Who Will Win Tuesday’s Contests? Six Views Point to Clinton Clinching

Statistical models, betting markets, and the internet weigh in on six nominating contests, including California.

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Hillary Clinton supporter Casey Johnson wears a pin on her vest in support of the Democratic presidential candidate during a campaign rally on June 5, 2016, in Sacramento, California.

Photographer: GABRIELLE LURIE/AFP/Getty Images

The Republicans have their presumptive presidential nominee in Donald Trump. On Tuesday, the Democrats are all but certain to get theirs in Hillary Clinton. It would mark the first time a woman has led the presidential ticket for a major U.S. political party. 

California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota hold Democratic contests on Tuesday, the final states in what has been a chaotic primary cycle (Washington, D.C., holds its Democratic primary on June 14).

With the Associated Press saying early Monday that Clinton needs fewer than 30 delegates to reach the 2,383 (pledged and superdelegates combined) needed to clinch the nomination and nearly 700 pledged delegates at stake, Clinton is seems almost guaranteed to become her party’s presumptive standard-bearer.

Bernie Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, says he will narrow the pledged-delegate cap with Clinton on Tuesday, and beyond that will attempt the difficult task of convincing large numbers of superdelegates, who can vote for whomever they like at the convention, to switch allegiances to him from Clinton.

Sanders has also taken issue with media outlets, or the Clinton campaign, declaring the race over before the party convention in July. “In terms of delegate math I think there is some confusion in the media,” Sanders said on Saturday. 

Still, the chances are very high that Clinton will be declared the presumptive nominee on Tuesday evening after results are tallied in New Jersey. Some 126 pledged delegates will be divided proportionally in the Garden State between Clinton and Sanders; even a tied vote would give Clinton 63 delegates.

Here is how six models see it playing out.

PredictWise

The research project led by David Rothschild, an economist at Microsoft Research in New York City, aggregates betting-market data and says it has successfully predicted the winner in 70 of 82 state nominating contests it has covered so far this year. As of Monday morning, PredictWise gave Clinton a 74-percent chance of winning California and more than an 80-percent chance of winning New Jersey and New Mexico. 

Sanders is predicted to win in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Trump has a greater than 98-percent chance of winning Tuesday’s five Republican contests—similar to those odds or shares given to him by other models. (North Dakota’s Republican delegates can vote for whomever they like, but 16 of the 28 are pledged to Trump following the state’s April 3 Republican convention vote, according to the Associated Press.)

RealClearPolitics

The poll aggregating site has only produced an average for California and New Jersey. As of Monday, it said Clinton would win California with just shy of 48 percent of the vote—still sufficient to clinch the nomination even if she were to have no votes cast for her anywhere else, as long as most of the superdelegates stick with her through the convention. Sanders is forecast to receive nearly 46 percent.

Since May 24, when Clinton held a nearly 10-percentage-point lead, support for Sanders has surged in California. A loss in the nation’s most populous state could embarrass Clinton, and a blowout victory there for Sanders would allow him to gain on Clinton in pledged delegates. That in turn could help him convince superdelegates to switch on the assumption that his campaign has the momentum. That would be a controversial move given Clinton's wide lead in the popular vote so far. Still, to stop the front-runner from getting enough delegates to secure the nomination at least presumptively, the scale of a Sanders victory would have to be nearly unprecedented in the cycle in both California and other states.

In New Jersey, Clinton is expected to win 57.5 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 37 percent.

Bing

With a nearly 83-percent accuracy rating for contests so far this cycle, Bing predicted that Clinton will win New Jersey with more than 60 percent of the vote, more than enough to make her the presumptive nominee early in the night. It also predicted Clinton would win California with around 53 percent of the vote and New Mexico with more than 58 percent. Sanders is again expected to take Montana and the Dakotas.

The “machine-learned predictive model” that the Microsoft search engine created parses data from polls, prediction markets, search-engine queries, and social-media posts.

FiveThirtyEight

As of Monday, FiveThirtyEight, which is run by former New York Times stats guru Nate Silver, gave Clinton a greater than 99-percent chance of winning New Jersey, and projected a vote share of more than 60 percent.

The site gives Clinton a greater-than-86-percent chance of winning California and expects a vote share of at least 51 percent.

The site uses two models, one that averages polls and one that attempts to combine the effect of endorsements with the polls. Both suggest the same outcome here, however.

It has not modeled any other states voting Tuesday.

Political Insiders

Elected officials’ endorsements have historically been among the best available indicators of success in a party primary, although for the 2016 race, particularly on the Republican side, that paradigm has been challenged. The endorsement ledger in California heavily favors Clinton, who has the public backing of 38 of California's 41-member Democratic congressional delegation (with the notable exception of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has endorsed neither candidate). Clinton even got the backing of California Governor Jerry Brown; the nod by a politician with a history of tension with the Clintons was viewed as a signal to Democrats that it was time to unify. She has a similarly strong grasp on the New Jersey and New Mexico congressional delegations. Montana’s governor and sole Democratic senator have not endorsed. 

Ballotcraft

This fantasy politics game co-founded by two Stanford grads has thousands of players who, using fake money, buy “shares” in candidates. As of Monday, the site gives Clinton a 55-percent chance of winning California, down from nearly 65 percent on Sunday, and a more than 78-percent chance of taking New Jersey. She’s also projected to win New Mexico with Sanders winning in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The site doesn't predict vote share, but if that outlook holds true, it would ensure Clinton’s ascension to the nomination with quite a few delegates in reserve. 

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