Election analysis for tonight’s primaries

Kevin Luhrs

The polls are open in Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Democrats Abroad, North Dakota, and Washington. This race is looking bleak for Bernie Sanders after a rough Super Tuesday in which he found himself behind in the delegate count to the former Vice President Joe Biden. While he did win the night’s biggest prize, California, he found himself being swept in the South and upset in Minnesota and Massachusetts. 

Tonight could possibly be the Coup de grâce for Sanders’ campaign if his firewall in Michigan does not hold. Michigan is the main prize tonight with 125 delegates. In 2016, Sanders won the state. In this election, however, Joe Biden leads by 15 points in a new Monmouth University poll released Monday — something we all need to keep in mind is that in 2016, Clinton also led in the polls against Sanders in Michigan — yet he still pulled off an upset. He managed to do so by turning out White working class voters and Union households which gave him the advantage, allowing him to win the primary by one percentage point. If Joe Biden’s campaign wants to win Michigan, he needs to drive up Black voter turnout and peel away some of the advantage Sanders has with White working class voters like he did on Super Tuesday. If he manages to do that, I’m very confident that Biden will win the state of Michigan. However, with the White working class voters being wildcards, I’ll classify this one as a toss-up.

Mississippi is an uphill battle for Senator Sanders, and is a testament to his inability to connect with Black voters who are the main electorate in Mississippi tonight. According to exit polls, on Super Tuesday Black voters broke for Biden by 41 points. For those whose top issue was race relations, an issue still fresh in the minds of the residents of Mississippi, they broke for Biden by 26 points. I can not possibly see Sanders winning Mississippi. This is a certainty for Biden.

Washington is likely to be competitive and offers up the second-biggest prize of the night. If Biden over-performs in Michigan, Sanders will need to run up the score among voters in Washington if he hopes to remain competitive. According to FiveThirtyEight, a polling company that runs simulations of the primaries, Sanders has a 2 in 5 chance of winning the most votes. This does not instill confidence in me that Sanders could win enough delegates in this state to offset a Biden win in Michigan. However, I will classify Washington as a tossup. My reasoning being that Washington is a very liberal state, and Sanders polls highly among those voters.

Missouri, North Dakota, and Idaho look very good for Biden. FiveThirtyEight has the odds of Biden winning these states at 99%, 93%, and 81% respectively. I call all of these for Biden.

Owing to his landslide win with Democrats Abroad in 2016, I’m going to break from FiveThirtyEight’s simulations for Democrats Abroad and hand it over to Sanders. FiveThirtyEight has Biden winning at 65%, but I’m just going to have to disagree.

To wrap up — If Sanders wants to stay in this race, he’ll need to over-perform in states such as Washington and Michigan and have a large turnout of Youth voters, which he did not get on Super Tuesday. If he does not have those variables in his favor, we might as well call the night for Biden. FiveThirtyEight’s forecast has the odds of Biden winning the nomination at 99 in 100. Sanders supporters hope to prove them wrong, 

My calls for the night are:





North Dakota


Democrats Abroad




For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].