Clinton v. Sanders: Some Key Numbers

Despite media narratives to the contrary, I do not see this as a truly competitive contest.

Hillary Clinton Bernie SandersDespite the razor-thin margin of victory for Clinton yesterday, and despite the fact that Sanders is polling well in New Hampshire, there are a number of reasons why I do not think this competition will remain competitive after March 1st (regardless of what they are saying at Sanders’ HQ or on cable news).

Three of those reasons are in the following paragraph (emphasis mine):

The former secretary of state has only a small advantage over Sanders with men (46 percent to 43 percent), but she boasts a significant lead with women (56 percent to 32 percent.) She also has a huge lead over Sanders with African Americans (63 percent to 20 percent) and Hispanics (54 percent to 33 percent).

I would note especially the substantial national edge Hillary has over Bernie with African Americans and Hispanics.  Guess what there are a lot of in Iowa and New Hampshire? (Yes, white folks).  Guess what ceases to be true when voting moves south and west? (I suspect the answer is obvious).  The calendar can be found here and the only clear win for Bernie on March 1 is Vermont.  I do not have enough solid data to say for sure that is the only contest he will win that night, but I will not be surprised in the least if that ends up being the case.

Simply put:  African Americans are a key Democratic demographic an Hillary has a 3:1 advantage over Bernie (and a almost a 2:1 with Hispanics).  Baring something dramatic, I see no route for Bernie to overcome that advantage.

If one does like the survey cited above because it uses an online sample, there is this from an MSNBC story:

A recent Fox News poll showed Clinton with 71 percent of the non-white vote nationally (it did not break out by race, but the majority of non-white Democratic voters are black), compared to 20 percent for Sanders. A December poll by YouGov of South Carolina Democrats found that Sanders and Clinton were effectively tied among whites, but Clinton was winning about 80 percent of the black vote, compared to about 20 percent for Sanders.

See also David Wasserman at the Cook Political Report:

In poll after poll, Sanders’s best group within the Democratic Party is liberal whites. Unfortunately for Sanders, Iowa and New Hampshire couldn’t be much further on the extreme end of the party’s demographic or ideological spectrum. According to our estimates, based on past exit polls and Census data, there is only one state where whites who self-identify as liberals make up a higher share of the Democratic primary electorate than Iowa and New Hampshire.

You guessed it: Vermont.

In fact, 98 percent  of pledged Democratic delegates will come from states with lower shares of liberal whites than Iowa and New Hampshire. Just 447 of 4,051 pledged Democratic delegates – 11 percent – are tied to results in states or districts with higher shares of college-educated whites than New Hampshire. Moreover, just 13 percent of pledged Democratic delegates will be awarded in caucus states like Iowa, which as 2008 proved, tend to bring out more liberal participants than primaries.

In other words, if Sanders prevails narrowly in Iowa or New Hampshire, his support among liberal whites and in college towns – essentially Portlandia – would be entirely consistent with a scenario in which he also gets clobbered by Clinton nationally.

And, as we now know, Sander’s went 50-50 with Clinton in very white Iowa and so the scenario that Wasserman notes above seems to be on track.

So, despite media narratives to the contrary (and even if Sanders wins NH next week), I do not see this as a truly competitive contest.  It is worth noting that he currently has a commanding lead in the RCP average for New Hampshire.  I wholly expect that to be the zenith of his 2016 bid.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    I do not see this as a truly competitive contest.

    Yup. But horse race touts gotta have a horse race. You wouldn’t expect them to report on policy or anything, would you?

  2. Avid sportman says:

    Good analysis, 538 pretty much came to the same conclusion here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bernie-sanders-needs-more-than-the-tie-he-got-in-iowa/

  3. Joe Gage says:

    @gVOR08:

    Bernie supporters are wasting their time, but not as much as those few people who were working on the O’Malley campaign. A dead person would have done better than him.

  4. Tyrell says:

    Sanders has some good ideas, but there seems to be too much influence there of Joe College on his campaign. To them, more taxes, government control, regulations, and laws seem to be the answer to everything. Add to that the influence of the socialist – Marxist philosophy that pervades many a college lecture hall. A philosophy that is critical of the capitalist, free enterprise system. This ignores the huge failures of communist systems through history. Judging from some of the people that were talking at the Iowa “caucus”, Joe College wants to push this philosophy on the American people. Sanders today pushed for the $15 minimum wage (but would not take effect for years). Think of it:a fast food worker making almost as much as a beginning teacher makes in our state. A consequence would be that the workers with low qualifications and education would lose their jobs as the fast food places would hire those with degrees, experience, and higher skills, such as management and culinary experience. So the people that he wants to help would be forced out of work. But Joe College is buying into these ideas, which actually would backfire. The Democrats need to make sure that this is not a repeat of ‘72 when radical extremists took over the campaign of Senator George McGovern.

  5. Mikey says:

    @Joe Gage:

    Bernie supporters are wasting their time

    I don’t agree with that at all. There’s nothing whatsoever good about a Clinton coronation, and Sanders is preventing one. Even if I didn’t agree with him as much as I do, I’d support him for that alone.

  6. Joe Gage says:

    @Mikey:

    He’s just delaying the inevitable. If the Dems wanted to scare Hilary, they would have gotten Elizabeth Warren to run. That being said, I don’t begrudge anyone’s right to support any of the candidates, but the realist in me says this race is over,

  7. Mikey says:

    @Joe Gage: I don’t think he has a realistic chance either, but sometimes winning’s not the point. Providing a voice from the actual left is important and Sanders is doing that. Getting young people interested and involved is important and Sanders is certainly doing that. Even if all sending him a contribution does is keep him talking a little longer, I still think it’s worth doing.

  8. Guarneri says:

    He’s toast. Always has been. Her competition is the FBI and whether Obama has any respect for the law.

  9. Joe Gage says:

    @Mikey:

    I understand the importance of getting young voters registered and educated, but by next January, most of these issues will be forgotten and it will back to business as usual. My pessimism is more about the true lack of say in government by the American people and this illusion of democracy we live in. The Great Plutocracy has arrived.

  10. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:

    Add to that the influence of the socialist – Marxist philosophy that pervades many a college lecture hall.

    When was the last time you were in a college lecture hall?

  11. An Interested Party says:

    Her competition is the FBI and whether Obama has any respect for the law.

    Yes of course, this is all the Hillary haters have to hang their hats on…it also sets up the meme that she will be illegitimate once she actually wins the general election…keep hoping folks…

  12. Tony W says:

    @Tyrell:

    Marxist philosophy that pervades many a college lecture hall. A philosophy that is critical of the capitalist, free enterprise system. This ignores the huge failures of communist systems through history.

    You do understand that Sanders’ Democratic Socialism is different than Soviet-style Communism – don’t you?

  13. Agnostic Way says:

    Just to be clear – I’m not saying I hope this happens – I think they’re all corrupt hacks – but the thinking is that pulling off an upset early on will help him in other states.

    That theory took a blow by him not winning in Iowa, but he might get a boost anyway since it seems the dominant narrative in the media is that it’s almost a win because of how close he got, vs how far behind he started. If he wins in NH, then he might get another boost, so depending on how close other states are…

    There is a potential path, but it got narrower when he lost, and would be pretty much closed if he doesn’t win in NH.

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Guarneri:

    Which federal law are you referring to? Be specific …

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Agnostic Way:

    the dominant narrative in the media is that it’s almost a win because of how close he got

    Of course it is. They’re in the business of attracting and retaining viewers. Acknowledging reality – that there is no realistic path for Sanders to 2,382; no realistic path that gets him even halfway to 2,832, and this nomination battle is essentially already over – does neither of those. It’s to their advantage to keep spinning this one as though Sanders isn’t already cooked and headed back to the Senate.

    If he wins in NH, then he might get another boost, so depending on how close other states are…

    He’s EXPECTED to win in NH, so winning there becomes a case of “he won because it’s home turf” and it results in little momentum. NH is also a delegate poor state. Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont are the three whitest, most liberal demographics in the Democratic primary universe. Sanders needed, and had some reason to expect that he would receive, a blowout last night.

    If the best that Sanders can pull in overwhelmingly lily white, liberal Iowa is essentially a statistical tie, he’s already dead.

    That much will become evidently clear on March 2nd. The takeaway talking point then will be Clinton more than likely topping 1,000 delegates. I give the BernieBots credit for their depth of passion, and their capacity for self-delusion, but they’re headed for heartbreak.

  16. Tyrell says:

    @Tony W: I have not heard that. I will look again at his proposals, some of which I am in favor of.
    Now it has come out that in the bizarre world of the caucus that one group flipped a coin to decide who to vote for. I guess roulette wheels and Ouija boards are also permissible.

  17. elizajane says:

    @Tyrell: Multiple groups flipped coins. To the hoards with Clinton Derangement Syndrome (which is a far more virulent strain than ODS) all the coins flipped for Clinton and this proves how corrupt she is. In reality (cf. Snopes) most of the flips went to Sanders and in the social media world, this proves how lucky he is.

  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Jeez, where do you live, Dittoheadoplis?

  19. Paul Hooson says:

    An absolutely correct analysis. You only had to listen to some African American political analysts to understand just how much traction Hillary has with African American voters, and how little traction Sanders has. White Iowa and New Hampshire sadly mislead Sanders supporters to believing that their candidate had a snow balls chance of winning the nomination. Sanders may have passion and honestly believes that wealth is the cause of all evil, but most democratic voters nationwide either reject these views or else support Hillary. On Super Tuesday, she is the odds on favorite to run the map on that day because of so many Southern state contests, with heavy African American support for Hillary.

  20. @Tyrell:

    Marxist philosophy that pervades many a college lecture hall. A philosophy that is critical of the capitalist, free enterprise system. This ignores the huge failures of communist systems through history.

    I must confess: that’s pretty funny.

    While I suppose such people can be found on some college campus somewhere, I can assure you it does not pervade much of anything.

  21. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I don’t know, man, when my daughter got her PhD and started teaching college, she came home for a visit and a big ball of Marxism fell out of her suitcase! It was terrible! Fortunately, I was able to beat it to death with my deluxe leather-bound copy of “Atlas Shrugged.” A weighty tome, that is.

  22. Surreal American says:

    @Mikey:

    Is one copy of Atlas Shrugged really sufficient enough to subdue 3 volumes of Das Kapital in the original German?

  23. gVOR08 says:

    @Surreal American: I don’t know, but character development is better in Das Kapital.

  24. Surreal American says:

    @gVOR08:

    I loved that part in Das Kapital where Johannes Galt delivers a 70 page speech on Surplus Value.

  25. Mikey says:

    @Surreal American: It’s not the size of the book in the fight, it’s the size of the inscrutable ponderous bullshit in the book.

  26. PJ says:

    I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged, is it any good, and does it involve orchs?

  27. An Interested Party says:

    It’s not the size of the book in the fight, it’s the size of the inscrutable ponderous bullshit in the book.

    Oh well if that is the case, Atlas Shrugged would win against all challengers…

  28. Matt says:

    @Grewgills: Maybe sometime in the 50s. I’m in college now and I have no fcking idea what he’s going on about. My classes tend to be dominated by conservative ideology.

  29. Joecu says:

    You are wrong Steven. They are competing and it is competitive.
    Bernie is going to change the minds of those women , Hispanics and Black and they will vote for him after they see what a bad choice Hillary would be.

  30. @Joecu: Time will. of course, tell. The odds of such a massive shift taking place are highly improbable, to put it mildly.

    Bernie will win in NH, but after that it is going to be downhill.

    Candidates who need massive, unprecedented changes in the voter behavior always lose.

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Joecu:

    Please see Janice for your magic beans and unicorn eggs. I also have a bridge I might be willing to sell.

    (Since you’re obviously self-deluding enough to believe in ANYthing, regardless of how far-fetched …)