I’ll admit that there were a couple of surprises for me last night, but nothing too significant in terms of delegates.
Let me start with the republican primaries. There were almost no surprises there. Minnesota was a surprise, but there was very little data to rely on since it’s a caucus state. Caucus states are always going to be difficult to pin down because they’re hard to poll so most polling firms won’t try. We had one poll this year (conducted 2 weeks ago), showing Rubio up by 2 points. So: a) that’s one poll (we all know how I feel about putting much weight into a single poll) and b) the spread was within the margin of error. So I was surprised that he won, but I was not at all surprised that he was Mr. Third Place in most of the rest of the primaries.
Trump remains the inevitable nominee.
In any other election, Rubio would be announcing that he’s suspending his campaign today. But he’s not going to do it because he won a whole state!
There were more surprises for me on the democratic side. They weren’t so much surprises for me, as they were interesting since they mostly happened in states I deemed to be toss ups.
I’m not going to lie: not winning Massachusetts hurt Bernie. His path to the nomination did narrow last night. It wasn’t a resounding loss, so there’s that, but he should have won. The fact that Hillary eked it it out isn’t good for Bernie. The fact that Bill pulled this slightly desperate move in order to help his wife, isn’t awesome for Hillary, but she won nonetheless. By “won”, I mean purely from a numbers perspective. Every time Bill and Hillary pull moves like this, they become a little more untrustworthy so I’m not sure this is really a “win”.
On the upside for Bernie, he took every other state that was in play. Yesterday morning, I said that if Bernie pulls off MA, plus CO and MN, he would have pulled off an epic ass kicking. He lost MA, but he won both CO and MN which appeared too close to predict. Neither were even a little close. That fact does mitigate the loss in MA, but not entirely. Oklahoma was too close to call for me because there was only one poll. That poll had Bernie up by 5 points but again, I don’t put too much weight in one poll so I didn’t expect that he would win. He took it by 10 points. Again, not even a little close.
Here’s the thing: remember my post from yesterday regarding my anxiety over the general election? Well, that anxiety has grown slightly. With the exception of MA and VA, Hillary only won states that Trump will resoundingly win in the general. Virginia is a swing state, so that’s the only glimmer of hope. MA will always go blue in the general so that victory does nothing to calm my anxiety. I would feel better about the Virginia win if so many Virginia voters didn’t work in DC. But she did win, and and that does give me a little hope for her in the general. No other state that she won last night gives me any more hope about her chances in the general.
Bernie kicked major ass in Colorado, which is another swing state. Every swing state that Hillary doesn’t win (decisively), makes me more and more concerned about the general, especially since Trump is the only candidate who seems to be bringing in new voters.
The next measure of my anxiety over the general will be next Tuesday in Michigan, which is another swing state. The aggregate of eleven polls has Hillary winning by a nineteen point margin but, those polls were taken over a seven month period. She needs to beat Bernie by a twenty point margin in Michigan for me to feel a little better about her prospects against Trump in the general.
After Michigan, the next two tests for general election viability happen in Florida and North Carolina (also swing states) on the 15th.
It’s going to be an anxiety riddled couple of weeks for me, but I’m going to keep my eye on the general election prize.