The Pulse: Bernie or bust?

William JordanUS Elections Editor
March 30, 2016, 6:51 AM GMT+0

Hello, I'm Will Jordan and welcome to The Pulse.

With just under a week until the next big vote (Wisconsin on April 5), a moment to take stock.

  1. Where do things stand?

    The past week was arguably the best of Bernie Sanders’s campaign so far. Clinton won big in Arizona, but Sanders notched landslide victories in 5 Western states – Idaho, Utah, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska – trimming Clinton’s delegate lead to around 230 (excluding superdelegates).

    There’s been less action on the Republican side. Trump managed to extend his lead over Cruz by winning Arizona, a winner-take-all state worth 58 delegates, despite a landslide win for Cruz in Utah, granting him all of the state’s 40 delegates. Trump now leads Cruz by 273 delegates, and Kasich by 593.

  2. Does Bernie still have a chance?

    First, the good news for Bernie’s supporters. After March 15 he needed around 58% of the remaining delegates. Since then he’s won around 66%. Polls in Wisconsin (April 5) show a close race but with the advantage to Sanders, and other states left on the calendar – Wyoming, West Virginia, Oregon – look similar to those he just won with landslide margins.

    Now the bad. Even with his big Western wins he’s taken just 43% of pledged delegates so far, and needs 56% of those that remain. Many of Sanders’s biggest wins are in states with caucuses rather than primaries, smaller African American populations, and rules that allow non-Democrats to vote. Wyoming is the only state left with a caucus and New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland are all closed primaries with larger African American populations. These factors could prove irrelevant for the remaining contests, but available polling suggests Sanders has a lot of ground to make up.

  3. Bernie or Bust?

    Some Bernie Sanders supporters have expressed doubt about supporting Clinton as the nominee, even against Donald Trump. YouGov’s polling has shown Sanders supporters increasingly dislike Clinton, but there is little evidence that there is an especially large number of Sanders supporters who would refuse to support her in the general election. A recent NYT/CBS poll found only 10% of Democrats who are firmly anti-Clinton. Consider that, in 2008, as many as half of Clinton’s supporters told exit pollsters they would never back Obama. It did not pan out.

  4. Will Trump make it to 1,237?

    That’s the magic delegate number for Republicans, and Donald Trump is in a good position to get there. He needs just 55% of the remaining 899 delegates to reach it, and the movement towards “winner-take-all” contests makes it easier to quickly build his lead. To stop him, Cruz needs to dominate much of the West and Midwest and show more of the organization that helped him poach 10 Louisiana delegates from Trump (Trump says he’ll sue). Kasich also needs to dramatically improve his performance in the Northeast, where he has performed well but generally come up short. Wisconsin (April 5) will be the next big test of Trump’s strength. Polls show a close race between Trump and Cruz – if Cruz falters, Trump’s path begins to look much more secure.

  5. Is Trump losing women?

    A dispute between Trump and Cruz over the candidates’ wives, combined with a history of sexist statements by Trump, has raised questions about Trump’s ability to win over women voters. An analysis of polling data by the Huffington Post suggests Republican women really do not like the GOP frontrunner. YouGov’s latest data on Republican women suggests a slightly different story – they are almost as likely as their male counterparts to support Trump and view him favorably. Among the wider public, however, he is clearly less popular with women (66% unfavorable) than men (57% unfavorable), and the gap appears to be widening.

  6. Something else: Europeans are ready for Hillary

    Europeans usually keep an eye on US elections, but the current primary season has been watched especially closely – and, like in the United States, it has inspired very mixed emotions, according to a YouGov poll. Across 7 European nations (including Britain, France, Germany and several Scandinavian nations) the most common feelings about a potential Trump presidency are "fear" and "disappointment". By contrast, pluralities across the board would feel “relieved” and “optimistic” about a President Hillary Clinton. The full poll will be released later today.

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The Pulse is a weekly newsletter YouGov has launched ahead of the 2016 primaries and general election to give readers a one-stop-shop for the latest polling-related news from the campaign. In addition to YouGov’s own extensive coverage of the election, The Pulse gives you the five things you need to know about the state of the campaign each week (and one you don't need to know but we think is worth knowing anyway!).

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