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Updated 7:00 PM |

What Went Down In The June 7 Primaries

Filed under 2016 Election


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Harry Enten 8:32 AM Clinton Won Among Early California Voters, And Never Let Go

As my colleague Micah noted, Clinton has been called the winner in California by the AP and pretty much all the major news networks with 94 percent of precincts reporting. Her lead at this hour stands at 13 percentage points and a little over 400,000 votes out of more than 3 million cast. How’d she do it?

Clinton built a tremendous lead in the state from early mail-in votes, and she never relinquished it. Just after midnight, Clinton was up by 26 percentage points with over a million votes counted. By the time all the early vote was in, she was able to take that advantage up to about 400,000. That margin stayed remarkably consistent as more and more of the in-person vote was tabulated. In other words, Sanders fought Clinton to a draw among voters who cast their ballot at the polls yesterday, but the damage had been done by early voters, who tend to be older and more traditional party loyalists.

Clinton’s victory was larger than most public pollsters anticipated. Why? It’s not entirely clear, though it’s not because Sanders’s voters didn’t come out to vote once news organizations called Clinton the presumptive nominee on Monday night. In fact, it seems pollsters missed Clinton’s large early voting advantage. The illustrious Field Poll, for instance, had Clinton ahead by only 7 percentage points among those who had cast a ballot by late May, which was clearly too low. A large exit poll of voters who had cast their ballot by mail as of June 4, conducted by Sextant Strategies & Research, had her up only 12 percentage points, which again was far too low.

What is clear is that Clinton did very well across the state. She is leading in all the major population centers, including Alameda County (Oakland), Los Angeles County, Orange County (Anaheim), Sacramento County, San Diego County, San Francisco County and Santa Clara County (San Jose and Silicon Valley). Clinton’s advantage in all those places was about 10 percentage points or greater. The few counties where Sanders was ahead had much smaller populations.

We also seem to have received our answer to the question of Clinton’s support among Latino voters. Pre-election polls had Clinton and Sanders fairly even with them. As of this hour, Clinton is leading by an average of 15 percentage points in every single congressional district where Latinos make up at least 40 percent of eligible voters. That margin is larger than any of the polls Nate examined late last week projected Clinton’s margin would be among Latinos.

Now, it wouldn’t be surprising if Clinton’s win ends up closer than the 13 percentage points that now separate her from Sanders. NBC News believes that only 69 percent of all votes have been counted. There are still some votes cast on Tuesday that are yet to be tabulated, along with mail-in votes cast in the final few days. But given that Sanders has so far only fought Clinton to about a tie with voters who cast a ballot yesterday, it’s pretty clear that Clinton’s win will remain substantial.

Micah Cohen 6:46 AM It’s Over In California

Clinton has won California, according to the AP, and the biggest delegate prize of the evening wasn’t even close. With 93 percent of the state’s vote in, she had 56 percent of the vote, and Sanders had 43 percent.

Harry Enten 12:15 AM Good Night. We’ll Be Back.

We’re calling it a night, people. California is still counting votes, but because of the way they tally votes in the state, it’ll take all week to get a final result.

For that reason, this live blog isn’t going to die completely. We’ll revive it if the networks declare a winner in California in the next few hours, and if no winner is declared overnight, we’ll add occasional updates here throughout Wednesday as more votes are tallied.

At the moment, Clinton leads Sanders by 26 percentage points in the Golden State with over 1 million votes counted. The networks haven’t called the race yet as most of those ballots were cast early. Still, that lead is larger than most pollsters anticipated. It wouldn’t be surprising to get a call in California sooner rather than later.

Farai Chideya 12:13 AM Sanders And Obama Will Meet On Thursday

News bulletin! Following a bruising night in which Clinton won the nomination via earned delegates, not just with superdelgates, the White House released a statement announcing that Sanders will meet with President Obama on Thursday — at Sanders’s request.

Obama is expected to campaign heavily for Clinton, who he congratulated tonight on winning the nomination. But Sanders has the loyal support of voters, particularly young voters, that are key to the Democratic Party, and he may press Obama to back a party agenda that includes nods to his policy proposals on the financial industry, the minimum wage and more.

David Wasserman 12:04 AM Down-Ballot: Could Darrell Issa Be Vulnerable In The Fall?

If there’s a House race that’s not getting any attention but maybe should, it’s GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat north of San Diego. National Democrats aren’t eager to play here because Issa is the wealthiest member of Congress and has routinely won reelection by comfortable margins. But Issa is also a high-profile Trump defender on television in a district that may not favor Trump.

In just the past four years, Democrats have cut the GOP’s voter registration advantage by almost half in Issa’s district, California’s 49th. It’s one of the best-educated districts in the state. So far tonight, Issa is taking just 51 percent in early returns in the all-party top-two primary to 45 percent for Democratic attorney and Iraq veteran Doug Applegate.

Even though turnout for the Democratic presidential primary could be driving that closeness, Issa’s showing is below that of several other GOP incumbents considered vulnerable.

Harry Enten 11:52 PM

NBC News has declared Clinton the apparent winner in South Dakota.

Farai Chideya 11:43 PM Arguably The Most interesting Senate Primary In America

While we wait for the Democratic presidential primary in California to be called, there’s also a fascinating U.S. Senate primary being tallied there. As expected, though with less than 10 percent of precincts reporting, State Attorney General Kamala Harris is leading and U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Orange County is in second place. Both are Democrats. And both, if they remain in these positions, will end up on the general election ballot.

Unlike most of America, California’s primary is a “top two” system where the leading primary vote-getters challenge each other regardless of party. Vying for the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, also a Democrat, the two essentially guarantee a safe seat for the party… and that a woman of color will become the next senator from the most populous state in the union.

Nate Silver 11:34 PM Democrats Want This Thing To Be Over

Clinton’s margins tonight are toward the high end of expectations, with the possible exception of New Mexico, where she won but by a slightly smaller margin than we would have projected. But in New Jersey and South Dakota — and in the early returns from Montana and (more importantly) California — she’s doing very, very well.

There are more votes left to be counted. But it reminds me of the stretch of states that Trump had in April, where Republican voters suddenly began voting for Trump by large majorities after never having given him more than 50 percent of the vote before. That may have been because Republicans wanted to avert a contested convention and were sick of arguments over process.

Democrats may be reacting similarly, rejecting Sanders’s insinuations that the system is “rigged” against him, and giving Clinton, the candidate who has won far more votes and elected delegates, a more emphatic majority. Clinton has her largest lead in national polls since February, won in a landslide in Puerto Rico over the weekend, and is having somewhere between a very good and an outstanding night tonight, depending on how the rest of the vote in Montana and California goes.

Harry Enten 11:32 PM

If Clinton’s lead in California holds, she’ll have won the top seven states with the biggest batches of pledged delegates. She’ll also have carried 10 of the top 11. In other words, she wins the states where the voters are, which is why she is the presumptive nominee.

David Wasserman 11:26 PM Trump’s Unimpressive South Dakota Showing

Compared to his other post-Indiana victories, Trump’s 67 percent showing in South Dakota (with 80 percent reporting) is weak sauce. Although South Dakota won’t be a battleground in the fall, the fact that a third of Republicans are voting for someone other than their presumptive nominee suggests what a cultural mismatch Trump is for the Upper Midwest. If it persists, it might bode poorly for him in Minnesota, and perhaps Iowa and Wisconsin too.

Twitter 11:25 PM

Harry Enten 11:20 PM

We’re beginning to get some early votes in from California, and Clinton is doing very well. She’s up 29 percentage points, which is an even wider gap than we expected in the first batch of results. Clinton’s lead over Sanders should close as more votes are count, but the results so far are from a very diverse set of counties.

Farai Chideya 11:19 PM Will Elizabeth Warren Speak Now?

Of the people named in FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of the Democratic veepstakes, the closest ideological cousin to Sanders is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (The article also notes that the effect of a two-woman ticket on a race already filled with gendered comments and even slurs about Clinton is unknown.) In addition to — or in lieu of — being Clinton’s running-mate, Warren could act as an ideological bridge to Sanders supporters. In late March, Warren made one of her few significant public comments on the race, “I’m still cheering Bernie on.” What Warren cheers in the coming hours and days could plausibly affect how some Sanders supporters see Clinton, particularly if Clinton is solicitous of her counsel … and if Warren offers it.

Harry Enten, Nate Silver 11:08 PM Clinton Wins A Majority Of Pledged Delegates

Based on the early results from California and other states, FiveThirtyEight projects that Clinton will win a large enough percentage of the vote to capture an overall majority of pledged delegates, and an overall majority of the popular vote.

Twitter 11:04 PM

David Wasserman 11:03 PM Beware The Order Of California Returns

As polls close and we start getting results in the Golden State, remember that it’s wise not to get carried away by the very first numbers you see. According to top watchers in California, counties will generally report votes in the following order: 1) early mailed-in absentee votes 2) election day votes and 3) late mailed-in absentee votes.

According to Political Data’s Paul Mitchell, 69 percent of the 2.7 million early absentee votes mailed in for all primary races were from voters over 55 years old. That likely means the first batches of votes reported will be Clinton’s best. The next batches — the Election Day votes — could be Sanders’s best, and the late absentees could be somewhere in between.

So, don’t be surprised if we see the margin see-saw quite a bit over the course of the night. My hunch is that Clinton will prevail, but if it’s a close finish, remember that late absentees could take a long time to count.

Clare Malone 11:00 PM What Sanders Is Doing

The New York Times is reporting that the Sanders camp will lay off most of its campaign staff in the following days. Sanders is traveling on Wednesday from California to his home in Vermont, then on to a planned rally in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (D.C. holds its primary on June 14.)

According to the Times, representatives from the Clinton and Sanders camps — though not the candidates themselves — have been speaking over the past couple of days, though “So far, the discussions have not included the possibility that Mr. Sanders will concede to Mrs. Clinton or endorse her.”

Advisors said that Sanders had not yet outlined a possible concession speech, and indeed, Sanders and his surrogates have suggested as recently as today that they would fight for superdelegates over the next month, up to the July convention.

Harry Enten 10:58 PM

The AP and NBC News have called New Mexico for Clinton.

Nate Silver 10:50 PM Did Early Call Of Race Discourage Democratic Turnout?

It’s possible that the networks’ call of Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee on Monday night discouraged Democratic turnout.  So far in New Jersey, with 88 percent of precincts reporting, there have been about 765,000 votes counted. That compares with 1.14 million votes in 2008. And in South Dakota, there have been about 40,000 votes counted with 78 percent of precincts reporting, whereas almost 100,000 Democrats voted there eight years ago. Turnout in the Democratic primaries this year has been somewhat lower overall compared to 2008, the last competitive Democratic primary, but tonight’s declines are larger than usual.

Harry Enten 10:48 PM

Clinton is holding onto a 3 percentage point lead in South Dakota with 78 percent of precincts reporting. Minnehaha County is the area with the most vote out, but so far Clinton is winning there by 5 percentage points. She’s a favorite to edge this out.

Clare Malone 10:38 PM The Path Was A Little Easier

“It may be hard to see it now, but we are all standing under a glass ceiling right now.”

It was one of the first lines of Clinton’s victory speech in Brooklyn tonight, a reference to the pernicious, subtle things — and very often, the not-so-subtle things — that have held women back and a harkening back to her 2008 concession speech when she said to thundering applause that there were 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling. She lost that night, but she said she had made the path a little easier to tread for the next woman.

Tonight, she became that next woman: Clinton is the first woman to be a major party’s nominee in American history. Whatever your political proclivities, candidate preference or gender, this is a seminal moment, one to be marked.

We’ll have more to come on this, but for now, mark June 7 as one for the history books.

Nate Silver 10:36 PM

Clinton is leading in New Mexico so far and will probably win the state, but Sanders is holding his own, trailing by 7 percentage points with about half the vote counted. Since New Mexico has the highest Hispanic population share in the country, is that a sign Sanders could do relatively well in California, where the Hispanic vote is key to his chances?

Possibly, but Clinton is beating her statewide numbers in the most Hispanic portions of New Mexico, leading Sanders by 12 percentage points so far in counties where at least half the population is Hispanic.

Harry Enten 10:25 PM

Just a quick roundup of where we are. Clinton has won New Jersey. Sanders has won North Dakota. Clinton is ahead by 6 percentage points with 39 percent of precincts reporting in New Mexico. Clinton is ahead by 5 percentage points with 68 percent of precincts reporting in South Dakota. Less than 1 percent of precincts have reported in Montana. And we’re a little over 30 minutes from getting the first California results.

Nate Silver 10:18 PM

“Fun” fact: South Dakota and North Dakota, which voted for different candidates in the Democratic primaries in 2008 and may do so again this year, have voted for the same candidate in every presidential general election since 1920. They did split their vote in 1892, 1896, 1912 and 1916, however.

micahscohen 10:08 PM


“Is there any polling data of the age breakdown of black and Hispanic voters? I’ve heard over and over again how minority voters have gone for Clinton, but it’s also been clear that younger voters go for Bernie and older ones for Clinton. So is it possible that the minority vote is also generally an older demographic?” — commenter Ryan Dann


Actually, it’s the opposite! Census data shows that the median age of Hispanic and black Americans is quite a bit younger than for non-Hispanic white Americans.

Non-Hispanic white 42
Black 32
Hispanic 27
Median age of Americans by race, 2012

Source: U.S. Census

Julia Azari 10:02 PM Listening To Trump’s Speech For Hints Of Sanders

The most notable part of Trump’s speech was the stuff that wasn’t in there. Listening to that speech, you would never know that this was a candidate whose party had spent the last few days melting down over his statements about the race of a federal judge. You’d never guess he was the subject of this tweet:

Or would you? The speech had significant nationalist themes, with “America first” as a key refrain. But it also had lines that were – as many people will likely point out – taken straight from the Sanders script. He said that politicians have “turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form” – and talked about “real change, not Barack Obama change.”

We can understand these comments in the context of the 2016 race specifically, but they make more sense when we consider them instead in the context of the Reagan era coming to a close. Here, once again, I’m thinking about the political scientist Stephen Skowronek’s theory of political time, which suggests that the end of a political cycle has particular characteristics. One is that the nominee is often an outsider — think Jimmy Carter, who campaigned on his distance from the mainstream of the New Deal Democratic Party — who can promise to clean up a corrupt system and enact reforms in order to save the larger political project.

The other mark of this phase is that the political logic becomes contradictory. That’s really what’s going on in Kristol’s tweet. Republican platforms since 1980 have emphasized a colorblind society — denouncing both racial discrimination and race-based affirmative action. There’s no way for them to adhere to this and embrace their nominee.

Harry Enten 10:01 PM

Earlier today, I wrote about how New Jersey got very little coverage in the lead-up to its primary. The state is shaping up to be a huge Clinton victory. She leads by 28 percentage points with 67 percent of precincts reporting. It’s big victories like these in heavily populated states that have allowed Clinton to build a large lead in pledged delegates.

Nate Silver 9:59 PM Clinton Can Afford To Lose California By 50 points

If current results hold in New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, Clinton will add 116 pledged delegates from those states (Sanders would get 87), leaving her 99 pledged delegates shy of 2,026, the number required to clinch a pledged delegate majority.

That means Clinton only needs 21 percent of the pledged delegates available in California to hit 2,026. She could lose the state to Sanders by more than 50 percentage points and still come out ahead.

Nate Silver 9:47 PM What Is It About Clinton And South Dakota?

A Clinton win in South Dakota, where she’s leading by 6 percentage points so far, wouldn’t count as that big a shock. She narrowly led the only poll there. And she won South Dakota in 2008, even though Barack Obama won all the surrounding states.

But a win there would break the demographic patterns we’re used to seeing, since South Dakota is a predominantly white state that allows independents to vote in its primaries — similar to the states that have gone for Sanders.

Our demographic model had Sanders favored in South Dakota — although, note, it had Obama favored in South Dakota in 2008, so maybe there’s something about the demographics there that are hard to pick up.

One factor could be the Native American population, which is about 9 percent of the state’s population. But that doesn’t seem like a likely reason. Sanders is running well in counties that overlap with Native American reservations. And Sanders won Oklahoma, which also has a large Native American vote.


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