There was news this week: a possible Cruz-Kasich coordination, the possibility Sanders would shift after today’s primaries, etc. None affected the delegate math, hence the quiet week here. After tonight’s results, we’ll put in state-by-state benchmarks into the model to give a better preview of where we expect the races to be at each state. Tonight looks fairly straightforward on the Republican side, with the possibility for some surprises on the Democratic side.
Trump should win each of the states up for grabs, approaching 50 percent of the vote in each of them. Wildcards will be how individual high-income CDs in Connecticut vote, but overall we expect 90 of the 117 delegates up for grab tonight.
This performance keeps Trump close to hitting the magic 1,237 mark. Pennsylvania has 54 unbound delegates up for grabs, and a strong showing there can help Trump make the case that they should go his way, keeping him just on track to win on the first ballot. Much depends on Indiana, and, of course, California.
After the strong showing in New York, the narrative has been that Clinton would effectively finish Sanders off during the Acela primaries. Don’t count on it. Our model has her losing Rhode Island, and Delaware and Connecticut are too close to call.
While her more-comfortable leads in the more-important Maryland and Pennsylvania races should give her around a 30-delegate pickup on the night (Clinton should win around 208 to Sanders’ 177), the media narrative has been that she will sweep. Failure to do so may sustain the current competitive narrative.
At the end of the night, we expect Clinton to have 1,660 pledged delegates to Sanders’ 1,376. There are still 1,016 delegates at stake following tonight, but Sanders would need nearly 64% of them to tie Clinton before the convention. That’s an increase from the 60% he needs before these primaries, and we don’t expect him to hit that mark in any of the five contests.