Making sense of the polls

Making sense of the polls

Trump, Clinton crush opponents in northeast

Today, Donald Trump won majorities of the vote across all five northeastern states that voted. He won 64% in Rhode Island, 61% in Delaware, 58% in Connecticut, 57% in Pennsylvania and 54% in Maryland. Prior to getting 60% in New York last week, Trump had been winning many states, but had not won with a vote majority; he has now won six states with vote majorities.

Trump swept all 86 delegates decided by winner takes all by statewide and Congressional District (CD). These included 38 Maryland, 15 Connecticut, 16 Delaware and 17 Pennsylvania delegates. Trump also won the 13 statewide Connecticut delegates because he exceeded 50%. Ironically, Trump had his highest vote in Rhode Island, but this was the one proportional state, so he took 11 out of 19 delegates there. So Trump won 110 of the 118 pledged delegates available.

Pennsylvania elects 54 unbound CD delegates, and there is no information on the ballot paper as to who they will back. However, the Trump campaign distributed this delegate slate, and 31 of the Trump slate’s candidates won, including 21 clear supporters of Trump. In addition, 11 candidates who said they would back their CD’s winner were also elected. Given Trump swept all of Pennsylvania’s counties, he may have effectively won at least 42 of these 54 CD delegates.

A couple of weeks ago, Trump was only polling in the 40’s in Maryland and Pennsylvania, so his support increased greatly in the final weeks. Possible explanations for this are that Trump’s rivals are now mathematically eliminated, and some people would rather vote for Trump than have a contested convention. Kasich’s voters may not have turned out, especially after the deal with Cruz, who is disliked by northeastern Republicans.

Trump now has 979 delegates, to 570 for Cruz and 155 for Kasich; this count only includes Trump’s 21 clear supporters from Pennsylvania’s CDs. Trump has 49.7% of all delegates allocated so far, and needs 56% of all remaining pledged delegates to win the nomination on only pledged delegates.

The Indiana primary will be held next Tuesday (Wednesday Melbourne time). There are 57 Republican delegates, and 30 go to the statewide winner, with 3 going to the winner of each of Indiana’s 9 CDs. This delegate allocation method ensures that the winner will take a large majority of Indiana’s delegates. Given his massive poll lead in California, if Trump wins Indiana, it is very likely that he will eventually clinch the 1,237 delegates needed for an absolute majority. Today’s results have changed the Indiana equation, so that now it is Cruz who must win to have any hope of denying Trump a delegate majority.

There have been three polls conducted in Indiana, with fieldwork done before the Cruz-Kasich pact was announced. These polls have Trump leading Cruz by 5-8 points, but with Kasich in the high teens to low 20’s. The danger for Trump is if Kasich’s voters now go to Cruz, and the undecided vote also breaks for Cruz. In the past, I would have thought a Cruz win slightly more likely, but Trump just had his best day of the primary season.

Clinton wins big states easily, extending delegate lead

Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania (189 pledged delegates) 56-44 and Maryland (95) 63-33. She also won the smaller Connecticut (55) 52-47 and Delaware (21) 60-39. Her one loss was in Rhode Island (24), where Sanders won 55-43.

As a result, Clinton is likely to gain an additional 50 delegates, for an overall lead of about 285 delegates. Sanders would need about 64% of the vote across all remaining contests to win the pledged delegate count. That clearly is not going to happen, and Clinton has effectively sealed the Democratic nomination.

Compulsory preferential voting reintroduced in Queensland

At the January 2015 Queensland election, Labor won 44 of the 89 seats, to 42 for the Liberal National Party (LNP). Labor was able to form government with the support of an Independent. There is no upper house in Queensland.

Since the election, two regional Labor MPs have resigned from the Labor party, and joined the crossbench. As a result, the LNP was able to win parliamentary support for a proposal to expand parliament by four seats to 93. This would probably have helped the LNP, as the new seats were likely to be created in stronger LNP areas.

However, Labor outmanoeuvred the LNP last Thursday night 21 April, by amending the bill to propose a return to compulsory preferential voting (CPV). In general, major party voters dislike each other more than other parties, so the crossbenchers will benefit from a return to CPV, and they supported the change. Labor will benefit from a stronger flow of Greens preferences than would be the case under optional preferential.

As Queensland now has the same system as federally, it is likely that the informal rate in Queensland at Federal elections will drop, but the informal rate at Queensland state elections will increase.

A ReachTEL Queensland poll, taken last night from a sample of 1280, has the LNP leading by 52-48 using respondent allocated compulsory preferences. Primary votes are 43% for the LNP, 37% for Labor and 11% for the Greens. Respondent preferences of the Greens and Others were 61-39 to Labor.

Labor is actually doing worse under CPV than they did at the last election under optional preferential, which would result in a 50-50 tie on these primary votes according to Kevin Bonham. It is likely that non-Green Others have moved against Labor since the 2015 election, when Labor’s huge gains after preferences were the result of extreme dislike for the LNP and Campbell Newman among non-LNP voters.

In other findings, 37% thought Annastacia Palaszczuk’s performance as Premier was good, 28% average and 30% poor. For opposition leader Lawrence Springborg, these ratings were respectively 23%, 36% and 33%. Only 27% supported the reintroduction of CPV, with 62% opposed.

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