Prediction Review

How wrong was I?

Prediction Review
Joe Biden had an excellent Super Tuesday

A month ago, I posted a prediction on how the primaries through Super Tuesday would go. How did I do?

February 3: Iowa (41 delegates): While Sanders did win the popular vote, Buttigieg won a small margin in the SDE count. Based on significant errors at many caucus sites (per the NY Times), the best guesstimate is that Sanders and Buttigieg tied in delegates.

Kudos to Buttigieg for running an outstanding ground game in the rural counties of Iowa, which racked up his delegate count. Biggest surprise was the collapse of Joe Biden, who finished a distant fourth.

My Projection (NH): Sanders 13, Warren 11, Biden 9, Buttigieg 4, Klobuchar 3

Reality: Buttigieg 13, Sanders 12, Warren 8, Biden 6, Klobuchar 1

February 11: New Hampshire (24 delegates): Biggest news out of New Hampshire was the collapse of Warren, who finished out of the delegate hunt with only 9 percent of the vote. Second was the fifth place finish of Biden. Fallout from NH was the departure of Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet and Deval Patrick. All the time Tulsi Gabbard spent in NH did not help her; she finished a distant seventh.

My Projection (NH): Sanders 10, Warren 8, Biden 6

Reality: Sanders 9, Buttigieg 9, Klobuchar 6

February 22: Nevada (36 delegates): As I called, Sanders did have a substantial win in Nevada, with 47 percent. Biden finished a solid second, and Buttigieg a semi-respectable third. I once again over-estimated the strength of Warren, who finished out of the delegate hunt again with 10 percent.

My Projection (NV): Sanders 16, Biden 12, Warren 8

Reality: Sanders 24, Biden 9, Buttigieg 3

February 29: South Carolina (54 delegates): I called it for Biden, and he won it bigger than I thought he would, with 48 percent. Sanders got 20 percent, and everybody else finished out the money. Fallout from SC was the departure of Tom Steyer. Once again I way overestimated the strength of Warren, who finished fifth with only 7 percent.

My Projection (SC): Biden 28, Sanders 14, Warren 12

Reality: Biden 38, Sanders 16


1. Michael Bennett and Deval Patrick drop out right after New Hampshire (Called that correctly).

2. Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard drop out before the end of February. (Tulsi atill sticking around; Pete dropped out March 1).

3. Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer have the resources to stick around, but I suspect neither wants to pour good money after bad, so they drop out either just before Super Tuesday, possibly just after. (Both billionaires were gone before March 1).

Delegate Count as of March 1

My Prediction: Biden 55, Sanders 53, Warren 39, Buttigieg 4, Klobuchar 3

Reality: Sanders 61, Biden 53, Buttgieg 25, Warren 8, Klobuchar 7

Super Tuesday: March 3 (ordered by size)

Big Caveat: Some of these projections are based on incomplete returns, which I have extrapolated based on probable trends staying the same. Both California and Colorado had significant outstanding vote totals as I calculated these numbers.

California (416 delegates): Sanders first, Biden second, as I predicted. Bloomberg actually did well enough to score some delegates in some districts, as did Warren. Bloomberg did better than I anticipated.

My Prediction for California: Sanders 195, Biden 129, Warren 92

Reality: Sanders 231, Biden 170, Bloomberg 8, Warren 7

Texas (228 delegates): I predicted Biden would win, and he did, but by a narrow margin (33 to 30). Bloomberg and Warren scored well enough in individual districts to pick up delegates. Bloomberg finished third, Warren fourth.

My prediction for Texas: Biden 115, Sanders 68. Warren 45

Reality: Biden 118, Sanders 105, Bloomberg 4, Warren 1

North Carolina (110 delegates): Called it for Biden, who won by a bigger margin than I anticipated. Pretty much a Biden-Sanders show, with neither Bloomberg or Warren breaking 15 percent.

My prediction for North Carolina: Biden 60, Sanders 50 (this one could be way off, especially if Warren gets delegates)

Reality: Biden 70, Sanders 40

Virginia (99 delegates): Biden did way better than I expected here. Huge win for the former VP, getting two-thirds to Sanders one third.

My prediction for Virginia: Biden 40, Sanders 35, Warren 24

Reality: Biden 66, Sanders 31, Warren 2

Massachusetts (91 delegates): Warren DID NOT take it in a landslide. One of the biggest surprises of the night as Biden won with 34 percent to Sanders 26 percent. Warren finished THIRD in her own state.

My prediction for Massachusetts: Warren 68, Sanders 23

Reality: Biden 38, Sanders 30, Warren 23

Minnesota (75 delegates): Klobuchar did not stick around. Her voters broke for Biden (38%) over Sanders (30%). Warren did well enough to score some delegates.

My prediction for Minnesota: Klobuchar 48, Sanders 15, Biden 12

Reality: Biden 35, Sanders 27, Warren 13

Tennessee (64 delegates): Biden did better with African American vote, wins with 41 percent. Sanders soid second (25%) and Bloomberg doing well enough to pick up some delegates.

My prediction for Tennessee: Biden 36, Sanders 22, Warren 6

Reality: Biden 32, Sanders 19, Bloomberg 12

Colorado (67 delegates): Sanders won as I predicted, slightly lower than I thought (36%). Biden (23%), Bloomberg (21%) and Warren (17%) divided up the rest.

My prediction for Colorado: Sanders 33, Biden 24, Warren 10

Reality: Sanders 24, Biden 16, Bloomberg 14, Warren 12

Alabama (52 delegates): Biden did win by a huge margin, even bigger than I expected. Sanders ekes out some delegates with 16% of the votes.

My prediction for Alabama: Biden 29, Sanders 22, Warren 11

Reality: Biden 41, Sanders 10, Bloomberg 1

Oklahoma (37 delegates): Oklahoma went the way of the rest of the South, with little love for hometown girl Warren. Biden won, with Sanders getting a respectable second place. Bloomberg scored a few district delegates.

My prediction for Oklahoma: Warren 19, Biden 10, Sanders 8

Reality: Biden 22, Sanders 12, Bloomberg 3

Arkansas (31 delegates): Like the rest of the South, Arkansas went for Biden (40%). Sanders finishes second with 22%. Bloomberg crosses the hurdle and wins some delegates.

My prediction for Arkansas: Biden 18, Sanders 9, Warren 5

Utah (29 delegates): Sanders did do well, as I predicted. Winning with about a third, while Biden, Bloomberg and Warren split up the vote enough to all earn delegates.

My prediction for Utah: Sanders 14, Biden 10, Warren 5 Reality: Sanders 12, Biden 6, Bloomberg 6, Warren 5

Maine (24 delegates): One of the surprises of the night, as Biden and Sanders battle essentially to a tie, with Warren a distant third (16%).

My Prediction for Maine: Sanders 12, Warren 7, Biden 5

Reality: Sanders 10, Biden 10, Warren 4

Vermont (16 delegates): Sanders did win his home state, but by considerably less than in 2016 (51% vs 86%). Biden got 22 percent of the vote to score a respectable second place.

My Prediction for Vermont: Sanders 13, Warren 3

Reality: Sanders 11, Biden 5

American Samoa (6 delegates): This one I totally missed on. In his only win of the night, Mike Bloomberg took American Samoa with a whopping 175 out of 351 votes. Hometown girl Tulsi Gabbard won the other two delegates. Which qualifies her to be on stage at the next Democratic debate.

My Prediction for American Samoa: Biden 4, Sanders 2

Reality: Bloomberg 4, Gabbard 2

Democrats Abroad (13 delegates): Voting will not conclude until March 10. Will update once the numbers are in.

Delegate projection for Democrats Abroad: Sanders 8, Biden 3, Warren 2

Delegate Count Post Super Tuesday

My Prediction in January: Sanders: 556, Biden: 540, Warren: 330, Klobuchar: 51, Buttigieg: 4

Reality: Biden 704, Sanders 614, Warren 76, Bloomberg 58 [dropped out], Buttigieg 25 [dropped out], Klobuchar 7 [dropped out]. Gabbard 2

Bottom Line: Talk about a resurrection. Biden's campaign had been almost written off after Nevada. A big win in South Carolina and a series of big wins in the South suddenly propel him to the top. This sets the stage for a slugfest between Biden and Sanders over the coming months. While there six states up on March 10 (including Michigan), the next big test is March 17, with Florida, Illinois and Ohio all up for grabs. Stay tuned, this could get interesting.

Fun Fact: Michael Bloomberg spent roughly $200 million on television advertising in Super Tuesday states, to win a total of 58 delegates. That translates to $3.44 million per delegate. Coincidentally, that is the price the mansion from "The Sopranos" was on the market for last year.

John Heckenlively
John Heckenlively
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