Home 2019 Elections MEMO: Hillary’s Commanding Lead in the Primary

MEMO: Hillary’s Commanding Lead in the Primary


Just got this from the Clinton for President campaign…thought I’d pass it along as it’s a solid analysis.

To:                Interested Parties
From:            Robby Mook
Date:             March 16, 2016
Re:                Hillary’s Commanding Lead in the Primary

Last night’s decisive results were an affirmation that voters believe Hillary Clinton is the candidate who can bring Americans together. At a time when other candidates are focused on telling voters everything that is wrong in America and pushing a political strategy to win an election by dividing the country, Democrats voting last night supported the candidate who has a vision to move the country forward and real plans to get us there. The broad coalition of Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton has given her a nearly insurmountable lead in pledged delegates and we are confident that for the first time in our nation’s history, the Democratic Party will nominate a woman as their presidential nominee.

Both campaigns agreed that the measure of success for yesterday’s pivotal contests was delegates. Sen. Sanders went all out in these five states—pouring more than $8 million on TV in the last five days alone, outspending our campaign in four of the five states. He also made a decision to run an increasingly negative campaign — even naming Sec. Clinton in an ad —something he pledged he would never do.  It’s pretty clear this negative strategy backfired.

After Sen. Sanders’ sustained attempts to distort Sec. Clinton’s position on trade policies in Michigan, she made certain to set the record straight in the lead up to last night’s races. Voters—particularly in the critical battleground state of Ohio—overwhelmingly rewarded her for her commitment to defend American workers in trade deals and for being the only candidate with a clear plan to revitalize manufacturing in the country. That’s why exit polls showed that Hillary was the decisive choice for voters most concerned about the economy and jobs (60%-39%) and she won voters concerned about the negative impact of trade deals (55%-45%)

The bottom-line results from last night: Hillary Clinton’s pledged delegate lead grew by more than 40 percent, to a lead of more than 300, leaving Sen. Sanders overwhelmingly behind in the nomination contestand without a clear path to catching up.

Sec. Clinton’s pledged delegate lead of more than 300 is nearly twice as large as any lead then-Senator Obama had in 2008.

Our campaign is not only leading in pledged delegates, which Sen. Sanders’ campaign agrees is the only currency that matters to winning the nomination, but also we are heartened that we have received substantially more votesthan Sen. Sanders in the primary.

Our campaign has already received 8.4 million votes, 2.5 million more votes than Sen. Sanders has received. Voters are demonstrating their support and enthusiasm for Sec. Clinton at the ballot box at significantly higher levels than any other candidate on either side. And she continues to win with a broad and diverse coalition, which will be critical to winning in November. Looking at three key battleground states last night, Hillary won:

·         Latinos in Florida 72-28

·         African-Americans in Florida 79-20; in Ohio 68-30; and in North Carolina 81-17

·         Women in Florida 68-30; in Ohio 61-38; and in North Carolina 60-36

·         Union households in Ohio 54-46

·         White voters in Florida 52-44; and in Ohio 53-47.

A Nearly Insurmountable Lead

There were nearly 700 pledge delegates at stake last night. As a result of Hillary Clinton’s decisive double-digit victories in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, we anticipate netting more than 90 pledged delegates last night.

Looking ahead to the rest of March, Sen. Sanders is poised to have a stretch of very favorable states vote, including 5 caucuses next week, which he is likely to win, and the primary in Arizona, in which he has invested more than $1.5 million in ads. Our campaign will continue to compete in every state and will work to amass as many pledged delegates as possible everywhere. In fact, we already have staff on the ground in every state that votes through the end of April.

But our pledged delegate lead is so significant that even a string of victories by Sen. Sanders over the next few weeks would have little impact on Sec. Clinton’s position in the race.

A look at how Sec. Clinton has built up her significant lead in pledged delegates explains why: Sec. Clinton won 9 states by an average of 43 points. In these 9 states, she netted nearly 350 pledged delegates. To erase her lead, Sen. Sanders would effectively have to replicate this impressive task: he would need to win states by very large margins, including winning large states by large margins.

To have any chance of closing the gap in pledged delegates, Sen. Sanders will need to replicate the large double-digit victories Sec. Clinton accomplished below:



No. of Delegates

Clinton Margin of Victory

Delegates Netted









































The Calendar: Sen. Sanders is Running Out of Room

Beyond the challenge of winning states by overwhelming margins, Sen. Sanders’ task is made more difficult by how few opportunities he has to make up the large gap we’ve built. 45% of the remaining pledged delegates are in just three states: CA, NY and PA.


In fact, Sen. Sanders’ challenge is so significant that even winning CA, NY and PA by 20 points (60% – 40%) would still leave him more than 120 pledged delegates back of Sec. Clinton. For context, Sen. Sanders’ nine wins to date have netted him 82 delegates. Therefore, to overcome our overwhelming pledged delegate lead: Sen. Sanders needs to win CA, NY, and PA by 20 points AND rack up a string of victories that net more delegates than what he’s netted to date.


Sec. Clinton’s lead is formidable among pledged delegates. When you take into account superdelegates, it’s hard to see how Sen. Sanders makes the math work. Victories in key battleground states like Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia will only reaffirm that Hillary Clinton is the best choice to help Democrats win in November and tackle the challenges facing this country. Now, as reported in Politico this morning, Sen. Sanders’ campaign has changed their tune on the role of superdelegates and is waging an aggressive effort to sway them to their side in a bid to win the nomination. This seems like the tactics of a campaign that has all but given up on winning the nomination through pledged delegates.


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