Don't Bet on It

Rich Galen
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Posted: Mar 09, 2016 12:07 PM
Don't Bet on It

As you know, I am a huge fan of Real Clear Politics' (www.realclearpolitics.com) average of polls. It is a handy place to quickly check on whose leading, where, and by how much.

RCP doesn't conduct the polling, they just collect them and report.

How helpful is this? In the run-up to the Democrat primary election in Michigan, there were three polls that had relevance in terms of their timing. They showed, on average, Hillary Clinton winning by over 21 percentages points.

One poll, taken on the day before actual voting, showed Clinton winning by 27 percentage points, 61-34.

They juuuuust missed.

When actual people voted, Bernie Sanders won by 1.7 percentage points.

That's how bookies drive Maseratis.

Clinton won Mississippi overwhelmingly so she stretched out her delegate lead. She now leads Sanderes by 650 votes, 1,221 to 571.

But, Sanders, who raised an astonishing $40 million plus in February has plenty of money to stay in the race and, more importantly, to continue forcing Clinton to her left. Sanders, for example, is far closer to Trump on trade issues then to Clinton.

On the R side, its Trump, Trump, Trump the Boys are Marching - to misquote a Civil War era song.

The numbers crunchers are working to see what the combinations and permutations of delegate counts might be to see whether there will be a contested (not necessarily brokered) convention in Cleveland this July.

Having already mentioned the pointlessness of trying to project outcomes this year, it appears certain that with Donald Trump's wins on March 8 coupled with the disappointing results for Marco Rubio (shut out) and John Kasich (a third-place finish in Michigan) that Ted Cruz is his only credible opponent.

Trump, according to the NY Times, won 71 delegates to Cruz' 56 so Trump has a lead of 99 delegates.

The final day of primary voting for Republicans is June 7 when California's 172 delegates will be at stake in a winner-take-all contest.

If no one has reached the magic delegate count of 1,231, then the horse-trading will begin both on- and off-the-record.

The major donors, and senior staffs will meet each other in bars, restaurants and even parking garages to try and made the best deal for their guys.

It is illegal to promise a Federal job in return for doing someone or not doing something. I'm not sure where a promise of Secretary of State from the Obama people to the Hillary Clinton people falls, but I'll be it would have been seen as a fuzzy, fuzzy line.

So, no one will say to Rubio "Release your delegates to us and we'll nominate you for …" But, it might be legal to ask, "What would it take for you to release your delegates to us?" on the grounds the request might be extra tickets for the VIP section at the convention, not a seat on the Supreme Court.

With almost six weeks between the end of primary voting and the beginning of delegate voting, there is plenty of time for offers and counter offers.

If Trump is in the 50 - 75 range short of a majority, it is likely his highly touted negotiation skills will allow him to sweep up enough delegates to win on a first ballot in Cleveland.

But if, assuming Rubio and then Kasich drop out leaving Cruz the lone challenger, we might be in for round-the-clock voting on the convention floor.

As we learned on Tuesday night, trying to predict what will happen in 24 hours, much less over the next three months might be fun, but don't put any money on it.

Lad Link: Here's Reed Galen's (@ReedGalen) smart look at the state of play after the March 8 primaries.