Does Bernie rule in Oregon and Kentucky? The polls say otherwise

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The chattering classes latest take on the Democratic presidential race is that, while Hillary Clinton will surely clinch the nomination on June 7 in California and New Jersey, Bernie Sanders’ sweep of such interim contests as Indiana and West Virginia and his probable upcoming victories in Kentucky and Oregon on May 17 will leave her a badly wounded candidate against Donald Trump in the November contests.

Of course, not long ago these same infallible oracles assured us that neither Sanders nor Trump were serious candidates.   And already there are strong reasons to doubt their confident conclusions about Bernie’s “winning streak.”

For one thing, Bernie’s streak is already over! After he won in Indiana and West Virginia, Hillary won the Guam caucus May 7 and the Nebraska primary May 10.  Tiny Guam only netted her one delegate and Nebraska — which was purely advisory — awarded no delegates at all.   But if the “momentum” so beloved by the pundits matters, Hillary’s 59-40 win in the Cornhusker primary is a marked reversal over Bernie’s 57-43 edge in that state’s caucuses, with their much smaller voter turnout.

But assuredly, sayeth the conventional wisdom, Bernie will regain his balance with a thumping victory in Kentucky, where so many out of work coal miners are expected to take out their woes on Hillary — as West Virginia miners already have.   That may yet happen but the only recent survey, a Public Policy Polling effort, has Hillary ahead  by five points, 43-38.

Five points isn’t much of a bulwark against Bernie’s patented tactic of sweeping into a state, holding large rallies to fire up voters, then leading a surge of independent voters to an upset victory.   But as we have noted in the past, that tactic only works in an open primary, where those fired up Independents can vote for him.  Alas for Bernie, Kentucky is a closed primary — and he has never beaten her in such a contest.   West Virginia was an open primary where Bernie’s 15 point final margin stemmed solely from his yuuge popularity among Independents.  Hillary beat Bernie by 4 points among Democrats living in “almost Heaven.”

These facts are no surprise to a now-aroused  Team Hillary, which has already dispatched the “Big Dawg” to campaign for her in Kentucky and which is also belatedly increasing its spending.  As much as it would love to pivot wholly against Donald Trump, Hillary’s  campaign seems resigned to fighting a two-front war at least until California and New Jersey settle things on June 7. None of this means Bernie can’t win in Kentucky but it does mean he can’t catch Hillary napping there, as he did in Indiana where she spent nothing on advertising to counter $1.6 million in Sanders’ ads.

But even if Hillary does hold on in Kentucky, Bernie will pummel her in mostly white and traditionally liberal Oregon, the pundits purr.   It could happen.  But once again the chattering class is ignoring both the polling and the format of the contest — another closed primary.   The most recent survey puts Hillary up by 15 points, 48-33.

A 15 point lead in a closed primary looks formidable.  But the primary might not be as closed as it looks because  there is a major wild card in those calculations — newly minted Democrats. Between January and April, 140,000 Oregon voters are said to have changed their party affiliations – with an estimated 90,000 having switching to the Democratic Party.  If those newbies lean heavily to Bernie and vote in higher than expected numbers, Bernie might yet overcome the odds.  But again, if he wins Oregon, he’ll have to fight for it.  Hillary Clinton seems determined not to give him any more free passes in this nomination fight.

Even if Hillary gets the majority of Kentucky’s 61 delegates and Oregon’s 73, she’ll still need delegates from California and New Jersey to lock up the nomination — though a trifling ten percent share of those two states’ delegate bounty would put her over the top.  Her all-but-certain victory in the final contest, the June 14 District of Columbia primary, would be a delicious frosting on another of those chocolate cakes African American voters love to give her.

But Sanders’ fund-raising fell off precipitously after he lost New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut,  Delaware and Maryland.  His once overflowing money machine has since been forced to lay off staff and cut back on advertising in ultra-expensive California.  And if Hillary does defy the pundits by winning both Kentucky and Oregon, her triumphs will be a hard rain that could  put out the Berne even before its first flames reach the Golden State.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    It may be slowly dawning on Bernie that he won't get the nomination. Saw an item on Yahoo! News earlier this week where he went hard after Trump with nary a mention of HRC. 

    • mamajama55 says:

      Sorry, CHB, but Bernie's been going hard after Trump since both of them started campaigning. I'll put up links if you like, but it's well known.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

  2. mamajama55 says:

    V,  the new Democrats in Oregon are voting for Sanders. Hillary just doesn't inspire that level of enthusiasm. It might still be close, but I predict Sanders takes Oregon, Kentucky is a toss-up.

    • Voyageur says:

      for what its worth, another company took that 15 point lead, ran it through a different set of demographic assumptions, and found hillary still winning but by only 50,5 to 49.5.  It's a reasonable guess that most, though far from all, of those 90,000 new Ds lean Bernie.   But the yuuge variable is how many younger voters vote.   If they vote in the same percentage as older voters, that yields the 50.5 hillary win discussed above.   Traditionally, older voters are far more likely to actually vote, which means Hillary wins by that 15 points.   If you get that big young turnout, I expect a Bernie win, though it may be close.

      I tend to think the Fair Hillary's odds are better in Kentucky, based on it being a true closed primary and the fact that she actually won among D's in West Virginia.  But again you saw how lazy the msnbc crowd is because those bozos are predicting Bernie routs in both based on a dumbass "momentum" notion that ignores polls, the closed primary issue and this real surge in new voters, who are more likely to follow independent patterns than traditional Ds,   Hey, why bother with hours of research when you can just blow an opinion out of your butt and tell Chris Mathews "something he doesn't know."

       

      Incidentally, a Kentucky poll found one in five voters saying a woman's not qualified to be commander in chief.  That included 10 percent of women responding, so the male tally must have been 30 percent.  Bad for Hillary?  Well, the same poll found more than half saying an atheist wasn't qualified to be president.    I consider Bernie closer to agnostic than atheist but voters may not know the difference.   Likewise, half said a socialist was't qualified to be president.   Not sure how many voters know Bernie is an agnostic but surely theyallknow he's socialist, who it must be older democrats and Republicans vetoing a socialist. 

      Just remember,my friend, their votes dancel ours.  Ain't democracy a kick?

    • Voyageur says:

      Election eve prediction.   Hillary takes Kentucky by four points.  Bill worked it for her and she waded in herself this weekend and Monday.  Team Clinton wouldn't make that effort without good information that it will t\pay off.

      Oregon, that poll withstanding, I give to Bernie in another fairly close contest, say 5 points.  Like you, I am impressive by the large numbers of newly registered Ds.   I think his solid ground game will give Brnie his first victory in a closed primary.

      Cheers, Amiga.

  3. Voyageur says:

    MJ, remember that note you sent me about bernistas trying to register dems in new york before that Oct. 3 deadline?  Obviously, that was a near impossible task on behalf of a guy few had heard of pre-Iowa.  But those 90,000 new Ds in Oregon registered between January and April.  That timeline suggests you were right that it was a Bernie surge based on his Iowa/New Hampshire publicity backed by a good ground game.  

  4. FrankUnderwood says:

    Hillary’s 59-40 win in the Cornhusker primary is a marked reversal over Bernie’s 57-43 edge in that state’s caucuses, with their much smaller voter turnout

    No doubt the result of voter suppression in Nebraska.

  5. Voyageur says:

    I have seen several references onTV about the Puerto Rico Democratic "primary" on June 5.  It is actually a caucus, open to Democrats and unaffiliated, but not republicans. There are 60 delegates at stake.

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