Poli Sci Prof: Sanders’ Nomination Would Be ‘Herculean Task’

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
Font Size:

Sen. Bernie Sanders will need to win by substantial margins in upcoming primary states in order to overcome Hillary Clinton’s strong support from “superdelegates,” according to University of Cincinatti professor Al Tuchfarber.

The Democrats uniquely use superdelegates in their primary process. These are free agents not beholden to the results of state primaries or caucuses. They were created before the 1984 Democrat primary following the outsider victories of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, in order to ensure that the grassroots did not have final say on the nominee.

There are 4,763 delegates total and 712 superdelegates, 451 of which have declared their support to Clinton, 19 for Sanders.

“The ratio of Clinton declarations to those for Sanders is 96 percent to 4 percent. If we assume that Sanders does slightly better with the remaining 242 and gets 10% of them, the superdelegates end up splitting 669 to 43. That is, clearly, an overwhelming margin for Clinton,” writes Tuchfarber, who also is the founder of the Ohio Poll.

He continues to say that the fact that delegates elected by voters are awarded proportionally, further complicating the path to victory for Sanders. If votes are split 60-40, the elected delegates are also split 60-40.

Tuchfarber said, “The practical consequence of these two facts is that Sanders needs to win about 58 percent or more of the votes in each of the remaining states. That is a Herculean task as (in effect) he needs a landslide in all those states. A landslide is usually defined as a win 55 percent-45 percent or greater.”

Adding that, “putting this in perspective another way, Sanders must achieve New Hampshire-size wins (61 percent-38 percent) in almost every state to get to the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination.”

In the upcoming southern primary states, Clinton’s strong support among the black community has her ahead by a strong margin. In South Carolina for example, the latest poll has Hillary leading 60 percent to 32 percent.