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January 31, 2016



Not sure how you can make such a precise prediction based on almost no polling data outside of the early states. However, remember that if no candidate gets a majority on the first vote, then it's a free-for-all and all the delegates become uncommitted. The GOP doesn't have as many super delegates as the Democrats (something I expect they will change in 2020 regardless of the outcome this year), but they do have some.

Also, not all the states from March 15 are winner-take-all. Illinois, for instance, is winner-take-all per district, and you vote for the delegates directly (there is also a meaningless preference poll). Other states are proportional.

On another note, so much for the sanctimonious EU migrant experiment:

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

Why not? I've made forecasts about mobile with far less data input haha. But the delegate count per state - I allocated every single delegate in my model, by that state's current 2016 rules, including every single variation, whether some are 'at large' delegates and some are 'by district' etc and if that state has a minimum requirement and if it has some tip-over rule about becoming winner-take-all at some winning % etc. I've worked at the details to this model for months and basics of the model go back several election cycles. So yes, Catriona, I have allocated delegates in my model by the given state rules 'not all states from March 15 are winner-take-all...'

Meanwhile, I said that the relevant forecast is whether Trump wins, if he wins a majority of delegates before the nomination, and if he only clinches on June 7. If those three conditions happen, I consider my forecast 'perfect' (and would be quite stunningly accurate were that to happen). But for the fun of it, I also include all other data I came up with in my model, ie the delegate percentages and the states that would be won. In reality that will not happen exactly that way, because just one debate incident like Newt Gingrich's moment in 2012 can flip a given state to one candidate. But I am confident, the big trends are no locked, Trump can't be stopped and Cruz will finish second. But it is quite close on whether Trump actually clinches the nomination before the convention. If I'm off by a little bit, Trump could just fall short of clinching the nomination and we could see the deadlocked Convention scenario. But again, I am projecting Trump will get just past that level.

So Catriona, not willing to give your guess of who will win it? Still feeling confident about Rubio?

Tomi Ahonen :-)


I think Rubio wins a deadlocked convention. If Cruz doesn't win Iowa tomorrow, he could fade very quickly, as Iowa has the best demographics for him to win. If that happens, then a deadlock becomes more likely. New Hampshire is a wild card right now, except that Trump has a solid plurality. The race for second is all over the map, with Kasich, Bush, Rubio, and Christie all polling similar numbers. Voters there are known to lie to pollsters (witness the Democratic primary in 2008, which arguably kept Hillary's campaign alive for a few more weeks - had she lost, Obama would have wrapped up the nomination sooner). If Rubio winds up outperforming there, he'll get some momentum going into the later states. However, if Kasich, Bush, or Christie surprise, then I think your Trump scenario becomes more likely.

As for the Democrats, I think the bigger question is whether Sanders performs well enough in enough states by mid-March that Bloomberg decides to at least put in place the infrastructure to mount an independent run (e.g. get petitions started, organize offices). Bloomberg certainly would be able to match anyone else's data analysis. That's what his company does.


Here's Nate Silver's take on things:


If Jeb! sees that his situation is hopeless and he decides to stop embarrassing himself, what if he quits and endorses Rubio just before Florida? Could Rubio win over Trump with Jeb!'s help in Florida?


Assuming Hillary isn't indicted for her rest-room email server that had beyond top-secret emails.

Trump wins. By the second week that has "winner take all" primaries. You haven't even mentioned the arcane rules the nominating conventions use. To even be nominated, they require a true majority (51%, not just the "most" aka plurality) in 8 separate states. I doubt more than 3 would qualify, and even that is pushing it. If Trump is the only nominee he obviously will win. Blame Romney and the RNC's paranoia.

Hillary can't return from the restroom on time, has thyroid problems, Mt. Bimbo is turning her campaign into Herculaneum with its eruptions (Bill raping every semi-attractive woman since he became Governor of AK - the women coming forward about being raped is called a "Bimbo Eruption" and he was nearly impeached, and Hillary was his co-dependent or enabler).

Bernied-out the cadaver will do better.

Trump will be the next president of the USA.

I remember your last post. I have a rictus grin worthy of the Joker. Yes, ironically. Trump will do a lot of damage, but we have an establishment gridlock most Americans wish to see incinerated. Or as some wag has said "Trump is our murder weapon, and the Republican establishment and media elite is our victim".

So how many women have been raped by the invasion (that is the correct word) of young, male, refugees in your country? Pity you don't have a second amendment so as to be able to defend yourself.

millard filmore

@tz: About the rape, have you heard the latest news? Here is the title of the article:

"Teenage girl 'made up' migrant rape claim that outraged Germany"


@millard filmore There must be something very wrong with that article because that is not the narrative that people want to hear.


@Millard Fillmore, so I guess that means Cologne never happened, either. All these migrants are wonderful people and Sweden is wholly unjustified in rejecting their applications.


Anyway, turnout is key tomorrow. The higher it is, the better Trump and Sanders are doing. Supposedly 150,000 is the key figure for the GOP. Participation in 2012 was a record 122,000. If it's 135,000 or less, Cruz wins, because his supporters are veterans of the caucus process. If it's 150,000 or more, Trump probably wins.

On the Democratic side, Hillary's campaign is supposedly using data analytics to maximize the delegate count by having some of her supporters switch their allegiance to O'Malley in districts Hillary is winning to avoid them defecting to Sanders (i.e. keep O'Malley "viable" in that district at 15% to avoid O'Malley's 3-4% going to Sanders and getting him to the next threshold). Sanders is employing a more traditional strategy of just trying to convince them to go to Sanders' side.

Millard Filmore

@Catriona: >>> so I guess that means Cologne never happened, either. >> All these migrants are wonderful people and Sweden is wholly unjustified in rejecting their applications. <<<

Again, no. They are just like us. Some better than others, some worse.

Millard Filmore

@Catriona: (last message was messed up on posting, it looked good in the comment box. only 1 set of ">>>" "<<<" per message i guess)
"so I guess that means Cologne never happened, either."

No, it means that things are never what the stampeding herds claim.

"All these migrants are wonderful people and Sweden is wholly unjustified in rejecting their applications."

Again, no. They are just like us. Some better than others, some worse.

Stephen Reed

Thanks Tomi for presenting a reasonable model of the Republican primary race. I will also be watching Microsoft Bing, Sam Wang, and Nate Silver for their predictions. I like the poll graphs at Huffington post the best.

Among his brilliant campaign tactics, note Trump's attacks. Successively, Trump attacked and diminished: Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz. Trump chooses his opponent carefully, the criteria being the degree to which the opponent is attacking Trump or the degree to which the opponent is currently a polling threat. Trump prefers to counter-punch - reacting to an opponent's attack, but will attack first absent a provocation. Trump attacks one opponent at a time. He drives home the attack using repeated tags or phrases. Trump attacks harder, or more rudely than the opponent expects. Trump keeps attacking until the opponent is sufficiently diminished, or stops attacking Trump back.

I mention attacks, because I believe that Marco Rubio will gain momentum coming out of Iowa and may replace Ted Cruz as second place in later state polls. I believe that Trump will attack Marco Rubio and diminish him perhaps starting in New Hampshire, depending on how wounded is Cruz by Trump's attacks to date. A guess is that Trump can use his proven birther attack one more time on Marco Rubio, who was born on US soil, but was not born to citizen parents.

Regarding the general election, I continue to believe in an outcome the opposite of Tomi's. Trump should win the Republican primary rather early, and be able to conserve resources for the general election.

As a thought exercise in the opposite direction from Tomi's beliefs, consider a scenario most favorable to Trump in the general election. How would fate and Trump's brilliance bring this about? Think about it.

Obviously, the most favorable course of events for Trump is a triumphant landslide, a wave election, in which Trump becomes president with a popular mandate to accomplish his campaign's issues. Best for Trump would be a continuation of the Republican control of both houses of congress.

A hypothetical super-brilliant Donald Trump would figure out what issues would both hold the base of supporters from the primary election, and add certain independents and democrats.

This hypothetical Trump would tactically attack the Democrat candidate and diminish them, especially in the late weeks of the election. Look for Trump to test lines of attack in his rallies, e.g. "Hillary does not have the strength nor the endurance to be President", "Wacky Bernie".

Best for Trump would be the entry of Michael Bloomberg as a third party candidate. Look for brilliant Donald Trump to urge Bloomberg to run.

Best for Trump would be for the FBI to report national security charges against Hillary Clinton after she wins the primary race against Bernie. Look for Trump not to rush the FBI, which reportedly has 150 agents working on the case. It would be best for Trump to run against Hillary while she is fighting a historic multiple-felony national security prosecution by Obama's own Dept of Justice.

Let's watch the evidence unfold and see to what degree the favorable outcomes for Trump occur or not.

Eventually Tomi will come around to the idea that Trump has run a brilliant campaign, the best US presidential campaign that I've seen in my lifetime.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

So Rubio through a deadlocked convention. Deadlocked convention is the second likeliest outcome by my model, if Trump doesn't get to a majority of votes leaving Trump still with the most delegates and .. Cruz second. As it now stands, Rubio doesn't illustrate a way to leapfrog both of the guys well ahead of him nationally, to get to a commanding position in the convention, at least a strong second. Rubio has been weak in early fund-raising which has gotten better now but thats mostly by default as Jeb's donors are gradually departing that sinking ship. Rubio is good at debating but not significantly better than Cruz and even Trump keeps getting better (and now has that trick of skipping some debates, so he is also less vulnerable that way). Cruz is not going to wither out by running out of money like Huckabee in 2008 and like Santorum in 2012. So I don't see a realistic scenario for Rubio catching up to the two. If it was just Rubio vs Cruz, then Cruz has probably a far lower ceiling at the Religious and Tea Party edge, where Rubio can appeal to a far wider moderate part of the party. But now Trump is taking from both of them, a lot of Trump's supporters identify now as moderates (the first supporters to join his bandwagon were the racists xenophobic nutters but he's far beyond just those).

Also Rubio's supporters are least committed of the three. Cruz has more certain support among his voters and Trump obviously has the most fiercely loyal ones so a collapse of their supporter base probably is not in the cards, unless there is some career-ending sex scandal involving teenage boys.. Again if Trump can lock say 35% of the voters, Cruz 20% and Rubio only 15% (nationally), and the rest 30% are fought among the three, its highly unlikely (but not impossible) for Rubio to finish first or second at the nomination. I'd say unlikely outcome but it is possible and of course the race being incredibly unpredictable this year, we can cheer Marco on, obviously most of the readers of this blog would prefer Marco Rubio ahead of Trump or Cruz haha, so they are 'with you'... :-) And Marco has consistently done best against Hillary in head-to-head matchups.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona and cornelius

Catriona - thanks for Nate Silver's analysis. Its mainly a look at the four scenarios for Iowa, not really the full race but yes, he shows how any one candidate would then be able to take momentum out of Iowa. Also note how Trump is now downgrading expectations, saying he doesn't have to win in Iowa, to ensure if he wins, it looks better, and knowing its a close race, if he loses, that it won't be seen as bad as it was. Trump is behaving more and more like all politicians haha, this is standard primary voting spin by a front-runner heading into election day.

cornelius - On Jeb endorsing Rubio. I am modelling him to do that after Florida's vote (I had Jeb as the last to suspend the race and the three finalists to run all the way to June 7 in anticipation of possibly a deadlocked convention). In the big picture, if we take Jeb's delegates and add to Rubio, he still falls far short of Cruz ie 15% to 32% so even combined, Marco + Jeb would only get half the delegates as Rubio alone, and all of the three, could not match Trump.

But thats not answering your question. Florida is a winner-take-all state with a lot of delegates (99) which I give to Trump in my model. Trump is far ahead in the polls for the state and Rubio is not highly liked back home for skipping on important Senate work as he runs for the national office. When Jeb and Rubio polling is added together in Florida, they would only beat Cruz by current polling and fall far short of Trump. That being said, this is early polling for Florida before the 'real race' is fought. Florida is one of the most expensive media markets to compete in and that primary is won or lost not on the ground like Iowa and New Hampshire but on TV ads (at least always in the past, Trump may have now found the weapon to win even in that war making it even more hopeless to destroy him via TV ads). Its why Jeb wanted that massive war chest from his donors, so the expensive large TV budgets in many of the winner-take-all states can be won. So if we assume Jeb and Rubio join forces - we can also assume Cruz is not going to throw his money at Florida on March 15, in a clearly hopeless cause, when he can invest his TV ad money far more usefully to win in states where he has a good chance like Missouri or North Carolina - that vote also on March 15. That would leave Florida a two-way race between Trump and Rubio. He could then of course win it - and if Trump is self-financing and if the polls show a tilting fight in Florida, he could spend that week his TV ad mone in say Illinois and Ohio, where there is no local rival with a home-field advantage (Kasich having quit weeks earlier).

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi cornelius

Now how would the race change? I gave Florida to Trump. If Rubio-Bush could take down Trump in their home state (certainly plausible) then those 99 delegates would be moved over to Rubio. Not that massive to help him win or even catch Cruz .. BUT .. it would be just enough pain for Trump to drop him below the level of clinching on the last day. Trump would fall to 15 points below the clinching-level. Now it would be a deadlocked convention.

And separately, in my model I always included a winning boost from winning in the latest voting day, to illustrate momentum. Trump's momentum would be diminished coming out of March 15 (while still strongest) and Marco would gain some momentum but not much, for winning his home state. It could be enough to give Rubio a state or two more, and give him some more delegates down the line, if he was seen more viable. How early would Jeb's endorsement come, that too would matter. If all non-Trump and non-Cruz support were to join forces right after New Hampshire and joyously unite behind Rubio, then we'd probably have something like a 40% - 20% - 40% race (Trump/Cruz/Rubio) but there are too many incentives for the Kasich/Christie/Jeb/Fiorina/Paul types to hang on through March 1 if they possibly can. I think a few will quit during February but a few will hang on through Super Tuesday and that dramatically diminishes Rubio's chances to rack up delegates in the myriad of rules in those proportional states that often have minimum requirements such as you only get delegates if you won more than 15% or something like that, differing per state, at differing levels, and varying even within the state, for possible thresholds for 'at large' delegates and 'district' delegates. The more Rubio is eliminated in such distribution if he falls a bit short, say with a 10% threshold he happens to only get 8% - those will then be allocated to the winners ie even more delegates to Trump and Cruz. So the split 40 - 20 - 40 will be more like 50 - 25 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 - 5 if its many weak candidates hanging on. The Republican primary rules are meant to reward a few strong candidates and punish the many weak ones. Trump and Cruz have now a systematic advantage to their campaigns that Rubio doesn't (but Rubio could have, if suddenly all his moderate rivals quit).

Note that while Trump polls nationally at a very steady 35% and Cruz around 20%, in my model after March 1, when 18 states and regions have voted, Trump has 50% of the delegates and Cruz has 33%. Its exactly that effect. Some who should be picking up 2% or 5% of delegates in the 'proportional' states often get denied those, because of minimum threshold rules (and again, not all states have minimum threshold requirements)

So very long answer to your question. It would probably hurt Trump enough to deny him the absolute majority and throw the race to a deadlocked convention, but not enough to bring Rubio into second place. There was a gap of 500 points between Rubio & Cruz. Even if we add all of Jeb's 100 delegates AND add the Florida vote, Rubio would still be 300 delegates behind Cruz, but he'd be stronger yes, at about 23% of the delegates (where I now have Rubio at 15%) vs Cruz who would still be at 32%. And the ticket would either be Trump and Rubio, or Cruz and Rubio (with many Trump supporters sulking and a possibility Trump runs as an independent anyway). A Trump Rubio ticket in that scenario would anger the Cruz wing where one third of very conservative Republican voters would be denied their fave on the ticket.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Tomi, for the same reason that Trump is performing well among self-described moderate Republicans, I think early polls underestimate his electability in the general election. That may be why the GOP establishment is coming around to him.

It's not just "nuts and xenophobes" who support Trump. You should read Sean Trende's excellent 3-part analysis posted to RealClearPolitics last week, particularly the third part. Trump appeals to a large disaffected group of voters, namely white voters without college educations. That group has been hit very hard by the changing economy over the last 30 years, and neither party has done a good job of addressing their concerns. They aren't racists or xenophobes, though some blame immigration and free trade for the loss of good-paying jobs for those without college degrees. Democrats propose a larger social safety net, but those voters don't want government "handouts," and are also suspicious of that party's embrace of immigrant workers (many of whom accept low-paying jobs in the service sector). At the same time, since most of them don't have high incomes, the GOP's touting of tax cuts falls on deaf ears, and their embrace of free trade earns them no favors with this class of voter.

Trump is probably the wrong person given his crude language and lack of experience in elected office, but his resonance with a fairly large bloc of voters (albeit one in decline) is significant. If there were a "Trump-lite" who appealed to those voters without alienating the GOP base or the independents, that candidate would do well. Actually, Reagan did effectively appeal to that class of voters. While today's demographics wouldn't lead to a 49-state landslide as in 1984, someone with Reagan's appeal could easily swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. If Trump is the nominee, the best move for the Establishment is to try to make him successful. After all, Trump's ego would be bruised by a loss this November. Even if he started as a "secret plant" of the Clintons, once he got the nomination, he'd want to win.

At the same time, Millennials are an emerging force. They are socially liberal and for the most part have no memory of the Cold War. However, as they become managers, officers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, they will have less and less use for the tax-and-spend policies of the traditional Democrats. In short, I think we are on the cusp of a political realignment. The old coalitions are breaking down, more noticeable so far on the GOP side (at least nationally), but perilous to both parties.


"No, it means that things are never what the stampeding herds claim.

"All these migrants are wonderful people and Sweden is wholly unjustified in rejecting their applications."

Again, no. They are just like us. Some better than others, some worse."

If you want to stick your head in the sand, go right ahead. The fact of the matter is that there is a SERIOUS culture clash between Western Europe and the Middle East. The fact that Austria feels the need to put up posters saying that just because a woman is wearing a revealing dress doesn't mean she is consenting to sex is telling.

Western Europe in general has done a terrible job of assimilating immigrant communities (especially compared to North America). And in the case of Sweden, they attracted large numbers of migrants precisely BECAUSE they offer generous social benefits. They allowed themselves to be used, and are starting to realize it.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi tz

Interesting call. So the second week after winner-take-all states start, is March 22 which is BTW also the 'end of March' so there are no more votes in March after that date. Of all delegates awarded, exactly two thirds (67%) will be won by that date. But the early states will spread those very widely. I have Trump only taking half of all delegates awarded by March 22. If Trump is able to take 75% of all delegates awarded through all 39 states and regions to have voted by then, then he has 1,236 delegates and will have won. Every state between now and then, that gives more than 25% to Trump's rivals, will make that task harder. Like right now, Iowa, its likely that Trump doesn't win 75% of Iowa, he is likely to win more like 30% of Iowa and 70% of the delegates go to his rivals, pushing back the date he might clinch. Still, its a nice target date for us to have and see if it comes true.

As to Trump the next President, haha, in your dreams. Yes, Trump might become the next President only if Hillary has a health issue and it needs to be massive like a heart attack that essentially has to take her out of the race for a while. In that situation, yes, Trump would be the only choice for voters. Other than that, Trump can't get anywhere near healthy support for the general election. His unfavorability among Independents keeps getting worse with every stunt he pulls. He's the most disliked politician ever to run, going back as far as the pollsters started to ask that question. THE most hated politician to run, ever. He will lose by epic landslide. Expect about 40% support for Trump. If Trump manages to utterly surprise everyone he only loses taking say 44% (vs 56% for Hillary) which is still a 12 point win for Hillary - far more than Obama's 2008 'landslide' election victory. But yes, 40% is about where Barry Goldwater sunk to going against incumbent Lyndon B Johnson after John F Kennedy's murder. That is truly massively epic loss. Its what is in the cards for Trump in the general election.

On Republican voters wanting to punish their party and the media, good luck with that. It means total loss of the general election, meaning majorities in both Houses which does mean a gun control law, it does mean higher minimum wage, it does mean higher taxes for millionaires, it does mean cap-and-trade, it does mean further cuts to US military's ridiculous overspending budgets, it does mean more protection for gays, it does mean EXPANSION of Obamacare not eliminating it or replacing it. It means 16 consecutive years of Democratic President's choices for district judges - meaning almost wholesale 'liberalization' of Federal courts. And it means - almost certainly - the flipping of the Supreme Court from a conservative-leaning majority to a liberal-leaning majority. It also would mean Obama appointed to the Supreme Court - how do you like them apples?

But go ahead, if you think Fox News and Megyn Kelly is 'the problem' for not being 'conservative enough' (bwahahahahahaaaa) then go ahead, attack her and them. If you think the most conservative Republican Congressional delegation in history is not conservative enough (bwahahahahahaaaa) then yes, go ahead and attack that too. After Hillary holding both Houses, she will pass campaign finance reform outlawing Citizens United - that will hurt predominantly Republicans. Then she'll pass the revised anti-discrimination laws to prevent Southern states from installing voting restrictions - that will hurt predominantly Republicans. She will pass national automatic voter registration - that will help Democrats. And during her 2 terms, the Democrats will undo all of the redistricting 'gerrymandering' imbalances in voting - again hurting predominantly Republicans. The historic 'do-nothing' Congress run by Republicans will be a thing of history, never again returning with such total contempt for governance... But good luck with that haha.

Now on the invasion and second ammendment. You didn't know that Finland has one of the highest gun-ownership rates of any country. Anyone who wants a gun already has one (or more) and hunting is a far more common hobby in Finland as it is in the USA, per capita. We have less of the gun club shooting range type 'playing with guns' that is so popular with Americans but its not illegal and we have plenty of gun ranges in Finland too. My mother and father were avid hunters and I went often with them on hunting trips. We had a shotgun shooting range at our summer cottage with the clay-pigeon throwing device etc. When I was taught to shoot in the Finnish army as part of our compulsory military service, it was not the first time I was firing a gun haha. The only thing is, our guns are registered and regulated. So if we need to defend ourselves against an invasion (actually a real threat, not imagined threat like you Americans have, because our Russian (ex Soviet) neighbor has invaded us only two decades before I was born. You don't need a second ammendment for a nation to have reasonable gun laws and wide gun ownership haha. Sorry but once again, facts come first on this blog, not myths.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Stephen Reed, while I agree Donald Trump has run a brilliant campaign (which he probably learned from all those negotiations with shady NYC and NYS politicians), he can't attack Rubio on "birther" issues. Unlike with Cruz, SCOTUS ruled quite definitively in the Wong Kim Ark case in 1898 that a person born in the US, even to two parents who not only were not citizens, but were not eligible ever to become citizens under then-current US law, was a citizen from birth under the 14th Amendment. It's different from Cruz, because the argument is that Cruz became a citizen by virtue of legislation (i.e. he was "automatically naturalized" at birth through statute), while Rubio was a birthright citizen directly under the provisions of having been born in the US subject to US jurisdiction.

You can argue that Wong Kim Ark was wrongly decided, but it's been accepted precedent for 118 years, so it is unlikely to be overturned.

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