20160211_150413

Democratic Primary Examination

Democratic Primary

I like many others have been watching the primary season with interest (click here for current results).  The recent momentum of Bernie Sanders (and maybe my like for him) made me interested enough to delve into the numbers. I gathered the information from all the stated that have voted (caucuses and primaries) and looked at them for potential trends.

First I looked at the last seven states and much to my surprise it turns out that based on the current momentum Bernie Sanders indeed has a very legitimate path to nomination. In fact if you look at the percentage of voters that picked Bernie Sanders vs Hillary Clinton then the breakdown predicts that if this trend continued then Bernie would have a 481 delegate lead on Hillary Clinton (that’s pretty impressive since he is currently 249 behind Hillary Clinton). I also checked based on actual vote count and utilizing the current momentum Bernie would reduce Hillary’s pledged delegate lead from 249 to only 64 by the Democratic Convention. Finally, if one considers strictly the pledged delegate count then the projected outcome is a 234 delegate lead for Bernie Sanders by the convention.

Note: Votes vs Percentage are different in how they weight the data. Consider Alaska’s vote count vs Arizona by  percentage. Bernie Sanders has a 20% lead over Hillary ( 39.9 + 81.6) / 2 = 60.75 % vs. (57.6 + 18.4) / 2 = 38%. However vote count gives a very different picture (163400 + 440) / 2 = 81920 votes per state for Bernie vs. (235697 + 99) / 2 = 117898 votes per state. As can be seen one weighting indicates (based on two states) that Bernie is winning and the other indicates that Hillary is leading.  

This is the Democratic Primary results from the most recent states.
This is the Democratic Primary results from the most recent states.Standing

It is important to note that this is only based on the most recent results where Bernie seems to have gained and be gaining momentum.  Another important takeaway is that even with this cherry picked data where Bernie is doing well none of his of the total delegate counts secure a nomination for either candidate (2383 needed to secure nomination). This indicates that based on recent performance if either candidate wish to secure the nomination without super-delegates then they will need to increase their ground game in the remaining states.

The trends of each candidate over time in the race for the democratic nomination.
The trends of each candidate over time in the race for the democratic nomination.

I decided to compare this data to the whole election season where each candidates performance was scaled against time. In this model which documents the momentum change overtime since the first state cast it’s votes then there has been a clear shift in the voters candidate preferences over the two month period.

The votes towards each candidate over time. Hillary has clearly had the momentum for a while but it seems to have stalled.
The votes towards each candidate over time. Hillary has clearly had the momentum for a while but it seems to have stalled.

Looking at the election long vote tally Hillary has been able to fairly consistently meet or beat Bernie’s total accumulated votes. This indicates that Hillary might have more voters behind her than Bernie. Another consideration is that Bernie did chip into her lead a little bit recently. If the Sanders campaign can push out a little more steam then they can probably chip into that lead even more. Will it be enough to win the nomination? We will all know in a few months.

Each candidates' pledged delegates count since the voting began.
Each candidates’ pledged delegates count since the voting began.

Finally, the last thing I examined was the cumulative pledged delegate counts. This graph mostly mirrors the vote count chart. It is worth noting that Bernie is having a bit more success at chipping away Hillary’s lead when the pledged delegates are the only consideration.

Overall many indicators lead to the conclusion that this race will be decided by super-delegates. If either campaign wants to secure the nomination before the convention then they will need to do better. I personally am optimistic about Bernie Sander’s prospects but in my opinion either candidate is better than a Trump presidency .