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HUFFPOLLSTER: What Super Tuesday Exit Polls Tell Us About The State Of The Race

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 2/03/2016 Natalie Jackson
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NO HUGE SUPER TUESDAY SURPRISES - Polls were limited in a lot of the Super Tuesday states, but what polling there was did a pretty good job of predicting the outcomes. The most significant deviation happened in Oklahoma, where surveys showed Donald Trump with the lead, but Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won by 6 points. The Democratic polling in Oklahoma showed mixed results -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) prevailed in that one by 10 points.

Cruz and Rubio ran slightly ahead of polling averages, Trump was right on - Nate Silver: “Amid all the arguments about which candidate 'beat expectations,' it’s worth comparing each candidate’s vote share tonight to their pre-election polling averages , as calculated by FiveThirtyEight. On average, in the eight states where we published polling averages ahead of time — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia —  Cruz is beating his polling numbers by 4.4 percentage points. Rubio is running just slightly ahead of his polls as well. Trump’s numbers are right in line with where polls had them, meanwhile.” [ 538 ]

"Outsider" image helps Trump win - ABC News, on Tuesday's exit polls: "A strong desire for an 'outsider' candidate runs throughout all the states voting in Republican primaries today. Looking at all primary states, half of voters prefer an outsider to a political insider. Donald Trump is crushing it with 'outsider' voters. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio split those preferring experience."

Evangelicals keep Cruz afloat - More from ABC: " Evangelicals account for seven in 10 to eight in 10 voters in most Southern states today, except for Texas (six in 10), Virginia (just over half); it’s about a quarter in Massachusetts and Vermont alike. They’ve been one of Ted Cruz’s best groups so far, though Trump won among evangelicals in in Nevada and ran competitively among them in New Hampshire and South Carolina." [ ABC ]

Democrats divide along gender, race, and age - CBS News: "Clinton spent much of the primary season embracing her former boss and the data suggest this strategy has paid off. According to the CBS News exit polls, majorities of Democratic voters in most Super Tuesday states want to see the next president continue President Obama's policies…. Following her impressive victory in South Carolina, Clinton proved once again that she has the support of African-American voters and is wildly popular in Southern states. Meanwhile, Sanders has struggled to do well outside of the Northeast and with non-whites ….In every state, except Sanders' home-state of Vermont, Clinton captured the women's vote. It is also worth noting that in many states, particularly in the South, she did well with men….However, she lost among millennials in every state as that demographic continues to support Sanders in large numbers….Texas is the only Super Tuesday state that has a substantial Hispanic/Latino voting block. Of the Hispanics who cast ballots in Texas tonight, almost 7 in 10 (67 percent) supported Clinton, compared with 33 percent who voted for Sanders." [ CBS ]  

Read the full results of Tuesday’s exit polls here. [ CNN ]

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WHERE THE DELEGATE COUNT STANDS - Not all of the Super Tuesday delegates have been allocated yet, but the picture is fairly clear: Clinton and Trump have substantial leads in the delegate race. In the Super Tuesday states alone, Clinton has won 453 pledged delegates, as of this writing, to Sanders’ 284. Adding in the unpledged, or “superdelegates” raises Clinton’s total to 554 and Sanders' to 291. Meanwhile, Trump has grabbed 203 delegates so far in the Super Tuesday states, while Cruz has 144 -- more than double Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s 71. There are still 187 delegates to be assigned on the Democratic side and 155 to be assigned to the Republicans. Overall, Clinton has a lead of 544 to 349 over Sanders -- which increases dramatically to a 1,001 to 371 lead if superdelegates are included -- and Trump has 285 delegates compared to Cruz’s 161 and Rubio’s 87 . [ HuffPost ]

Rubio missed delegate thresholds in Alabama, Texas, Vermont - Some Super Tuesday states have thresholds for receiving delegates on the Republican side. In Alabama, Texas and Vermont Rubio missed the 20 percent threshold, meaning that he’s not considered in the delegate counts. Those delegates were proportionally assigned to those candidates who did get more than 20 percent of the vote, Trump and Cruz. That’s why Rubio is much further behind Trump and Cruz in the delegate counts despite running close to the top two contenders in many states. Missing the threshold in Texas is particularly painful -- instead of getting a fifth or more of the 155 delegates from that state, Rubio doesn’t get any. Cruz and Trump split the biggest prize of the night.

THE PARTY ISN’T DECIDING - Hans Noel: "If Republican Party leaders dislike Donald J. Trump so much, why haven’t they done more to stop him? They should be able to. In 'The Party Decides,' a book I wrote in 2008 with Marty Cohen, David Karol and John Zaller, we argued that the leaders of party coalitions have great influence over the selection of a presidential nominee….This year’s election has not followed our script. Mr. Trump is the clear front-runner, but is loathed by the party establishment. Until the past week, almost no nationally prominent Republicans had endorsed him. Another top candidate, Senator Ted Cruz, is no more popular with Republican leaders. Party leaders have been obsessing and scheming, but until recently, they had barely taken any action. They seem to have finally settled on Senator Marco Rubio, far later than we would have expected. If Mr. Rubio wins, it would be at best a partial victory for 'The Party Decides….'Either the theory was wrong all along, or at the very least, we need to think harder about why the party leaders can coordinate sometimes and not at other times. Here are some possible explanations... Maybe the political environment has changed. For one, the invisible primary has become far more visible, with more televised debates that have greater audiences and more media scrutiny…. Maybe the party is falling apart. Even without those obstacles, coordination was going to be especially difficult for Republican leaders in 2016." [ NYT ]

TUESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Nate Silver argues that there's time for Republicans to stop Donald Trump from becoming the nominee. [ 538 ]

-At this point, it's unlikely that superdelegates will steal the vote from Bernie Sanders. [ WashPost ]

-Nate Cohn says Trump could still lose, but probably won't. [ NYT ]

-Amy Walter explains why the #NeverTrump movement doesn’t seem to be working. [ Cook ]

-Jonathan Bernstein calls last night “the most baffling Super Tuesday ever.” [ Bloomberg ]

-John Sides and Michael Tesler argue that Trump is winning because most voters aren’t bound to ideology. [ WashPost ]

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