# The First Four Primaries: Democratic Nomination 2020

Updated on January 6, 2020

## The 15% rule - updated September 29, 2019

Readers will quickly see how important the 15% rule may prove to be. Regardless of whether there are 6 or 8 or 10 serious Democratic candidates come February 2020, only candidates who earn 15% at the district level can win delegates there and only candidates winning 15% of the total statewide vote can win delegates for that portion of the allotment. Where caucuses are used, the idea applies although the process is different than a primary. In a state where districts are not the same as congressional districts, the same rule applies regardless of how a district is defined.

One mathematical question is how likely is it in a given state that enough variation would exist district to district, that it would be possible for a candidate to win delegates in a particular district, but not make the 15% threshold statewide. This analyst has determined that the larger the state in terms of population, the more likely that outcome could occur.

The Democratic party rule states that if no candidate reaches 15%, then the candidates earning one-half of the top candidate would be eligible to earn candidates. So if the top candidate receives 14%, then any candidate over 7% would be eligible. Based on where we stand currently, the more likely scenario however is that if only one candidate earns 15% - in that case that candidate would earn all delegates for that district or state.

For the author's assessment of the national picture, see this article on where the 2020 race to the nomination stands.

## Iowa Caucus - February 3, 2020

The Iowa precinct caucuses are scheduled for Monday February 3, 2020. The process has changed as it now involves virtual voting beginning on Wednesday January 29, as well as the traditional process on February 3. The number of delegates selected through a series of steps is 41. In addition, 8 officials will be designated as unpledged delegates (so 49 delegates in all). Candidates receiving less than 15% support in the first vote at the precinct level are considered not viable and would not be allocated any state delegates from that precinct.

For a broader look at the entire nomination process, readers can view the author's article at https://hubpages.com/politics/US-Election

## Iowa Caucus Projections (Updated January 6, 2020)

Iowa Rank
Median Poll
Rank Median Poll
Rank Non-Polling
Polling Momentum
Biden
1
23.0%
1.5
1
+4.0%
Sanders
2
22.0%
3
2
+1.5%
Buttigieg
3
23.0%
1.5
4
+2.0%
Warren
4
16.0%
4
3
+1.0%
Klobuchar
5
7.0%
5
5
0.0%

Projected results based on two factors: (a) median of three most recent unique polls collected through January 3 and (b) non-polling data updated January 6. Only candidates qualified for January debate are listed.

## Analysis of Iowa Projections (Updated January 6, 2020)

Please note that only candidates who have qualified for the January debate are included in the prior table.

The Iowa caucus is the first to occur in the nation and as such will be viewed as critically important. We will quickly see which candidates are more viable than others. The result could significantly affect the race.

The last three polls are YouGov / CBS (1-3), Civiqs / Iowa State University (12-16), and Emerson (12-10).

Based on the median poll, Biden and Buttigieg are tied, one point ahead of Sanders and seven points clear of Warren. The caveat here is that few polls have been conducted in Iowa. When non-polling factors are used to balance the analysis, Biden is projected 1st, Sanders 2nd, Buttigieg 3rd and Warren 4th.

Polling momentum in Iowa is based on the difference between the average of the most recent poll and the median of the prior two polls. Biden has the strongest polling momentum at +4.0%.

The above chart will be updated when new polling data is available.

## New Hampshire Primary - February 11, 2020

The New Hampshire Primary is scheduled for Tuesday February 12, 2020. The number of pledged delegates determined is 24. In each of two congressional districts, 8 delegates will be awarded according to the primary vote and an additional 8 delegates will be determined by the statewide vote. In addition, 9 officials will be designated as unpledged delegates, so 33 in all. A minimum of 15% support in the primary in one of the two congressional districts or at the statewide level is required to earn delegates.

Click here for the author's description of where the entire race stands.

## New Hampshire Primary Projections (Updated January 6, 2020)

Candidate
New Hampshire Rank
Median Poll
Rank Median Poll
Rank Non-Polling
Polling Momentum
Sanders
1
26.0%
1
2
+6.5%
Biden
2
17.0%
3
1
+9.5%
Buttigieg
3
18.0%
2
4
-7.0%
Warren
4
14.0%
4
3
+5.0%
Klobuchar
6
3.0%
5
5
+4.5%

Projected results based on two factors: (a) median of three most recent polls collected through January 3 and (b) non-polling data effective January 6.

## Analysis of New Hampshire Projections (Updated January 6, 2020)

After moving resources from New Hampshire to Iowa, Harris has withdrawn from the race to the nomination. In addition, Castro has also withdrawn. Neither Yang, Booker, Steyer nor Gabbard have qualified for the January debate which is why they are not listed in the table above. Bloomberg does not accept individual donations and as such he cannot qualify for a debate, so he is not listed.

The polls being used currently are as follows: YouGov / CBS (1-3), WBUR / MassInc (12-8), and Emerson / WHDH (11-26).

Based on the median of the last five polls, as well as this author's overall analysis which includes non-polling data, this race in New Hampshire appears close and quite volatile. The paucity of polling makes a prediction open to substantial error.

In New Hampshire, there are only two congressional districts. As such, the probability any candidate would earn delegates at a district level and not at the state level is less than more populated states, and as such the 15% threshold is critical in N.H.

Sanders reportedly has shaken up his leadership staff in New Hampshire. This seems to suggest that Sanders is confirming that he needs to win in New Hampshire, and that nothing else is acceptable.

The above chart will be updated when new polling or non-polling data is available.

## Nevada Caucus - February 22, 2020

The Nevada viability precinct caucuses are scheduled for Saturday February 22. Early voting occurs February 15-18 and virtual caucuses take place on February 16 and 17. The number of delegates selected as pledged is 36. Of these 36 delegates, 23 will be determined at the congressional district level (there are four CD's) and the additional 13 delegates will be selected at the state convention on May 30. There are an additional 12 delegates who will not be pledged on the first ballot, so 48 in all. There is a 15% threshold candidates must meet in order to be declared viable.

For a broader look at the entire nomination process, readers can view the author's article at https://hubpages.com/politics/US-Election

## Nevada Caucus Projections - Updated November 19, 2019

Candidate
Median Poll
Rank Median Poll
Rank Non-Polling
Polling Momentum
Biden
1
29.5%
1
2
-1.0%
Warren
2
20.0%
2
1
-1.0%
Sanders
3
19.0%
3
4
+1.5%
Buttigieg
4
7.5%
4
3
+2.5%
Yang
5
3.0%
7
5
-2.0%
Harris
6
4.0%
5
8
0.0%
Klobuchar
7
2.0%
8
6
0.0%
Steyer
8
3.5%
6
10
0.0%
Gabbard
9
1.0%
10
7
0.0%
Booker
10
1.0%
10
9
0.5%

Projected results based on two factors: (a) median of four most recent polls collected through November 13 and (b) non-polling data effective November 19.

## Analysis of Nevada Caucus Projections - Updated November 19, 2019

The most recent four polls in Nevada are You Gov (11-13), Fox (11-13), Emerson (11-3) and Mellman / The Nevada Independent (11-2).

Biden, Warren and Sanders are projected to share delegates from the Nevada caucus. One significant question is whether any other candidate, such as Buttigieg, is able to pick up enough steam to earn some delegates here. A second question which will become the most significant as this process works through March and April is whether any candidate can earn 50% of the delegate vote on the 1st ballot at the national convention. That answer will depend on the implementation of the 15% rule.

Polling momentum is calculated in Nevada by taking the average of the two most two polls and subtracting the average of the prior two polls. Using that definition, Buttigieg has the most momentum at +2.5% and Yang the least at -2.0%.

## South Carolina Primary - February 29, 2020

South Carolina holds the Democratic primary on Saturday February 29. 54 delegates out of 63 in total will be determined as pledged based on the primary results. Out of the 54 pledged delegates, 35 are determined according to the vote totals in each of seven congressional districts and the additional 19 delegates are determined based on the total state vote. There is a 15% minimum rule which applies to both the congressional districts and the state.

For a broader look at the entire nomination process, readers can view the author's article at https:hubpages.com/politics/US-Election

## South Carolina Primary Projections - December 13, 2019

Candidate
South Carolina Rank
Median Poll
Rank Median Poll
Rank Non-Polling
Polling Momentum
Biden
1
34.5%
1
1
-1.5%
Sanders
2
12.0%
2
4
+6.0%
Warren
3
11.5%
3
3
+3.0%
Buttigieg
4
7.5%
4
2
+5.0%
Yang
5
2.5%
6
5
0.0%
Steyer
6
6.0%
5
7
-0.5%
Klobuchar
7
1.5%
7
6
+1.0%

Projected results based on two factors: (a) median of four most recent unique polls collected through December 11 and (b) non-polling data effective December 13, 2019. Only candidates qualified for the December debate are listed.

## Analysis of South Carolina Primary Projections - Updated December 13, 2019

The four polls conducted in the last month were Change Research / Post and Courier (12-11), YouGov/Fairvote (12-2), Quinnipiac (11-17) and University of North Florida (11-13). Biden remains far ahead of Sanders and Warren. Overall, Buttigieg is ranked 4th, Yang 5th, Steyer 6th and Klobuchar 7th. The gap between Sanders and Warren is negligible. For such an important state, South Carolina is relatively lightly polled, so other than the large gap between Biden and everyone else, it is difficult to make any additional definitive statement, other than Klobuchar is far back on the polls.

Harris has withdrawn and Bloomberg has entered the race. Since Bloomberg has not qualified for the December debate, his name does not appear on the chart above. However, to date in South Carolina, he is polling in the low single digits.

Yang has qualified for the December debate, but Booker and Gabbard, both present in the November debate missed the mark (Gabbard by one poll; Booker without any qualifying polls at all). That leaves seven candidates' names on the South Carolina chart for now.

Polling momentum, defined as the difference between the most recent poll and the median of the prior two polls, shows that Sanders has the greatest momentum at +6.0% and Biden has the least momentum at -1.5%.

South Carolina is scheduled on February 29, just three days before 15 primaries and caucuses on Super-Tuesday. Candidates will have to make "game-time" decisions as to how much time to spend in South Carolina versus any of the Super-Tuesday states. If Biden appears to be the runaway winner in South Carolina, we may see candidates given substantially less time to South Carolina, compared to primaries that take place in March. The amount of time that say Warren and Sanders spend in South Carolina may provide a sense of what their internal polling is telling them.

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