March 15 primary predictions

March 14, 2016, 9:23 p.m. | By Eleanor Cook, Charles Lott, Maximillian Foley-Keene, Neida Mbuia Joao | 8 years, 1 month ago

Primary season is upon us and this year's race to see who will qualify for the race for the presidency has been quite a surprising one. Most initial analysis of this race saw it passing by mundanely, with Hillary Clinton easily clinching the nomination, her challengers a mere blip on the supposed plans of the democratic establishment. Four years ago, no one expected Bernie Sanders to pose a serious threat to Clinton. Upon his entrance into the race, most expected Donald Trump to be a passing joke, something for late night hosts to make fun of as his candidacy crashed and burned. No one, least of all the moderate conservative Republican establishment, expected Trump, with his demagogic presentation and extremist ideology, to be a serious contender for the nomination. This race has been nearly unpredictable from the start, but SCO's team of experts, featuring seniors Max Foley-Keene and Neida Mbuia-Joao and juniors Eleanor Cook and Charlie Lott are here to break down the races and predict the unpredictable.

This week's primary prediction will focus on the Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio primaries. In one week we will post the predictions for the Arizona, Idaho Democrats and Utah primaries.

Florida (GOP primary is winner-take-all)

Max: Clinton and Trump
Neida: Clinton and if there is any mercy in the world, Rubio
Eleanor: Clinton and Trump
Charlie: Trump and Clinton

Max says: If Hillary Clinton created her ideal state to run in, that state would look a lot like Florida. Florida is very diverse, and its white voters skew older. Easy win for the Hill. While I appreciate Neida's faith in the people of Florida, I think it is very unlikely Rubio wins this one. He's behind in the polls the same amount as Bernie was in Michigan and, seeing that Bernie winning Michigan was the biggest polling upset in two decades, I have trouble seeing Rubio making up that ground. This will be a huge win for Trump and will essentially end Rubio's campaign.

Neida says: Hillary Clinton is basically dominating the entire Southern United States, as was expected. I fully expect her to continue that trend in Florida. As far as the GOP race is concerned, Florida's 99 delegates are to be claimed by one contender, and if mercy serves that contender will be Marco Rubio. Polls show Trump at the head of the race in Florida, with Cruz in second place. But this election has been notoriously unpredictable and since Rubio needs Florida to keep his campaign afloat, I see his fellow Floridians coming through for him when he needs them.

Eleanor says: Florida is always weird to predict - what with its disproportionate elderly population, diverse racial demographics, and wide span of incomes. Luckily for Hillary, those first two groups like her. She should do fine. Sadly for Rubio, in the Republican primary, Trump will win. He is polling quite well and Rubio, the only other candidate who may have had a chance, is averaging just under 20 points behind him. After a loss in Rubio's home state, we might want to start watching out for his withdrawal speech.

Charlie says: Florida is a racially diverse, southern state with a lot of old people, which makes it an easy win for Clinton over Sanders. The Republican primary should be very interesting here, because Rubio has been focusing considerable effort on winning his home state. If he fails to take Florida, which the polls seem to suggest he will, it will be the final nail in the coffin for the Rubio campaign.


Max: Sanders and Trump
Neida: Clinton and Trump
Eleanor: Bernie and Trump
Charlie: Trump and Sanders

Max says: On the democratic side, this race is pretty confusing. One poll has Hillary up by 47 percent. Another has Sanders up by two. What?? I'll throw this one to him. On the GOP side, it looks like the three non-Trump candidates are running pretty neck-and-neck. This is good for Trump. And, as Neida explains below, a big win in Illinois could be key for Trump--perhaps making up for a loss in Ohio.

Neida says: I find Illinois to be a bit more predictable than the other March 15 states. Poll numbers out of the state have been fairly steady and Trump has emerged as the clear frontrunner in the GOP race. Expect this to be a fairly mundane primary race.
However, if the race does end up going the other way and Trump ends up losing most of Illinois' delegates to say, Cruz (or Rubio?) Illinois' proportional distribution of delegates could make Trump's journey to the nomination just that much more difficult.

Eleanor says: For this election, Trump is set. He's out (though not too far out) of striking distance from any of the other candidates in the polls, and Illinois, like its neighbors to the south - Kentucky - and northeast - Michigan - has really rallied around him in the past few months. As for the Democratic race, things are a bit more tricky. Clinton is barely leading in the polls, but if Illinois is anything like Michigan (which it kind of is) then everyone may be underestimating Sanders. This will be a close one, but I think Sanders will emerge victorious.

Charlie says: Sanders really surprised me on Super Tuesday. After Clinton beat him handily in the Southern primaries, she started her national campaign, but Sanders' recent results have opened the door a crack. The Illinois democratic primary is anybody's game, and Sanders seems to win the coin flips in the north. The Republican side once again features Trump as the frontrunner, and among the other candidates there is no clear leader, which bodes well for the Trump campaign.


Max: Bernie and Cruz
Neida: Bernie and Cruz
Eleanor: Sanders and Trump
Charlie: Trump and Sanders

Max says: You know what's annoying? There have been about a billion polls of Florida, where Trump is definitely going to win, and about none in Missouri. Come on pollsters! Anyway, I think Missouri will be close on both sides. Bernie performed very well in Iowa and Oklahoma, which are geographically and demographically similar to Missouri. I'll give him the edge in this matchup. Similarly, Cruz won both Iowa and Kansas--Missouri's neighbors. It is a very bad sign for Cruz if Trump pulls away with a victory in Missouri.

Neida says: Missouri is a bit of a wild card because we haven't seen any useful predictions out of the state since August. That being said, wishful thinking leads me to hand Missouri to Cruz rather than Trump. Losing Missouri could put Trump in a bit of a pickle, especially if he also loses Ohio and a majority of Illinois. I see Missouri's large evangelical population delivering the state to Cruz. Sanders and Clinton seem pretty close in Missouri, but if Sanders' somewhat surprising win in Minnesota, another wild card state where he and Clinton were fairly close, is any indication, he can probably clinch Missouri as well.

Eleanor says: Missouri is the kind of state in which Sanders does well. It is predominantly white, not too old, and has pretty liberal liberals. As far as the Republican primary, Trump does well in states with less well-educated voters, and, according to the Census Bureau, only about 26.7 percent of Missourians over the age of 25 has a bachelor's degree or higher.

Charlie says: Sanders has been polling pretty well in Missouri, and it's another one of these southern states without much diversity. He surprised me in Oklahoma, and I'd guess he surprises me with this one, too. Trump is ahead of Cruz by a hair in Missouri, and the most recent polls have not included the recent news of Christie and Carson hitching their wagons to the Trump parade, which means that voters could switch directly over to his campaign. I have to side with Trump whenever it's close, simply because of his record thus far.

North Carolina

Max: Clinton and Trump
Neida: Clinton and Trump
Eleanor: Clinton and Trump
Charlie: Trump and Clinton

Max says: Another southern state (although it's the last one to vote this election season) and another massive win for Hillary. This won't be close. The GOP race will be a bit more close, but not by much. Trump has lead consistently in the polls, averaging a double digit lead over Ted Cruz. Since North Carolina awards its delegates proportionally, the margin of victory really matters here.

Neida says: Much of the North Carolinian population remains unaffiliated as of this year's primary, and that is in part because many of the voters there are moderate. On the Democratic side, Bernie's borderline-Socialism doesn't seem as though it will hit home with the state's moderate liberal base. On the other hand, Trump's ideology and campaign messages this year have been nothing if not extreme and he still leads the polls as far as the North Carolina Republican primary is concerned. Maybe this speaks to a larger tendency for the American conservative population to be more extreme. Whatever the case, expect Trump to take home the North Carolina primary.

Eleanor says: There is little that stands in the way of Clinton or Trump and large portions of the 107 Democratic delegates or the 72 Republican ones. Although North Carolina is slightly more white than South Carolina, and although it is a bit less of a southern state, the majority of the voters closely aligned politically with their neighbors to the south, so we should see a repeat of South Carolina and Georgia. The question is not who will win, but rather by how much.

Charlie says: South Carolina was a cake walk for Clinton, and North Carolina is very similar. Sanders will keep a bit closer in the latter than he did in the former. On the Republican side, Trump has been campaigning hard in North Carolina, and he has a big lead on Cruz. I've been picking him to win the toss ups, so there's no reason not to jot him down for the shoo-ins.

Ohio (GOP primary is winner-take-all)

Max: Clinton and Kasich
Neida: Bernie and Kasich
Eleanor: Clinton and Kasich
Charlie: Trump and Clinton

Max says: For the Democrats, this state reminds me a bit of Michigan. They're both "Rust Belt" states and, leading up to election day, Hillary led the polls in both. If the Michigan result means something, Bernie may win. If it's a fluke (and I tend to think it is), Hillary will win. For the Republicans, this primary is huge! If Trump wins, he will probably win the nomination outright. If he loses, there will probably be a contested convention. I can't even express how excited I am for Ohio to vote. In all the recent polls, Kasich has either tied Trump or led him narrowly. Since Trump has a tendency to underperform his polls (as he loses among late-deciding voters) and Marco Rubio has suggested that his supporters should vote for Kasich, I think Kasich will win this one. Gosh, this will be fun.

Neida says: I believe in Ohio. Mostly I believe that Ohio can pull through for John Kasich. He need Ohio like Rubio needs Florida. If both are able to keep their home states out of Trump's clutches, it could potentially pose the first real challenge to Trump's campaign. Sanders seems to be performing well in the midwest while Clinton is performing well in the south. Based on that, and in spite of Clinton's five-point lead, I think Sanders can capture Ohio.

Eleanor says: This is Kasich's home state, and what with Rubio essentially saying that voters who wish to take down Trump should vote for Kasich, he should get the extra votes he needs to eek out a win. For Clinton, this one will be closer than she is hoping. She is leading by Sanders by as few as five points in some polls, but she nonetheless has a lead. After Michigan, she really needs to win to re-establish herself as the clear frontrunner of the Democratic race.

Charlie says:

I went with Sanders in Illinois, and Ohio is similarly close, so I'll toss this one to Clinton. She is leading in the polls, but Sanders has come back from worse, so this is really anybody's game. Trump is running away with the Republican nomination, and any talk of a contested convention is ludicrous. If Trump continues to win at this clip, the GOP will have no choice but to nominate him for fear of the people's reaction and the possibility of his running as an independent. Kasich would have to win this state to have any remote chance, but I really don't think Trump will lose to Kasich, even with Rubio's recent statements.

Tags: predictions Donald Trump Marco Rubio Hillary Clinton 2016 election Bernie Sanders John Kasich

Eleanor Cook. Hi! I'm super excited to be an Editor-in-Chief of SCO this year. When I'm not managing this site I enjoy playing soccer, basketball, and running track, and am an avid reader and Harry Potter fan. Have fun reading about the latest Blair events! More »

Charles Lott. My name is Charlie, and I'm the features editor for Silver Chips Online. I enjoy reading, using Oxford commas, and playing frisbee for Blair. More »

Maximillian Foley-Keene. Hello! My name is Max and I'm an Editor in Chief for SCO this year. I like writing about what I think, especially current events, American foreign and economic policy. I also like music (jazz and 2000s post-punk are my favorites), art (Wassily Kandinsky is … More »

Neida Mbuia Joao. Welcome to SCO! I'm Neida (pronounced Neigh-duh) and I'm the online opinion editor for the site. My favorite pass-times include snacking, reading super dense novels and watching lots of television. Clearly I'm on track to become a vegetable. If so I'd like to be a … More »

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