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The West Virginia Democratic Primary Protest Vote and Bernie Sanders

The day of the West Virginia primary, I posted this article predicting an especially large number of ballots to be cast for candidates other than Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.  Overall I expected Sanders to win by double digits due to demographics, but that the main story would be how many voters rejected both candidates.   When the results came in, we did indeed see the largest share of the vote for non-Clinton or Sanders so far, 12.7%. Continue Reading


West Virginia Democratic Primary Poised to have high protest vote

West Virginia and the Democratic Presidential Primary

Today is the West Virginia Presidential Primary.  With Trump having secured the Republican nomination and already leading polls in the state by wide margins, most attention is focused on the Democratic side.   While Clinton still stands poised to win the Democratic nomination, Sander’s is favored in West Virginia.   Continue Reading

Elections, Florida

Florida Primary Preview

Florida’s presidential primary is right around the corner.  This article will look at both primaries as Trump tries to knock Rubio out in his home state and Clinton aims to rack up a big win to secure her delegate lead. Continue Reading

Elections, Florida

Media Market Analysis: Can Georgia and Alabama Primary results foretell North Florida?

Super Tuesday delivered strong for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Both candidates walked away with large delegate leads many states in their column.  Both did especially well in the southern primaries.   Trump won several of the southern primaries with double digit wins and Clinton dominated the south, getting more than 60% in Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia.

Florida’s primary is 2 weeks away and the Alabama and Georgia results may offer a clue at at how the northern region of the state may vote.  Georgia and Alabama share three media markets with Florida, which include 21 of Florida’s 67 counties.

North Media

People living in these counties share news, ads and their geographic proximity links them.  The borders of the state do not stop the culture from merging.

As Florida Media guru Kevin Cate says regarding the Republican primary,

“Republican primary voters in these counties are sharing the same news, same jobs, and same lifestyles with many of their neighbors in North Florida.  Lower Alabama and Georgia voters are a predictor of how many North Florida voters have already, or will be voting.  Outliers may include Leon, Duval, an Clay, but when you start getting further outside of the population centers, the more similar the Republican primary electorate becomes — and they love Donald Trump.”

Cate is correct, the North Florida counties, many of them sharing a media market, are more conservative and rural, two groups Ted Cruz, but much more so Donald Trump, have done well with.  It is a region and block of voters that Rubio, however, has done especially poor with.  Rubio’s best groups are moderates and more urban/suburban settings — which are limited in the northern end of Florida.  Moderates only made up 18% in Georgia and 20% in Alabama, and Rubio still lost these voters to Trump by double digits.  Cruz’s struggle to stay in the game is hurt by Trump starting to tie or beat him with ‘Very Conservative’ voters, as he did on Super Tuesday in these two states.  This region is also an area where Gingrich did very well against Mitt Romney in 2012, further cementing the regions conservative bent.

2012 Republican Presidential Primary


On the Democratic side, the results give Clinton reason to believe her Florida showing, already polling at a 20% win, will include strong showings in North Florida.  Clinton dominated in both Georgia and Alabama, getting over 70% of the vote.  Clinton won whites and got over 80% of African-Americans across the south.


Sanders has been counting on winning less-educated working class whites, and while it appears that plan worked in Oklahoma, it did not play out well in the other southern states.

The Three Markets

Lets look at each of the three media markets that Florida shares.  First up is the market shared with Alabama


Republican Primary

The market covers the coastal and some inland counties in Alabama that sit right next to Florida’s western panhandle.  Trump won a resounding victory in Alabama’s Mobile market, getting 46% of the vote, with Cruz and Rubio all the way down at 19-18%.  Clinton, meanwhile, got 80% of the vote, winning every county and racking up a huge margin in Mobile.  The market in Alabama and Florida has large coastal communities and strong military presence via bases.   It is not hard to see the market as a whole voting similar across state lines.  Romney managed modest wins in Okaloosa in 2012, but that was followed by winning Mobile and Baldwin in the Alabama primary.  With Rubio tanking in both of those large Alabama counties, its unclear how well he will do well across the state line.  That will be a test of his home field advantage.

Democratic Primary

For each market I grabbed voter registration figures by race.  Alabama and Georgia do not have party registration, so to be consistent my Florida figures are also not broken down by party.  The Alabama region was much more African-American, which could allow Sanders to do better in the Florida region of the market.  However, for Sanders the question will be what the racial makeup of the closed Democratic primary is.  In 2014 the primary in the Florida section of this market was 33% African-American.  The market in Alabama may have been more African-American in Democratic primary turnout since many of the whites cast votes on the GOP side, but exact figures are not available yet.


The next market to look at is the Tallahassee – Thomasville Market

Tally Thomasville

Republican Primary

This market include the rural conservative counties of North Florida and South Georgia that surround Tallahassee and Thomasville. The results were similar to Alabama – a solid Trump win and a Clinton dominating.  Trump, like Gingrich, could do very well in the rural counties around Tallahassee (which will likely back Rubio).  Cruz did better in this market than in Alabama thanks to large Evangelical voters in the region, which will also be a factor in the counties surrounding Tallahassee.  Cruz could still do decent in the Florida counties in this market, while Rubio may not find many friends out of the capital.  Rubio’s only hope for this market is to rack up a large margin in Tallahassee to offset loses elsewhere.

Democratic Primary

Clinton is poised to do well in the market by winning African-Americans and holding her own with rural whites.  The demographics of these two region are closer as well across the state line.  In Florida’s portion of the market, over 43% of the Democratic Primary in 2014 was African-American, which is probably similar to what the share of the Georgia primary vote was.   This all points to a solid Clinton win in the market, though the margin will likely be determined by African-American turnout and how the large white liberal population of Tallahassee votes.  Sanders will be banking on large student turnout at FSU, TCC, and a good showing with FAMU students.

And last, the Jacksonville market

Jacks Brunswhich

Republican Primary

The Jacksonville and Tallahassee markets are fairly similar, with Trump winning big and Clinton dominating.  The Florida portions of this market are more dominated by Jacksonville and its suburbs, which will be important for Rubio as he tries to not get flat-lined in the North.  Rubio may do much better in this market than he did in the Georgia half, as suburbs in Duval, St Johns, and Clay should be friendly to him.  However, if Trump takes these regions or ties Rubio, then the Senator will be in for a long night in Florida.  Expect Rubio to fair poorly in the rural counties on the outskirts of the market.

Democratic Primary

Clinton has a solid win in the Georgia portion of the market, but it was he weakest showing of the three.  The lower African-American share is one key culprit.  The Florida market has similar demographics, meaning Sanders could have a better showing here.  However, the closed Democratic primary in Florida in 2014 for this market was 38%, which is likely similar to the Georgia half (like Alabama we dont have turnout figures yet).  If Clinton keeps up her trend of dominating with African-Americans and doing decent with whites, she will win this market.  However, Sanders would be able to shift the margin (though not likely win) with student turnout at the University of North Florida and by doing well with the liberal communities in Jacksonville.  That said, Clinton is still a favorite to win this region with a healthy margin.


With two weeks to Florida it is entirely possible different dynamics could emerge to change these projections.  Nevertheless, the Alabama and Georgia results give us an opportunity to see how the voters of North Florida, especially outside the urban areas, are inclined to vote.  These results are good for Trump and Clinton and bad for Sanders and Rubio.  Unless things change quick, the Florida panhandle could be Clinton and Trump country on March 15th.



Updated Handicapping of Democratic Presidential Primary States

Today is March 1st, the long-awaited SEC primary.  This seemed like a good time to do a quick update on where things stand in the fight for the Democratic nomination.  Increases in polling and and the first four primary states provide a clearer picture on the next two weeks of voting.  I highly recommend you read my initial analysis, where I went in depth on each states ranking and the issue of non-white voter preference. Continue Reading


Handicapping the Democratic Primaries from Iowa through March 15th

With the Iowa caucuses one week away, coverage and poll releases for the Democratic Primary for President have reached a fever pitch.  According to nationwide polling, Hillary Clinton maintains a double digit lead over liberal firebrand Bernie Sanders.  However, polls in Iowa are neck and neck and Sanders leads in New Hampshire.  The possibility of Sanders winning the first two states is real, as both are heavily influenced by white liberals, a key group of Sanders backers.  However, past those states is where things shift more to Clinton’s favor… at least right now.  This article will look at every primary state from Iowa to March 15, where several big states will vote on the same day, and assess who is likely to win based on current trends. Continue Reading

Congressional, Elections, Florida, Redistricting

The New Florida 5th: There’s a feeling I get as I look to the West

Now that Florida’s Supreme Court has signed off on a Congressional map, the voters of Florida can finally know what districts they live in.  For voters in North Florida, this means dramatic changes to their current political situation.  Many voters west of Walton County will find themselves either in a safe Republican seat that stretches from Bay to Marion, the Florida 2nd; or a safe Democratic seat that goes from Gadsden to Jacksonville, the Florida 5th.  The new 5th district is designed to be an African-American district, replacing the Jacksonville to Orlando configuration of the past. Continue Reading

Elections, Florida, Redistricting

Florida Redistricting: The Process is Broken and it is Time for a Change

If you were waiting for more evidence that an independent or bipartisan redistricting commission is needed in Florida, the last several months have proved it.  Florida continues to have no finalized Congressional or State Senate maps, leaving local election officials hamstrung as they gear up for a Presidential Primary just around the corner.  The Congressional Maps were just approved by the Supreme Court last week, however, a federal lawsuit from some parties may be brewing.  Meanwhile the trial on the Senate maps has yet to even begin.   Continue Reading

Elections, Other

No Facts Behind Claims that the Kentucky Gubernatorial Election was Rigged

Not long after the ink was dry on articles declaring Matt Bevin the winner of the Kentucky Gubernatorial Election, a conspiracy theory arose that the election must have been rigged.  Heading into the election, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway had a small lead over Bevin, a Republican businessman whose campaign struggles and clashes with the RGA had been well-documented.  The Huffington Post polling average placed Bevin at 40% and Conway at 43%.   When the election was over, Bevin won with 53% to Conway’s 44%.

Continue Reading