Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fateful Tuesday, the Day After

The day after Fateful Tuesday--which, most agree, was pretty fateful-- a number of media analysts had at the exit poll data.  The most interesting I saw was Alexander Burns in the New York Times.  His basic conclusion:

"Democrats and Republicans can now confidently predict which candidates will have the most delegates at their conventions in July: Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton each hold large and growing delegate leads. It would take an upset of staggering proportions for a rival to pull ahead of either one by the time the primaries end in June.

But the two front-runners are not on equal footing. Mrs. Clinton has assembled a formidable majority coalition within the Democratic Party that has resisted Senator Bernie Sanders’s appeals.

Mr. Trump has achieved something less than that. He has locked down a large plurality of voters on the right, but not enough to guarantee that he will win a majority of Republican convention delegates. And his position appears to be weakening."

Trump is winning, he writes, "but at a terrible price. The intensifying attacks on his personal character and business record, and the scenes of violence at his rallies, appear to be taking a toll, exit polls show. In no state did a majority of Republican primary voters say they believed he was honest and trustworthy. In every state that voted on Tuesday except for Florida, about two in five Republicans said they would consider voting for a third-party candidate over Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton in November."

While the numbers bear out Trump's popularity among working class white men, other figures suggest to Burns that "If Mr. Trump became the nominee, Republicans might risk a large-scale defection by upscale whites who voted willingly for Mitt Romney four years ago."

Hillary Clinton on the other hand has a clearer path to the nomination while Bernie Sanders has almost none.  But analysis by others points to the continuing trend in which Republican turnout is much higher and Democratic turnout much lower (although the big discrepancies in individual states tend to skew the averages.)  Ohio in particular had half the turnout of 2008, and so Clinton's support among unions and the Ohio Democratic party suggest reasons for her surprising margin of victory.

Clinton's sweep, by the way, is not yet official.  Apparently the Missouri vote has not yet been actually certified, and there are uncounted ballots that could change the outcome.  But the state is proportional, and the Sanders campaign said that even if they officially lose, it's unlikely that they would ask for a recount since it wouldn't matter much or even at all in number of delegates.  Update Thurs. p.m.: It's now official: Hillary won Missouri and it's a sweep of 5.

GOPer turmoil over Trump continues, but so does evidence that the party is reaping what it sowed, as New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer reminds us with a trip down Koch Brothers lane.

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