wisconsin democratic primary predictions

Wisconsin Democratic Primary Predictions

We’re back with our Democratic prediction model, which fared very well during Western Saturday (it correctly predicted the winner in each of the Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington caucuses and its vote share estimates also fell close to the actual results).  While those results likely did not change the trajectory of the race, they have certainly infused Bernie Sanders with momentum: In the past week, Wisconsin polls flipped from having Clinton up 6 points to Sanders being up an average of 5 points.

Our Wisconsin Democratic primary predictions show two different (and simultaneously expected) results.  The table below depicts win probabilities for the two candidates.  It largely aligns and mimics the polls — Sanders has a clear advantage and is indubitably favored, but not overwhelmingly so (a win probability one would expect with a candidate leading the polls by just more than the margin of error).

Hillary Clinton Win Probability

Bernie Sanders Win Probability


However, the vote share model tells a different story.  The vote share Wisconsin Democratic primary predictions point to a decisive, landslide victory for Sanders.  Our vote share model relies heavily on demographics and those of Wisconsin trend favorably to Sanders — the state is overwhelmingly white (82 percent) with a very small African American and Hispanic population (6 and 5.6 percent, respectively).  These demographics are similar to those of Minnesota, a neighboring state which Sanders handily won (with 62 percent of the vote; Minnesota also favored Sanders because it was a caucus).  Sanders fares very well with white voters and their large presence in the state’s electorate leads to the model advantaging him in the primary.  In other words, if he’s to make up the delegate gap, Wisconsin is very favorable terrain to net a large number of them.

Hillary Clinton Vote Share

Bernie Sanders Vote Share


Will our predictions bear out?  Based on polls, it seems so, though given Sanders’ recent momentum and financial resources (which could fund a substantial last-minute ad blitz), it would not be surprising to see Sanders win by slightly larger margins.  Considering that Wisconsin is 82 percent white, the predicted margin is actually rather disappointing for Sanders – favorable demographics in a medium sized state offer him an increasingly rare opportunity to pick up a large amount of delegates and begin to meaningfully close his deficit.  We predict the below delegate allocation:

Hillary Clinton Delegate Expectation

Bernie Sanders Delegate Expectation


These targets, again, seem reasonable given the polls.  If Sanders earns more than 46 delegates from the primary, it will be a good day for him.  If he passes 50, it will be a very good day for Sanders (though, unless indicative of beating polls and expectations, the single victory here will not alter any race dynamics).

As always, take these numbers with grains of salt as they reflecting underlying electoral conditions, not the campaigns or the candidates or momentum or news, etc.  These estimates may well be wrong (we fully admit that) and in the case they are, we’ll go right back to the drawing board to refine and edit our models.  Any comments about these forecasts or our models are welcomed!

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