Two weeks ago, I discussed Iowa’s prior election polling problems, and why polls in the Hawkeye state are so often wrong. Are Iowan’s late deciders, did Donald Trump skipping the debate really matter, is the method of the caucus outdated, or are there other factors that affected the election. Read More!
South Carolina is very similar to Iowa in that it is inconsistent in choosing the eventual respective Democratic and Republican nomination. In 1988, Jesse Jackson won with approximately 55% of the vote, defeating Al Gore. Michael Dukakis was the eventual nomination. In 2012, Newt Gingrich won the primary with 40% of the Republican Primary vote, easily defeating Mitt Romney.
If history is any indicator, South Carolina will not tell us anything new about the presumptive nominee. Sure a candidate or two might drop out (looking at you Jeb (Jeb!) Bush). What is known today will probably still be known after the results are in. But again if history is any indicator, we should already know the two leading candidates in each party from last week’s New Hampshire primary.
New Hampshire (unlike South Carolina or Iowa) has been excellent at picking the eventual nominee. In every single New Hampshire Primary for both Democrats and Republicans, the eventual nominee came in either first or second place. That’s a perfect 32 for 32 in all New Hampshire Primaries dating back to 1948. So if history repeats itself again this election cycle, it will either be Donald Trump or John Kasich accepting the Republican nomination. Unsurprisingly, it will also be either Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton accepting the Democratic nomination.
New Hampshire is traditionally a swing state that does not reliably vote for any one party and has an electorate fairly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Typically cooler heads prevail, unlike Iowa or South Carolina. New Hampshire does a better job at representing national sentiment, rarely veering too far left or right versus the rest of the nation. From that, you may be seeing a national trend or two. There is a total of 2,472 delegates at stake to the Republican National convention. So far, only 50 delegates have been doled out to candidates, representing just of 2% of the total delegates. This might be a function of a sample size too small or this might be a truly unique primary. If that’s the case, then Super Tuesday on March 1st might provide a better sample size. But if history sets a precedent, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson might want to start preparing their concession speeches.