Hello, I'm Will Jordan and welcome to The Pulse.
It's not quite a super Tuesday, but today is still an important day in the 2016 presidential primaries. Here are some things you should know:
Who votes today?
For Republicans: Arizona (58 delegates), Utah (40) and – don’t forget – American Samoa has a convention (9 delegates, but they’re unbound).
For Democrats: Arizona (85), Idaho Caucus (27) and Utah (37).
Where will those delegates go?
The Democratic delegates are, as usual, given out on a proportional basis. Bernie Sanders, who has performed well in the caucus states Obama dominated in 2008, is a favorite in Idaho. He's also a strong favorite in Utah. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton is favored in Arizona, meaning she has a chance to make up some of the ground likely to be lost in Idaho and Utah.
Utah on the Republican side is also proportional – unless a candidate wins over 50% of the vote statewide, as Ted Cruz is widely expected to do, at which point it becomes winner-take-all. Arizona is winner-take-all no matter what, and Donald Trump is favored there. Cruz currently trails Trump by 256 delegates, 424 to 680, with John Kasich at 143.
So you're saying there's a chance?
Last week, we wondered whether Bernie Sanders could pull off a Michigan-style surprise in the five states voting on March 15. He didn’t. Clinton swept all five, though he did perform surprisingly well in North Carolina and kept it close in Illinois and even closer in Missouri. He also picked up 9 of 13 delegates from Democrats living abroad. To catch up now he needs to win roughly 58% of the remaining delegates. That’s a big ('yuge' you might say) turnaround for a candidate who has only won about 42% so far, even when considering the map gets much more favorable for Bernie over the next month (including several Caucus states and favorable demographics in the Mountain West and Pacific Northwest). There’s a reason his campaign has started talking openly about poaching Clinton-aligned superdelegates.
Is Trump still winning, winning, winning?
Donald Trump won four of five states last week, including Florida, dealing the fatal blow to Marco Rubio’s campaign, but not including Ohio. Trump needs about 60% of the remaining 900 delegates to win without a contested convention. Thanks the number of winner-take-all contests from this point on, reaching the 1,237-delegate threshold is still plausible, but Trump has vanishingly little room for error. Put another way, he can win by performing as well as he has so far. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, needs to improve on his past performance, probably by consolidating Rubio supporters and, perhaps, Kasich supporters who might vote tactically to beat Trump in certain states.
The general election. Too soon?
According to the HuffPost Pollster aggregate, Clinton leads Trump by around 10 points in a head-to-head, and it’s trending Clinton’s way. However, with 230 days until the November election, there is still some time to go until match-ups like these are actually predictive of election outcomes. But Clinton’s advantage is borne out in other ways – while Clinton and Trump are both historically unpopular as potential nominees, Clinton’s -13 favorability rating is dwarfed by Trump’s -29 rating. And while Sanders’s supporters are increasingly sour on Clinton, Democrats appear much more prepared to rally around their party’s nominee, whoever it is, than Republicans appear to be.
Something else: Is it OK to use the F-word?
In a poll on violence at Trump rallies (Americans are divided on whether Trump, his supporters, or protesters are most to blame), YouGov also asked about a claim made by some observers that the campaign has “fascist undertones”. 49% of Americans agree it does. While it’s less than surprising most Democrats (71%) are onboard with a unfavorable statement about Trump, 45% of independents and 28% of Republicans also agree with the fascist association.
Follow me for constant updates on the race, and other good stuff too.
The Pulse is a weekly newsletter YouGov has launched ahead of the 2016 primaries and general election to give readers a one-stop-shop for the latest polling-related news from the campaign. In addition to YouGov’s own extensive coverage of the election, The Pulse gives you the five things you need to know about the state of the campaign each week (and one you don't need to know but we think is worth knowing anyway!).