president. Shock!!!

  10. Holms says

    Yes lorn, it couldn’t possibly be that ‘Bernie is unelectable’ was a myth all along. Fun fact: the only onelectable candidate is the candidate that doesn’t win, which is only decided over the full (or majority) course of the primary season.

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