What is the delegate math after the Sanders sweep on 3/26

I’m asking about pledged delegates, not including super delegates.

Alaska - 10 net delegates for Sanders
Hawaii - 17 net delegates for Sanders
Washington - ?

In Washington when I look online, it says that there are 101 delegates, and that Sanders won 72.7% of the vote. However they only awarded him 25 vs 9 for Clinton. That is 16 net delgates for Sanders. Shouldn’t that number be 47 net delegates for Sanders?

Anyway, assuming 47 that means Sanders won 74 net delegates yesterday. But now I’m having trouble finding the delegate count before 3/26 that doesn’t include superdelegates.

Has Sanders narrowed Clinton’s lead down to 200 pledged delegates? I thought he was behind by roughly 300 before 3/26.

Excluding supers, he seems to be 230 behind as of 3/27.

I have been watching 538 - they seem to stay on top of the count.

538’s article: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bernie-sanders-continues-to-dominate-caucuses-but-hes-about-to-run-out-of-them/

Sanders does well in caucuses. So he did well yesterday. But we’re running out of such venues.

Things to keep in mind are that the Democrats award statewide delegates and congressional district delegates (both proportionally), most of the delegates are actually congressional district, not statewide. Because of this, it matters quite a bit what each congressional district’s vote was, and thus sometimes it takes many days or even weeks to get the count correct. For example in my spreadsheet I just had to update Georgia to the final corrected number–and that primary was held on 3/1.

So if a congressional district is apportioned, say 6 delegates, like district 3 in Washington, if the vote is really close 50/50 then we can guess pretty easily that each candidate gets 3 delegates. In fact to get 4, one candidate has to win by a lot there. So the reason there are delays are when the initial “quick and dirty” vote returns are real close to one of these thresholds. Like say a few hundreds votes one way or another might mean one candidate gets 4 instead of 3, and the other gets 2 instead of 3. For that, you have to basically wait until the “fully certified vote.” Which is different from the votes that the news reports on during election night coverage. Usually the estimates of delegate counts are pretty accurate though, because it should only move a couple.

Sometimes though the online delegate trackers are conservative and won’t even apportion all of the delegates, for example the 538 count right now isn’t complete at all–it doesn’t even add up to 101 for Washington, which is fine–it just means you’ll need to wait a few days.

By the current FiveThirtyEight count the margin is now 230. The margin on 3/22 before results came in (so including Democrats Abroad, but excluding AZ/ID/UT) was 317. So in the past week of elections Bernie has gotten the margin down from 317 to 230. But 230 isn’t the final margin.

The Green Papers has actually made a full projection for the votes up through yesterday on delegate counts. They have Hillary at a total of 1,268, and Sanders at a total of 1,036. That’s a margin of 231 for Hillary (so while their total delegate counts are higher for both than the FiveThirtyEight numbers, because those are incomplete, the splits of the remainder were in line with the already counted delegate totals on 538 so the margin doesn’t move much.)

That’s the straight math.

As for analysis of the race, anyone who is wondering “does this change much”, the answer is “not really.” Believe it or not I actually did some quick math awhile back and made some assumptions about this week’s elections that came pretty close to being true here. In that post I speculate on Bernie actually slightly winning Arizona, doing “as expected” in Idaho/Utah/Alaska/Hawaii, and winning “more than expected” with 74% of the delegates in Washington.

In that scenario if the primary ran to its conclusion with both sides hitting “targets” and Bernie exceeding them significantly in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Bernie still only ends up with 1947 and Hillary ends up with enough to clinch.

What actually happened is Bernie did a little worse in Arizona (losing it) and a little worse in Washington than my projections (which were not guesses, I was just making assumptions to game out some theories for Bernie possibly being able to win–I just knew Bernie does well in open caucus states with small non-white populations, and has been exceeding expectations in those so gave him a big win in Washington), but plugging those numbers in and running the rust of my “guesses” out to the end he only ends up with 1950 delegates, still short of clinching.

The big problem for Bernie is my guess estimates, designed only to represent a “ballpark reality timeline where Bernie could possibly win” is probably a lot more generous than the real upcoming votes will be, for a few reasons:

  1. Aside from the territories and a few small western states, there are no longer any caucuses. Worse still, most of the states left are closed primaries the election type that has been least favorable to Sanders the entire election. In fact, even worse some of these state are “draconian closed.” New York’s deadline for switching party registration for the primary on 4/19 was in October, when Bernie was still largely unknown. So it’s safe to bet almost none of his independent voters who have propelled him to surprise wins elsewhere will even be able to get their foot in the door in New York. That’s quite bad for him. Pennsylvania isn’t as bad, but the cutoff is tomorrow. Given how bad Bernie has done in several closed primary states even when the cutoff was only a few weeks before the election, that still bodes badly for him. Bernie really only has done great in open primaries or primaries that are only “semi-closed” these are ones where they are technically closed but you can update your registration the same time as when you vote. That is most beneficial because it only requires one trip, it doesn’t require thinking about filing/mailing in paper work in advance.

  2. Bernie has not been as dominating in the midwest, even among whites, as he has been in the West/plains states. I don’t particularly pretend to know why that is, but part of his strategy for winning was to mirror Clinton’s successes in the Deep South in the Midwest and the West, and that largely hasn’t happened in the midwest. The only midwest state he won a real strong victory was Minnesota, all the rest were either what I call “functional ties” (Illinois, Missouri, Michigan) or losses (Ohio.) Depending on how you define midwest he really only has Wisconsin and Indiana left to vote, and if he does as well in Wisconsin as he did in Minnesota that’s still “only” a 60/40 win, which just doesn’t get him where he needs to be.

  3. Only one poll has been done recently at all in California (a few weeks ago) and Clinton was up about 7 there. What we have seen is that Arizona and Nevada, which some consider to have “similar demographics” to California, have leaned Clinton. If Clinton wins California even by a few points, say 52-48, that likely is really bad for Bernie. With over 500 delegates there the math actually is hard for him to win without beating her by about 10 in California, and it looks unlikely that he can.

  4. A few more “obvious demographically favorable” states remain for Hillary, at a point in the election where Bernie can afford some close losses/ties (if he keeps winning huge victories in key states–which isn’t likely, but just assuming it is) but he can’t afford many/any more Hillary big wins. Maryland, Puerto Rico, D.C., New Mexico all bode poorly for Bernie demographically. And at this point while some are small (D.C. has 20 delegates and New Mexico only 34), Maryland and Puerto Rico at 95 and 60 are kinda high on delegate counts for him to be giving up big wins there, losing Maryland bad would be akin to losing Georgia again for Sanders.

  5. Pennsylvania and New York are key, and both have had some semi-recent polling. Only one poll each, so take it for what it’s worth. Hillary up 25 in Pennsylvania in a poll that ran from 3/14 to 3/20 and Hillary up 48 in New York in polling ran 3/14-3/16.

Now Bernie has outperformed such polls a few times now–but if he were to lose by that margin in New York alone then his “mathematically almost impossible” almost becomes “truly impossible.” Worse still–he only can influence people who were registered Democrats in October of last year, young voters who have never voted before, young voters registered as independents, moderate Republicans who maybe are crossing over in other states to vote for him–they will have no say at all in New York’s primary. Registered Democrats are a group Hillary has really dominated with all election, and New York has a lot of minority voters both black and Hispanic that she’s strong with. Additionally she has basically as many local/political insider ties as you can imagine. She’ll have the support of all the big New York unions, local party insiders and etc. She and Bill have had a residence there since they left the White House and she was Senator there for eight years.

Excellent post. Thanks!