Friday, February 26, 2016

South Carolina (D) Primary Projection: Hillary in a Romp

We are back with our projection of the Democratic South Carolina primary, which is tomorrow, Saturday, February 27. 

This race is reasonably analogous to the Republicans’ last go-round in Nevada.  That is, like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has taken two out of the three initial contests.  Like Trump, she had a huge scare – for Trump, it was losing Iowa, for Clinton it was getting crushed in New Hampshire.  And like Trump in South Carolina, she recovered last week, in Nevada, with an important win.  For Trump, Nevada was validation of South Carolina, stamping him as the front runner on a seemingly inexorable pace to the GOP nomination.  South Carolina could function similarly for Hillary Clinton.

But unlike Trump in Nevada, there is little mystery here.  South Carolina has been plastered with polls and this is indeed a primary, for which the polls are more likely to be predictive than for a caucus.  And the facts are, through the last few months, from the squeaker Clinton win in Iowa through the trouncing at the hands of Sanders in New Hampshire, to the comeback win in Nevada, the South Carolina polls have been steady.  Buoyed by the overwhelming support of a large African-American community that is loyal to the Clintons, she has led Sanders convincingly for months, with no sign of that lead narrowing:

South Carolina (D)
Feb 1 - 13
Feb 14-24

Clinton has led all 33 polls in South Carolina since last May, all by at least 18 percentage points and most of the recent ones by 25-30, and she led handily even when Joe Biden was still included in the polls.

Every time I start a sentence with the phrase, “like Trump, Hillary…” I can feel the simultaneous groaning of millions of Clinton-ites.  None of them want to see Hillary equated with Donald Trump, in any way.  But the parallel is clear:  if Hillary wins South Carolina the way Trump won Nevada – that is, convincingly – she will have enormous momentum into other Clinton-friendly states on Super Tuesday, and could emerge on the morning of March 2nd virtually unstoppable.  Just like Donald Trump.


Our BTRTN prediction is that Hillary Clinton will win the South Carolina Democratic primary by 26 points.  Bernie Sanders will limp on trying to figure out what he might be able to do on March 1 and beyond to turn it around.  And, seeing the math that I am certain is already being floated uncomfortably around Sanders headquarters, finding no clear strategy to do so.

South Carolina (D)
BTRTN Prediction

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