Who is in the Lead: Mapping the 2020 primary.
With the 2020 primaries still in their early stages, there is not a lot of information to work with in terms of measuring who is truly in the lead nationwide. Sure there have been a few polls in Iowa, but beyond that there is still a shroud of uncertainty. Given the limitations I have to decided to look at three measures that have had some predictive power in election forecasting.
First I want to take a look at the betting markets. They have had the most successful track record, often out performing the polls; here I am taking a look at PredictIt, one of the larger political betting sites. In the top five we have Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren. Bernie Sanders and Kamala are neck-and-neck for the lead, with Biden Close behind, and then a pretty steep drop off after that.
Next I want to take a look at google search data. It doesn’t have as much predictive power as the betting markets or direct polling, but it does have the ability to give us a state by state overview of where each of the candidates may lie.
Right now, just looking at Iowa, Sanders and Harris are both at about 28%, with Warren close behind at 26% (figures may change as google updates frequently). Harris has a pretty strong lead in the South East, with Bernie holding the Northern Midwest and North Western states. Warren is leading in Oklahoma and the Dakotas, as well as New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Biden and O’Rouke don’t have a significant position in any state. When this data is broken down by stated and matched with delegate counts for each state the approximate delegate count is as follows.
1231 - Kamala Harris,
1058 - Bernie Sanders,
892 - Elizabeth Warren,
694 - Joe Biden,
77 - Beto O’Rourke.
Data can be downloaded here.
From this data set, it looks like Biden, and O’Rourke, don’t measure up in any state, and that could seriously dampen their odds, as leading a state is a tried and true way towards earned media attention that can snowball into electoral success. This is limited however, in that only five candidates can be measured at a time, so there may be a curve ball coming from one of the less known candidates.
Lastly, taking a look at fundraising numbers, Bernie Sanders is leading the pack having raised over $6 million from over 225,000 donors in 24 hours. After Sanders comes Kamala Harris with $1.5 Million in 24 hours, followed by Amy Klobuchar at $1 Million in 24 hours, and Elizabeth Warren at $300,000 in 24 hours. This is the first time we see Amy Klobuchar in a top ranking, and where we see Bernie Sanders as significantly out pacing Kamala Harris.
What about Amy Klobuchar? As a Minnesotan I have to address the big question of “does she have a path to the presidency?“. In short; probably not. Going back to the google search data for just a moment, if you swap out Beto with Amy Klobuchar, then its plain as day that while having a strong presence in Minnesota, she really doesn’t have nearly as much interest anywhere else in the country. Looking at the all critical Iowa, she only takes up 6% of presidential candidate search traffic, compared to Bernie Sanders at 28% and Kamala Harris at 26%. Ultimately her appeal in the Midwest may be a bit over hyped.
All in all, it looks like it is going to be a very close primary, with Bernie Sanders taking a slight lead, and Kamala Harris close behind.