Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Numbers Time: Just the Math, Ma'am

Bernie's big win in West Virginia still doesn't change much. As per usual, we'll get to that, but first let's talk about California. The basic concept of Bernie's chances to win come from the idea that despite big losses and middling wins, Bernie can win if he has a blow out in California. While yes, that is technically right, let's explore that.

In 2008, Hillary won California with 2.6 million votes, to Obama's 2.1 million votes. She won by about 500,000 votes. To put that into context, let's compare it to the largest margins of this election. Hillary won Texas by 440,000 votes and netted 72 delegates. She won Florida by 540,000 and netted 68 delegates. She won Georgia by 330,000 votes and netted 44 delegates. Unfortunately, there is no analogous data on Bernie's side. His two biggest wins were in caucus states, and the numbers don't translate. So we have to define, based on available data, a landslide that actually seems within the realm of possibility caps around 600,000. In California, a 600,000 vote lead is only 56.3% of the vote.

So let's go by percentage. The largest delegate win so far is Texas, with a win of 65.2%. In California, that's a 1.5 million vote lead. Again, Hillary only won California with 500,000. We'll swing back to this.

Bernie currently has a +5 lead on Hillary in West Virginia, so let's say the last two delegates to be allocated will go to him, giving him a best case +7. He also lost Guam, so he's down by, best case, 276. (those Washington delegates officially declared this week were already factored into my math before I even started). That's 276, in 11 races. Let's go crazy and do California first.

The reasonable yet overly optimistic line of a landslide being max 600,000 votes or 56.3%, that's +60 delegates. Let's go even crazier and say it is somehow possible for Bernie to win California by a million votes. That's 60.4% of the vote, or +99 delegates. Let me be clear, Hillary's biggest win so far is half a million, and Bernie's biggest win so far is considerably less. Working under the assumption Bernie can win California by a million votes is a huge gift to Bernie. So that's 177 in 10 races, or 17.7 per race.

That's still impossible in the bottom 6 races. Five of those six, I'm going to push them to their max, but seriously, Hillary is going to win DC by a huge margin. Even tie is by far the nicest I can be to Bernie, especially since I just gave him a million votes in California.

Virgin Islds.7571.4%
North Dakota181477.8%
South Dakota201680%
New Mexico342880.9%

Even giving Bernie insane leads in these races, Bernie comes out with +72, when he needed +107. That means in the last four races, he needs to average +26.25. Mind you, Bernie has only done that once before, and that was in a caucus.

Puerto Rico604472.5%
New Jersey1267760.7%

To win, Bernie needs to blow out every remaining contest. That means he needs to win in New Mexico, and New Jersey, and Puerto Rico, where she is favored, and he needs to win them by hefty, nearly impossible margins. In primaries, Bernie has only topped 60% twice, in Vermont and New Hampshire. His other huge wins were caucuses. Let's pull this a bit down to reality and say Bernie has a ceiling of 60%. That's not nothing. He still gets a million more votes in California, he gets to win every remaining contest, and I'll throw in DC for good measure.

Virgin Islds.7+160%
North Dakota18+460%
South Dakota20+460%
New Mexico34+760%
Puerto Rico60+1260%
New Jersey126+2560%

If Bernie wins every remaining contest by a reasonable landslide, he is still 93 delegates under Hillary. As I've said, I think Bernie could reasonably hit +27 in Oregon. And maybe he'll top 60% in a few of these, but even then, that's maybe another 40-50 delegates, absolute max. He's still well short of winning. That means he would need 404 Superdelegates to tie. That means he would need to turn 360 of them before the convention, and even if Superdelegates were allocated fairly, he'd still need to turn an additional 150. Someone, please, in the comments, explain to me the math where Bernie has a chance to win.

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