Starting with the projections of a Panel of Experts on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website, and deviating surprisingly little, I project Trump will win the Republican nomination, albeit with a scant margin of nine.
State by State Details
Some of the expert projections cannot happen. For example: Nebraska, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are all winner take all states. One of the experts made a mistake but the averages are shown.
I accepted the consensus estimates, plus or minus 1, in 15 of 18 cases. In the 19th case (uncommitted delegates), the experts made no prediction. I do not expect Trump to win many of those, but I do not expect he will lose every one of them. I awarded Trump a mere 15 out of 125.
Some states I know very little about and there are no recent polls. Five states, shaded in blue, (Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico) are places where I went with the expert opinion. However, I suspect Trump can pick up a handful somewhere.
Montana appears to be rigged as delegates are selected by the County Central Committee, but perhaps Trump can unexpectedly pick up a few of those.
My big pickups are New York (+15), Indiana (+8), and California (+25).
New York is winner take all by district, with the proviso one candidate receives 50% of the vote. There are another 14 at large delegates that will go to the overall winner, again with a 50% margin or more.
Trump is polling extremely well in New York, over 50%. I gave Trump 14 at the state level.
At the district level, if at least 2 presidential contenders receive 20% or more of the vote, the candidate with the most votes receives 2 delegates and the candidate with the second most of votes receives 1 delegate.
Curiously, this math helps Trump. Kasich will take votes from Cruz, not Trump. Is Kasich about to drop out? If not, he helps Trump at the district level, but potentially hurts Trump at at the state level.
The experts gave Indiana to Trump. My rationale for Indiana was to simply go with the experts and work backwards.
Indiana awards 30 delegates to the overall winner. I put those in Trump’s column.
Indiana has another 27 delegates (9 districts of 3 delegates each). I gave Trump a modest 5 of those 9 to reach my total of 45.
If the experts are correct overall, I will beat them. If the experts are wrong, I will do much worse.
California is a curious bird.
Silver’s Polls-Only California Forecast says Trump has a 65% chance of winning. However, based on his secret sauce, Silver says Cruz has a 61% chance of winning.
This is how the secret sauce projects things.
I find Silver’s secret sauce all the more incredible because Silver projects Trump to have a 49% chance of winning the nomination.
Adding to the confusion, Silver’s expert panel has Trump winning the state.
Here’s the deal: If Cruz were to win California by those margins, Trump would not now realistically have a 49% chance of coming up with the delegates, unless I am way off on my assignment of a mere 15 of 125 uncommitted delegates in Trump’s camp.
Alternatively, Trump can do better in states like Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico, coupled with 25 of 125 of the uncommitteds.
Bottom Line – Close to Tossup
My projection is not fearless.
All I did was extrapolate expert opinions in the logical direction based on state-by-state analysis of delegate assignment rules from the Green Papers.
We are very close to a tossup here. I placed Trump over the top, but barely, explaining my sauce. Other sauce remains secret.
Things can dramatically change one way or another between now and California.
If Silver gets to update his forecasts, so do I.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock