Sanders exceeded our pre-primary delegate estimate, picking up 48 instead of the 47 we projected to net a total of 10 delegates. Cruz also exceeded expectations, hauling in 36 delegates instead of the 30 we projected. The error there was all Kasich underperforming; our estimate showed him performing stronger in the 2nd and 3rd Congressional districts, where it look like he will have actually come in third.
The results don’t alter our convention projections much, which point to a likely contested convention for the Republicans. On the Democratic side, it remains unlikely that Sanders will catch Clinton in pledged delegates, but it does look like superdelegates will have to get the winning candidate over the nomination threshold:
Sanders will likely do well in the small, western caucus state of Wyoming this weekend, but with only 14 delegates in play (and notable differences between the electorate in Wyoming and New York), it’s hard to see that contest changing the race considerably.
Instead, all eyes turn to New York. On the Democratic side, our model projects a 10-point Clinton victory to net 23 delegates (winning 135 to Sanders’ 112). State-level polls from Maryland and Pennsylvania also show her leading in those big April 26 states where we project her to pick up another 28 delegates. Those two weeks would erase Sanders’ impressive rally over the past few weeks. With Sanders’ big Wisconsin win and the age of the data in the upcoming states, it’s easy to see those numbers changing – and with them the completion of the race. New York is, in essence, Sanders’ last shot to change the race.
On the Republican side, our baseline projection has Trump, who’s polling at 51.4%, picking up all 95 delegates. New York awards 81 of its delegates at the Congressional district level, and the remaining for the statewide winner. In 2014, 14 of the 27 Congressional districts elected a Democrat to the House of Representatives by more than a 10-point margin. It’s difficult to see those districts giving over half of their vote to Trump to trigger the winner-take-all rules there, so it’s likely that Cruz (or Kasich, about whom we’ll have to write a more-speculative column) chip into the 95-delegate haul. Our most-generous projection predicts Trump getting 1,192 of the 1,237 delegates he needs before the convention, with 122 delegates unbound on the first ballot. A 44-delegate margin may put him in striking distance, but losing delegates on some blue districts in New York (and, in June, in California) could put him just out of reach.