Mike Bloomberg heads into Super Tuesday with a massive advertising spending differential in his favor, but he’s not leading in the polls.
However, watch for the number 15% to be key. That’s the percentage a candidate needs to get delegates out of Super Tuesday. Can Bloomberg break 15%? Many of the polls show he will at least be close. The same is true of Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and, possibly Elizabeth Warren, especially in her home state of Massachusetts.
Fourteen states and Samoa go to the polls on Super Tuesday in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. About a third of the delegates overall are up for grabs. The states are not winner take all. Candidates don’t get delegates unless they break 15% support statewide or in a district. That means that if, say, Bernie is in the lead in a state and the other candidates fall short of 15%, he gets more delegates out of that state. Keep your eye on California and Texas – they have a huge number of delegates.
Bernie has been ahead in Super Tuesday polls by pretty strong margins. The obvious $68,000 question is where Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar voters will go – will they push Biden (and Bloomberg and maybe Warren) over the 15 percent threshold in more states, thus robbing Bernie of an insurmountable lead? It seems likely that Bernie will get the most delegates, based on the polls. But will it be enough?
If it’s not insurmountable, and other candidates remain in play (Biden, maybe Bloomberg, or both), then we could be headed to a contested convention for the first time in decades. To avoid a contested convention, a candidate needs a majority of delegates: at least 1,991. Remember “superdelegates” (party insiders and leaders) get to vote on the 2nd ballot if no candidate reaches that magic threshold. That change (they used to be 1st ballot) makes a contested convention more likely.
There’s no question that Biden got a boost from South Carolina and the Buttigieg/Klobuchar endorsements and that Bloomberg’s disastrous and so-so debates hurt him. Biden’s dominated the news cycle leading into South Carolina (a few days is a lifetime in politics; everything can change on the dime). Whether Biden will instantly get all of the Pete/Amy voters is an open question, though.
Another wildcard: A lot of people cast early votes before those endorsements broke. That probably helps Bernie. California and Texas have high percentages of Hispanic voters (about 40 percent), and Bernie did well with that demographic in Nevada.
It’s the first time that Mike Bloomberg is appearing on ballots. He didn’t compete in the states that have already been decided. According to The Wall Street Journal, 62% of all Super Tuesday political ads were bought by Mike Bloomberg. He’s spent a fortune on ads in the Super Tuesday states. In particular, he’s focused his ads on California, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Colorado. This is definitely a test of that strategy. Bloomberg leads Biden in the polls in some Super Tuesday states (but not others and behind Bernie.) Overall, Bloomberg has spent $500 million on political advertising. He’s spent at least $217 million in Super Tuesday states, according to MarketWatch, and the 2nd biggest spender is Bernie with $16 million, to give you a sense of the gap.
Here’s what the polls show for Mike Bloomberg in some of the key on March 3, 2020, Super Tuesday. In some cases, there are polling averages. In other cases, we present the most recent poll, from Data for Progress, since there aren’t many polls in some states.
Real Clear Politics 2020 Polling Average in California on Super Tuesday
Note that Buttigieg had 6% and Klobuchar 4% in this polling average, but they’ve dropped out.
Real Clear Politics 2020 Polling Average in Texas on Super Tuesday
Note that Buttigieg had 4.5% and Klobuchar 3.5% in this polling average, but they’ve dropped out. Tulsi Gabbard has 2%.
Most Recent Minnesota Poll From Data for Progress Before Super Tuesday
Note that Klobuchar had 2%.
Real Clear Politics 2020 Polling Average in Virginia on Super Tuesday
Note that Klobuchar had 2%.
Real Clear Politics 2020 Polling Average in North Carolina on Super Tuesday
|Elizabeth Warren 10.7%||14%|
Note that Buttigieg and Klobuchar had 3.3% in this polling average, but they’ve dropped out.
Most Recent Poll in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday From Data for Progress
Note that Buttigieg had 2% and Klobuchar 1% in this poll, but they’ve dropped out.
Most Recent Super Tuesday Poll From Colorado From Data for Progress
Note that Buttigieg had 8% and Klobuchar 4% in this poll, but they’ve dropped out.
Most Recent Poll From Tennessee for Super Tuesday From Data for Progress
Note that Buttigieg had 2% and Klobuchar 2% in this poll, but they’ve dropped out.