South Carolina Republicans and Nevada Democrats will weigh in on Saturday as to who should represent their respective parties in the 2016 presidential election. The recap below includes polls of which we are aware through about 8AM ET on Friday.
South Carolina Republican Primary is February 20. There are 50 delegates, allocated on a winner take all basis (some statewide, some to the winner of each of the state's seven Congressional Districts).
There have been about 15 polls over the past week and, aside from a couple outliers, the results have been pretty consistent. Looking at the current 270toWin South Carolina average, Donald Trump appears poised to pick up the majority of the state's delegates. He's averaging about 32%. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are battling for second, with Jeb Bush, Jon Kasich and Ben Carson tightly grouped for the fourth spot.
Nevada Democratic Caucus is February 20. There are 43 delegates, allocated proportionately (some statewide, some in each of the state's four Congressional Districts).
Polling in Nevada is much more limited than in South Carolina, but what there is indicates a close race. Our Nevada average shows just 1.4 points separate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Nevada Republicans will caucus on Tuesday, the 23rd. Again with very limited polling, Donald Trump appears to be well out in front. The state's 30 delegates will be allocated proportionately.
South Carolina Democrats will hold their primary next Saturday, the 27th. Hillary Clinton looks to have her easiest victory thus far, she's averaging about 25 points ahead of Bernie Sanders. The allocation process is proportional (statewide and Congressional District), with 59 delegates available.
Looking ahead, Super Tuesday, March 1 will quickly follow. Over 25% of Republican and 20% of Democratic delegates will be available that day. Note that in some caucus states, such as Colorado, the date marks jus the beginning of an allocation process that could stretch over many weeks.
Public Policy Polling has released the findings of Democratic polls conducted in 9 states that will hold primaries on Super Tuesday, as well as Louisiana (March 5), Michigan and Mississippi (March 8).
Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders in 9 of those states, including 8 by large margins of over 20 points. Oklahoma is essentially tied (Clinton leads by 2) and Sanders is up in two New England states, including his home state of Vermont where he gets 86% support.
The 9 Super Tuesday primary states have 835 delegates up for grabs, 17.5% of the Democratic total. It is worth noting that Democratic Party allocations are proportional (some statewide, some by Congressional District), so Sanders should still receive some delegates even where he loses by 20 points or more. On the other hand, with a 15% Party minimum threshold, it is possible that Clinton will receive none of the Vermont delegates.
Louisiana (59 delegates), Michigan (147) and Mississippi (41) were also included in the survey, bringing the total delegates in the surveyed states to 1,082, about 45% of the 2,382 needed to nominate.
Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota and Nebraska will hold caucus events (which are often just the first step in the delegate awarding process) in this same calendar period. These states were not surveyed.
A new CNN/ORC poll out this afternoon shows Donald Trump with a 16 point lead over his closest rival, Ted Cruz. Trump's 38% in the CNN poll is pretty close to what he has seen in other polls out in recent days.
It has been a while since CNN polled the Palmetto State, with their last survey in October. Interestingly, not much has changed since then, except for Ted Cruz, who rocketed from 5% to 22%. The Texas Senator's gains appear to have mostly come at the expense of Ben Carson.
The two CNN polls are compared in the image below. Select the image to see all recent South Carolina polling. The Republican primary is this Saturday, February 20. The state is exempted from Republican rules on proportional delegate allocation prior to March 15; about half the 50 delegates will go to the winner of the state, with the remainder based on the winner within each individual Congressional District.
On the Democratic side, CNN shows Hillary Clinton with an 18 point lead over Bernie Sanders, 56% to 38%. Clinton's lead has narrowed quite a bit since October, when she led Sanders by 31 points. Nonetheless, the former Secretary of State looks to cruise to a fairly easy victory on February 27th. The state's 59 Democratic delegates will be allocated proportionately, mostly by Congressional District.
The death of Justice Scalia has highlighted the importance of this year's 34 Senate elections, where control of the body that ratifies presidential Court nominations is again hanging in the balance. We've summarized the current state of the race in the table below. Use our 2016 interactive Senate map to review the current Senate, make an election forecast, and then see the 2017 Senate based on your prediction.
The left part of the table shows the 16 potentially competitive races in 2016; these are the seats that will determine control of the Senate. For a race to be in this list, at least one of three 'pundits' needed to see the race as at least somewhat competitive. The other 18 seats were seen as safe for the incumbent party by all three; these are listed to the bottom right.
In the top right, we've summarized what it all means. The current Senate is controlled by Republicans, with 54 seats; Democrats have 46 (including Maine independent Angus King). More than 70% (24 of 34) of the seats to be contested this year are currently held by Republicans, with the composition of safe seats much closer to 50-50. This puts the Democratic floor at 43 seats, Republicans at 41 or, put another way, 3 Democratic seats are at risk, while 13 Republican ones are in play.
Several of the seats fall into the 'likely' category; those may or may not end up as competitive. If we adjust for that, we end up with a 'Likely' floor of 46 for Republicans, 44 for Democrats, with 10 seats seen as highly competitive.
Justice Antonin Scalia, who served nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court, was found dead today at a resort in Texas. He was 79. The vacancy has huge implications for the 2016 presidential and Senate elections.
According to a guest on MSNBC (no link available), Republican-appointed justices have been in the majority of the Court since 1972.
The president nominates Supreme Court justices, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The Court is ideologically divided 4-4 with the vacancy created by Scalia's passing. We obviously have a presidential election this year, and 34 U.S. Senate seats are up for election. The presidential race is likely to be competitive, and it is also close to 50/50 as to who will control the Senate.
This creates an interesting 'game theory' situation. Does President Obama nominate someone now, knowing that if he name someone with his ideological view, that person would have a very difficult time getting confirmed in a Republican-controlled Senate? Or does he nominate a moderate, hoping that person can get approved? Both parties will be reading the tea leaves as the year goes on.
For example, Republicans are already saying (McConnell, Cruz) that the appointment should wait until a new president is in office. However, if it becomes obvious that Democrats will win the White House and take control of the Senate, they might become more accommodating to an Obama nominee as the year goes on.
Ironically, Senator Cruz's statement could work against him, to the benefit of establishment Republicans, if voters conclude that Cruz or other outsiders like Donald Trump can't win in 2016.
Nevadans may be 'Feeling the Bern' after the Vermont Senator's strong performance in New Hampshire earlier this week. In a new Nevada survey conducted by TargetPoint, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are tied at 45%. This is the first Nevada poll since late December, when Gravis Marketing found Clinton ahead by 23 points.
While we'd like to see more polls confirm this, long-time Nevada political expert Jon Ralston says the results look pretty reasonable.
The Nevada Democratic caucuses are on February 20.
The team at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has updated their 2016 House of Representatives outlook, making 17 ratings changes. Of these, ten are positive for Republicans, while seven move in favor of Democrats. Nine of the races have become less competitive. 379 out of 435 seats are seen as safe for one party or the other, meaning the battle control will be fought in just 56 seats.
Since Democrats need to gain 30 seats to take control, it is highly likely that Republicans will hold the House in the 115th Congress. The elephant (or donkey, if you prefer) in the room is the presidential election. The Crystal Ball rankings profile is based on a "close national election where neither presidential candidate exerts excessive influence on other races."
The ratings changes follow. Use our 2016 House Interactive Map for a visual view and to create your own forecast. Note that we have recently enlarged the map and are working on some other enhancements to make it more user-friendly.
Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina has ended her quest for the White House. She issued a statement on her Facebook account, the first paragraph of which follows:
"This campaign was always about citizenship—taking back our country from a political class that only serves the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well connected. Election after election, the same empty promises are made and the same poll-tested stump speeches are given, but nothing changes. I've said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I'm not going to start now. While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them."
Fiorina's exit, along with the likely departure of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, would leave just 7 of the original 17 Republicans in the race. Follow the race on our Republican Nomination page, which includes delegate and poll information, as well as links to information about each state's contest.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to suspend his 2016 presidential bid today; exiting the race one day after a 6th place finish in New Hampshire. Christie received no delegates through the first two events of the 2016 nominating race.
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders cruised to easy wins in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. Both outperformed the polling which, overall, was pretty accurate.
Both parties allocate delegates in a proportional manner. After two events, Donald Trump leads with 17 delegates; Ted Cruz has 10. 1,237 are needed to win the Republican nomination. Bernie Sanders earned 13 delegates to Hillary Clinton's 9 in New Hampshire. Clinton is well ahead in delegates, owing to her receiving the support of a large number of party superdelegates.
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