"August Delegate Recap" - by Jim Ellis
August 9, 2019
Several polls in key states have been released in early August, so it is a good time to again review the Democratic presidential delegate count estimate based upon the available data.
We see new polls from Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Texas, North Carolina, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Adding the numbers from Nevada and South Carolina, important because this pair is part of the momentum setting First Four, we can gain a decent, though not wholly accurate, picture of where the race would stand if delegate apportionment were based upon these polling totals.
The most current surveys come from North Carolina, Iowa, and Pennsylvania all conducted between July 29th and August 5th.
In chronological order based upon the latest studies, we begin with the Tar Heel State. Survey USA polled the North Carolina Democratic electorate (8/1-5; 534 NC likely Democratic primary voters) and find former Vice President Joe Biden leading his opponents by 21 points. He would post 36% as compared to Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) scoring 15 and 13%, respectively. All others fall to single digits.
Accounting for some of the lower tier candidates eventually dropping out before voting begins, it is likely that the three listed above would exceed the 15% threshold to qualify for delegates. If so, Mr. Biden would capture approximately 62 delegates, Sen. Sanders would earn 26, and Sen. Warren, 22.
Monmouth University conducted a new Iowa poll (8/1-4; 401 IA likely Democratic caucus participants) and found much different results than when we last visited this electorate through the Change Research data in July. Those results projected the top five candidates qualifying for delegate apportionment, but Monmouth sees things quite differently. According to their latest numbers, it is only Mr. Biden and Sen. Warren who would exceed the 15% threshold and qualify for delegates, polling at 28 and 19% respectively. Therefore, Iowa's 41 first ballot delegates would split 24 for Biden and 17 for Warren.
Pennsylvania's Franklin & Marshall College next released a survey for the Keystone State electorate, but its Democratic sample size is a very small 295 respondents. Still, this gives us at least an idea as for whom the PA voters might break if the nomination election were today. According to this poll, only Mr. Biden and Sen. Warren would qualify for delegates because their respective 28 and 21% would split the state's 186 first ballot delegates. In the F&M survey, Sen. Sanders posts 12%, and no other candidate breaks into double-digits.
Using the delegate allocation formula, Mr. Biden would capture 106 Pennsylvania delegate votes while Sen. Warren would be awarded 80.
Survey USA also polled the tight California electorate (8/1-5; 528 CA likely Democratic primary voters) and finds that four candidates would receive a share of the largest state's delegate contingent of 416 votes. The poll breaks for Biden (25%), Warren (21%), Sanders (18%), and Harris (17%), which translates into 128 delegate votes for Biden and 108 for Warren. Mr. Sanders would score 92, and home state Sen. Harris, dropping in all polls, would secure only 88 delegate votes.
Washington, moving to a primary for the first time and whose voters will cast their ballots in conjunction with the March 10th date, is another state where little polling has been done. Zogby Analytics released their survey results from the July 22-Aug 1 study (619 WA likely Democratic primary voters) that yields Mr. Biden only a 19-18% edge over Sen. Sanders, with Sen. Warren posting 14%. Her number would likely exceed 15% at the time of the vote considering that many candidates would have exited. Under these results, the approximate delegate apportionment would break 33-31-25 for Biden, Sanders, and Warren, in that order, thus dispersing the state's 89 first ballot delegates.
The University of Texas at Tyler has been polling extensively of late, and they just released a new study (8/1-4; 534 TX likely Democratic primary voters) that also finds a closely bunched field. Here, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke factors into the mix to a great degree. The results find Messrs. Biden and O'Rourke virtually tied at the top (24-23%) with Sen. Sanders recording 18% support, and Sen. Warren dropping to 10 percent. Therefore, the top three would split the state's 228 first ballot delegates, 84-81-63 for Biden, O'Rourke, and Sanders.
Finally, Suffolk University polled New Hampshire (8/1-4; 500 NH likely Democratic primary voters) and sees Mr. Biden re-claiming the lead with 21% over Sens. Sanders and Warren who have 17 and 14%, respectively. Assuming all would qualify to split the 24 first ballot delegates, the apportionment would split 10-8-6 for Biden, Sanders, and Warren.
In order to include Nevada and South Carolina, we refer to previously calculated polls conducted earlier in the summer. Using those numbers, the delegates would break 19-10-7 for Biden, Warren and Sanders, while the South Carolina delegate count would project: Biden 31, Sanders 12, and Harris 11.
Therefore, the aggregate totals when combining these nine important states would yield the following delegate count standing:
While Mr. Biden has a substantial lead and is much stronger when compared to his numbers of one month ago, he is still well below majority pace. From these nine states, in order to capture a first ballot victory, Biden would need 593 delegate votes, or 96 more than he currently projects.
Obviously, these delegate calculations are mere estimates and the entire delegate count is extrapolated based upon a projected statewide result. In actuality, the delegates are apportioned from both the statewide result and through the individual congressional districts. Still, this rudimentary delegate counting does give us an idea as to where the candidates might be standing today, and clearly depicts that Mr. Biden has regained strength within the Democratic electorates from these important states.