Hello, I'm Will Jordan and welcome to The Pulse.
Today voters head to the polls in Indiana. The Here are some things you should know:
Where do things stand now?
For the Democrats: After winning four out of five primaries last week, Hillary Clinton has 1,665 pledged delegates, while Bernie Sanders has 1,370. Including superdelegates, Clinton is at 2,163 – 91% of the way to 2,383.
For the Republicans: Donald Trump swept all five of the latest northeastern contests, putting him close to 1,000 (Republican delegate rules make it a bit harder to be exact). Ted Cruz is just below 600, while John Kasich is at around 150.
Before last week, it looked like a must-win for Trump in the Hoosier state, a winner-take-all primary and one of the last big-ish delegate hauls (57) until June. Then The Donald posted yuge margins across the Northeast – so large, in fact, that it suggested a fundamental shift in the race. So now, rather than a must-win for Trump, Indiana has become a must-win for the "Stop Trump" Movement. Meanwhile polls show Trump ahead by 14 points.
Did the VP announcement help Ted Cruz–at all?
In announcing Carly Fiorina as his running mate, Cruz basically played the last card he had, apparently in an effort to change the conversation from Trump's big wins. But Fiorina herself was not very popular when she dropped out of the race, while Cruz’s own popularity with Republicans has been in free fall recently, so the decision seems unlikely to give him a direct boost in the polls. There is no evidence that the momentum has shifted his way (and his “alliance” with Kasich probably backfired, according to one recent poll).
What about the Democrats?
Indiana (92 delegates) is, demographically, a relatively favorable state for Bernie Sanders. In polling averages, he trails Clinton by around 8 points. If he wants to start catching up with Clinton, however, he needs to win by more like 30 points. That's why you might have heard him talking about recruiting superdelegates. It's also why Clinton has effectively pivoted to the general election and turned her attention to Trump. (She is not even airing ads in the upcoming primary states.)
Will Bernie keep the flame alive?
Sanders has indicated he will stay in the race at least until the last states vote on June 7th. Regular Democrats seem fine with this. A new poll has him trailing by 19 points in California, the biggest state left, but he can probably expect to do very well in states like Oregon, Montana and South Dakota, and additional delegates will give Sanders more leverage if he wants to push for changes to the Democratic Party platform or its nominating rules.
Something else: the Black Lives Matter candidate
The Black Lives Matter movement began back in 2012, following the killing of teen Trayvon Martin. But the movement has been increasingly active in politics, and has, according to the latest YouGov/Economist poll, divided the public: 31% of Americans support BLM, while 32% oppose it. Supporters who are registered to vote were also asked about their preference in the Democratic primary, and it broke down like this: Bernie Sanders 47%, Hillary Clinton 43%. Importantly this group includes everyone who supports the movement, and "supporters" may not look like the activists who publicly represent the group; most are white, and half are over 45.
Author's note: I'll be on vacation next Tuesday, so there will be no Pulse for a week.
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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!).