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Op-Ed

Dick Morris: Sanders, Biden Grow in Super Tuesday States

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While we all await the results of the South Carolina primary, let’s take an early peek at the polling in the states that vote on March 3.

Overall, Sanders has gained materially in almost all states. Biden has his good spots — he’s on track to win North Carolina — but is likely to do very poorly in California and Texas, which account for half of the Super Tuesday states — and 16 percent of the convention delegates.

The real casualties have been among the second tier candidates. Buttigieg and Klobuchar have left their heydays in Iowa and New Hampshire far behind as they sink down in the polls.

Bloomberg has used his massive advertising to remain competitive, but he isn’t blowing anyone out anywhere.

Here it is state by state based on the polls reported by RealClearPolitics.

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(Speaking of which, President Donald Trump has continued to post historic highs in job approval, today averaging 45.9 percent. His vault from the low-40s to the upper-mid-40s sustained during impeachment and good economic news appears to be real).

California (415 delegates)
Sanders 35
Warren 17
Biden 11
Bloomberg 10
Buttigieg 10

In California, on Feb. 20, Bernie broke out of the high-20s into the mid-30s on the strength of his debate performance. His gains came largely at Biden’s expense as he widened his lead over him from single digits to the high teens.

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Warren has run a consistent second place as Biden dropped to third. Despite his massive spending, Michael Bloomberg has never caught on in California and is mired at about 10 percent. Ditto for Buttigieg. Klobuchar is well below 10 and always has been.

California, by itself, accounts for 10 percent of the convention vote. Sanders’ dominating performance here will be very hard to overcome. Warren, who is not doing very well anyplace else, can count on California to keep her alive (even if she loses her home state of Massachusetts).

Even if Biden surges in SC today, his poor performance in California will be an anchor on his candidacy.

Texas (228 delegates)
Sanders 28
Biden  20
Bloomberg 19
Warren 13

Sanders has steadily increased his margin over Biden. At the end of January, he replaced the former VP in first place in Texas and on Feb. 20 began to lengthen his lead.

With 6 percent of the delegates coming from Texas, Sanders’ performance — coupled with that in California — makes his lead insurmountable.

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After falling from the 30s to 20 percent in mid-February, Biden has never recovered. Unless South Carolina gives him a tremendous boost, he could finish third in Texas.

That’s partially because Bloomberg is coming on strong. Texas is the second most expensive state in which to buy television (after California) and his money talks loudly here. Nobody else can compete with his airtime. In Texas, Bloomberg soared rapidly into the high teens and low 20s, but has stalled out there.

Warren is in the mid teens, Buttigieg at about 10, and Klobuchar at 5, and they have always been at about those levels.

Between California and Texas, Dems should stop taking Buttigieg or Klobuchar seriously.

North Carolina (110 delegates)
Biden 33
Sanders 25
Bloomberg 17
Warren 11

Perhaps impelled by his momentum in South Carolina, Biden has just wrestled the lead here away from Sanders, a key win for Joe if it stands.

Virginia (99 delegates)
Sanders 25
Biden 20
Bloomberg 20
Buttigieg 11
Warren 10

Sanders has moved up smartly here.

Minnesota (75 delegates)
Klobuchar 29
Sanders 23
Warren 11

The media says Amy Klobuchar will have to drop out if she loses her home state. She’ll probably win Minnesota but have to pull out anyway.

Massachusetts (91 delegates)
Sanders 25
Warren 20
Buttigieg 14
Bloomberg 11
Biden 11

By the same logic as Klobuchar faces in Minnesota, the media wants Elizabeth Warren to pull to if she loses Massachusetts, as appears likely. But her showing in California, where she is running second, should keep her in.

So Sanders should emerge as the clear Super Tuesday winner. But while he is increasingly assured of a strong plurality, he is still short of a majority.

California will help equip Warren with enough votes to deal with Sanders exchanging a majority for the VP slot, although they both have a ways to go.

Biden’s dismal performance in California should sap whatever momentum he’ll get from South Carolina.

Bloomberg is not sweeping all before him as he spends enormous sums of money, but he is buying himself a solid third place behind Sanders and Biden.

Buttigieg and Klobuchar should pull out entirely.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.




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