Tomorrow is the Nevada Caucus. I am genuinely very excited as we will finally get a clearer picture as to how the candidates will fare in a state that is more representative of the overall demographics of the United States.
In the New Hampshire Primary, Sanders (25.6%) won by a tighter than expected margin as Pete Buttigieg (24.3%) had another strong performance. However, the standout star in many ways was Amy Klobuchar who outperformed expectations winning 19.7% of the vote and being the third and final candidate to win delegates.
On the other hand, it was a disastrous night for Elizabeth Warren (9.2%), Joe Biden (8.3%) and Andrew Yang (2.8%) who I correctly predicted would withdraw from the race after New Hampshire.
The ten days since then have been a story of two halves. The first few days coverage was mainly focused on the rise of Micheal Bloomberg in the polls. His astronomical spending on TV ads had really lifted his national polling numbers even if he is not competing until the 16 state battles on March 3rd aka Super Tuesday. Some were been beginning to question whether he was the real frontrunner after Sanders’ less than stellar New Hampshire win.
There was also a lot of debate as to whether Buttigieg, Klobuchar or even both could capitalise on their strong showing in the first two contests to kick on and build a broader coalition of support that included the very important Latino and Black voter groups.
On Wednesday night at the Nevada debate, it was quite clear that Sanders is the frontrunner as gloves were barely landed on him whereas Bloomberg was skewered constantly. In particular, Warren really hit him hard and this has certainly given her a boost ahead of voting tomorrow.
There was also little love lost between Buttigieg and Klobuchar and I do wonder whether both camps have decided that there is only room for one of them in this campaign. If that is the case, I would expect Buttigieg to outlast Klobuchar as his support is stronger both in Nevada and nationally ahead of Super Tuesday.
Klobuchar does have her home state, Minnesota, on that day. A win there would probably allow her to withdraw with her head held high whereas a defeat surely indicates she cannot win anywhere and donations would quickly dry up.
Moving back to Nevada, Sanders is the clear favourite and could win by 10% or more on a good day. The 30% of the voting population of Nevada that are Latino are likely to come out in droves for him and the only blip in his Nevada campaign has been a fallout out with the Nevada Culinary Union. It is significant however that the union still did not endorse another candidate.
Ahead of New Hampshire, I said Sanders had to win. Now, I think another narrow win is not enough to maintain momentum, he needs a clear victory with a margin of at least 5%…
Joe Biden is the only other candidate consistently polling at or around the 15% needed to win delegates. Unfortunately for him, in the 3 most recent Nevada polls his best score has still been behind Sander’s worst and it would be a massive upset if he managed to pull off a win. I think a good night for Biden is a strong second finish while a bonus would be if no other candidate polled above 15%.
As for the rest of the candidates, a finish above 15% would be a great result and I think Warren is the only other one who could even dream of winning tomorrow but even after a strong debate performance that is highly unlikely.
I’ll do another write-up next Friday ahead of the South Carolina Primary the following day. I don’t think we’ll see a narrowing of the field before then but with seventeen state contests in four days, by Wednesday, March 4th the national picture will be a lot clearer…
Tom Steyer (Implied Probability: 0.3% / New (National Polling: 2% - 4%) (Nevada Polling: 10% - 11%)
Amy Klobuchar (Implied Probability: 0.7% / -2.1% (National Polling: 4% - 9%) (Nevada Polling: 9% - 11%)
Elizabeth Warren (Implied Probability: 2.8% / -2.2% (National Polling: 12% - 16%) (Nevada Polling: 12% - 16%)
Joe Biden (Implied Probability: 7.7% / -1.0% (National Polling: 15% - 22%) (Nevada Polling: 14% - 18%)
Pete Buttigieg (Implied Probability: 10.6% / -1.3% (National Polling: 8% - 13%) (Nevada Polling: 10% - 17%)
Michael Bloomberg (Implied Probability: 18.2% / -6.2% (National Polling: 9% - 15%) (Nevada Polling: N/A)
Bernie Sanders (Implied Probability: 48.5% / +8.8% (National Polling: 24% - 32%) (Nevada Polling: 25% - 35%)