Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now almost certainly the major-party candidates for president.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both exceeded expectations in the April 26 Acela primaries. Trump couldn’t have had a better night, beating his polls in almost every state and picking up an extra 12 delegates by triggering winner-take-all rules. He also did extremely well, as Huffington Post points out, in getting his voters to pick his slate of delegates. Assuming that slate is loyal, we now think Donald Trump will reach 1,237 delegates on the first ballot.
Indiana is the the #NeverTrump crowd’s last hope. If Trump wins that state, even by a few points, Cruz and Kasich would need miracle numbers in California to block Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates. Polls show him ahead, but our model suggests he might still be vulnerable there. However, our model failed to account for Trump beating his polling numbers – sometimes significantly – in the last six contests…something he had not done thus far.
On the Democratic side (and, insert GIF of us tooting our own horn here), our projections were pretty right on (nailing Pennsylvania) with the exception of Maryland, where Clinton had her most unexpected showing. The polls missed her margin by nearly 18 points in the spread, netting her 20 “extra” delegates.
We now think Sanders needs 64.5% of the delegates, on average, in the remaining states. That number will likely increase to nearly 70% by June 6. He is likely to get that in Oregon, and maybe even Washington, D.C., but our model has him losing the June 7 primary in California 245-230. The math is grim for Sanders, but with a big war chest, there’s no reason for him to withdraw.
Where he and his supporters can hold on to hope, though, is that Clinton is extremely unlikely to hit the 2,383 convention majority with bound delegates alone. We project she’ll enter the convention with 2,176 elected delegates to Sanders’ 1,875, meaning he won’t ever be mathematically eliminated until the 712 superdelegates vote on the first ballot. That said, Clinton’s 470-25 lead in that unofficial count is unlikely to dwindle, absent a major political shock.