Hello, I'm Will Jordan and welcome to The Pulse.
Welcome back! There are no meaningful primaries* today, but here are some things you should know:
Where do things stand now?
Republicans: Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee.
Democrats: Hillary Clinton is still in primary limbo. Her 1,771 to 1,497 lead in pledged delegates is almost impossible for Bernie Sanders to overcome. Add in superdelegates, and she is less than 100 delegates away from the 2,383 needed to win, with over 930 left to be given out.
When will it end?
“It” meaning the Democratic Primary. Barring campaign catastrophe, Clinton is most likely to pass the 2,383 threshold (including superdelegates) on June 7th, when the majority of the remaining states vote. Demographics and a smattering of polls suggest comfortable margins for Clinton in New Jersey and California, which combine for nearly two-thirds of the remaining delegates.
Assuming that’s how things play out, the lingering question is whether Sanders officially concedes sometime in early June – or as he has suggested he might, take it all the way to the convention where the delegates will actually cast their votes in late July.
What do the Berners want?
Sanders has reportedly been given “unprecedented say over the Democratic party platform” which will be decided at the Philadelphia convention. Increasing leverage in fights like this is likely a big part of why he has stayed in the race. Party platforms are less influential than they used to be – presidential candidates are under no obligation to adopt the policies outlined. But it would give Sanders a chance to bend the party’s direction to the left in a lasting way; policies he has listed as priorities include a carbon tax, recognition of health care as a “right”, and breaking up the big banks. This selection overlaps considerably with the issues Sanders supporters cited as very important to them in last week’s YouGov/Economist poll.
This week saw the release of some headline-grabbing polls showing a tightening national race, including a couple with Trump slightly ahead of Clinton. The first general election wave of the YouGov/CBS Battleground Tracker showed close races in Florida and Ohio. As we discussed last week, one part of this may be asymmetry in the nominating process: Republicans have “come home” to the GOP nominee, while some Sanders diehards don’t want to say they would support Clinton, depressing her numbers. It may also suggest this will simply be a more normal race than many expected.
Let me explain. For a little while the #NeverTrump movement and GOP divisions made it look like the party might be historically divided in November. This meant 2016 might buck a recent trend where fewer and fewer Republican- and Democrat-leaning voters crossing over to vote for a presidential candidate from the other side. Because America is fairly evenly divided between these two groups, elections tend to be close. Only if Trump scrambles this dynamic is a “landslide” Clinton victory (or Trump victory) plausible.
But as The Huffington Post’s Natalie Jackson noted recently, recent polls show Democrats and Republicans supporting their parties likely nominees in similarly high numbers. Will #NeverTrump fade into #EventuallyTrump by November? If so, it will probably be a relatively close election – and one Trump could win.
Something else: How could you, mom?
Another sign of how divided the country has become: 39% of Americans say they “cannot understand” how someone could vote for Hillary Clinton – and 42% say the same for Donald Trump. The same poll found a quarter of Americans say they have argued with a family member about the 2016 election. A quarter have also argued with a friend.
Six more months to go.
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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!).