Update: The race has been called for Hillary Clinton. With 72% of the vote counted, Clinton was leading Bernie Sanders 52.2% to 47.7%. The victory gives her an important boost heading into South Carolina next Saturday and on to Super Tuesday, March 1. According to AP, Clinton has secured 18 of 35 delegates up for grabs today; Sanders has earned 14.
The start of the Democratic caucus in Nevada is just minutes away as I write this. The 11:00 PST start means we could have the results before dinner time on the East Coast. So, I’m rushing to finish this article before the opening bell. My predictions will name who I think will win the popular caucus vote in Nevada and how much that candidate will win by. But in a real sense, the battle for victory here involves something much different – delegates. In Republican nominating contests this distinction is trivial. The GOP awards delegates either proportionally or entirely to the winner (in some cases, delegates are parsed out with some differences, but these exceptions are always dictated by the vote count).
Democrats, on the other hand, feature a large slice of superdelegates in their delegate pie. These uncommitted convention voters are not awarded according to the vote. Numbering fully 30% of the 2,382 Democratic delegates needed for the nomination, these wildcards alter the thrill of victory in Democratic primaries and caucuses and have the possibility of altering the eventual nominee as well. We have a perfect example of this in the current race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Even though Sanders has placed a razor-close second in Iowa and notched an overwhelming victory in New Hampshire, Clinton still leads the Democratic delegate count. And the 44-36 margin reflected here at Election Projection includes only superdelegates from states who have already conducted their nomination elections. By some counts, Hillary is already up to a 481-55 count when superdelegates from all states are factored in. For the purposes of my predictions here, I’m sticking to the popular vote. The latest EP Poll Average of Nevada Democratic caucus polls shows Clinton ahead by just 2.4 points. Given the fact that Sanders over performed the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, I think it is likely that he’ll be able to make up that small deficit in the polls and win the state today. Nevada Democratic Caucus Predictions
- Bernie Sanders – 52%
- Hillary Clinton – 47%