Be sure to check back tomorrow evening for frequently-updated New York Primary Results as the returns come in.
Since Democrats utilize a proportional system for awarding delegates, Clinton’s big lead in the polls won’t translate to a huge victory in terms of pledged delegates. For example, let’s say the EP Poll Average turns out to be about right, and Clinton earns a 14-point victory. If that happens, she’ll get somewhere around 140 delegates, but Bernie Sanders will walk away with a substantial number as well, 107 or so. However, these pledged delegates not the whole story, not by a long shot. New York is also allocated a whopping 44 superdelegates. These unpledged delegates are not obligated to vote according to the state or district-level vote. And here is where Bernie Sanders supporters rightfully claim the game is rigged. Forty of the superdelegates have voiced a preference in the race between him and Clinton – and all 40 are supporting Hillary. That means, if the polls are accurate, she will emerge from tomorrow’s vote having banked around 180 of New York’s 291 total delegates. In terms of percentages, Hillary stands to convert a 14% edge in votes cast into a 25% rout in delegates awarded. On the Republican side, New York is Donald Trump’s home turf. He was born and raised here and has a strong following in the state. He is expecting a big victory as a result. Due to the modified winner-take-all methodology in place for the Republican primary, Trump conceivably could win all 95 delegates at stake. However, the possibility of that outcome is quite remote. Instead of a full winner-take-all contest like in Ohio, for example, where the top statewide vote-getter gets all the delegates, New York features district-level contests and 50% thresholds. In each of New York’s 27 districts, three delegates will be awarded. If the first-pace finisher earns more than 50% of the vote in a district, he will win all three delegates for that district. If no one gets 50%, then the first-place finisher will only get two delegates with the third going to the candidate in second place. In addition to the 81 delegates awarded in the districts, 14 additional delegates will be awarded based on the statewide vote. If Trump can get to 50% overall, he’ll claim all of these at-large delegates. If not, then they will be awarded proportionally to any candidate earning at least 20%. The expectations game
In a general election, there really isn’t an expectation game attached to the vote. The winner is the winner and that’s that. However, presidential nominating contests consist of dozens of separate elections held over several months. Amid the ebb and flow of momentum, expectations can play a crucial part in determining who eventually becomes a party’s nominee. Many presidential cycles, the nominees are a foregone conclusion by the time mid-April rolls around. This year, that is not the case. Neither party’s nominee is yet in the bag. (Some have argued, as I have, that the Democratic nomination has been Hillary’s from the start. But regardless, the Hillary-Bernie battle is still interesting.) Hillary expects to win tomorrow’s vote, but how much must she win by to avoid a loss in the expectations game? To be sure, if Sanders were to win, it would be huge expectation game triumph, but that’s not likely to happen. On the other hand, with Sanders’ recent successes, any size Clinton victory will be viewed at worst as heading off his advance and holding serve in the overall race. Were she to gain a more convincing victory, I believe her air of invincibility, somewhat shaken recently in conventional wisdom, will return in full force. DEMOCRATIC PREDICTION: Bernie will outperform the polls, lose by less than 10, and march on in his futile bid for the Democratic nomination. Donald Trump needs to win 80 delegates to avoid a disappointment in the expectation game. Due to the complex system I’ve already described, that tally can be earned in many ways. One thing that’s critical for him is a majority in the statewide vote. If he wins over 50% of the overall vote, he’ll likely reach 80 delegates – the 14 at-large delegates off the top and 3 delegates in at least 12 districts. Moreover, as he has yet to crack 50% in any contest so far, a majority will be a great talking point for his campaign going forward. Taking a more detailed mathematical look at the districts and delegates in play, we can establish a range for Trump’s delegate haul tomorrow. I believe his worst outcome would be for him to get just a plurality of the statewide vote and of each district’s vote. That would net him approximately 60 delegates. At the upper boundary, as I’ve mentioned, a clean sweep of 95 delegates is remote, but not impossible. So we’ve set Trump’s range at 60-95 possible delegates. I’ve made a more definitive prediction below, but before I get to that, I want to look at what effect tomorrow’s vote will have on EP’s Stop-Trump-O-Meter. It’s hard to envision a scenario where he underperforms the Meter. The reason is simple. When I setup the initial criteria for the Meter, I included New York as a closed proportional primary. The initial computations allow for him to win 40% of the delegates (38) in such a contest. But New York is effectively more winner-take-all than proportional and, of course, I didn’t allow for Trump’s home field advantage. As a result, the needle should move toward the 1,237 mark by 40 or 50 delegates. Now for my prediction. I see Trump winning at least 2nd place in all 27 districts. That gives him 54 delegates. He should win outright 15 to 20 of them, another 15 to 20 delegates. And, in the statewide vote, I see him breaking the 50% barrier by just a point or two. For me, the most interesting question for tomorrow results will be whether Trump can get a majority statewide. If he does, that’ll be another 14 delegates. If he falls short, he’ll still get no less than 6. REPUBLICAN PREDICTION: Trump will get 51% of the statewide votes and a majority in 16 districts. He’ll end up with 84 delegates.