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Heading into tonight's debate, I side with Nate Silver at 538 on Who Will Win The 2020 Democratic Primary.

The lead chart is for having over 50% of the delegates heading into the convention, not for winning regardless.

Silver does not have odds of winner by any means yet. This is despite the fact that 538 commented today: We Got A Flurry Of New National Polls. Sanders Led Them All.

Don't like Silver's Model?

Many suspect Silver's model is flat out wrong. So do I.

He admitted an error today, and apologized for it in We Fixed An Issue With How Our Primary Forecast Was Calculating Candidates’ Demographic Strengths.

The change, however, benefitted Bloomberg.

Sanders Leading Everywhere But Florida

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Judging from Predictit Bernie Sanders is in the lead in every state but Florida.

Yet, that only translates to a 51-28 lead over Bloomberg.

Overall it is 51-49, a tossup.

So why do I have Bernie's odds less than 50%?

In addition to Silver and debate uncertainty, Predictit is just one poll.

Betting Odds

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Key Points

  1. The current average betting odds for Bernie to win the nomination are 44%.
  2. That means his odds of losing are 56%.
  3. Momentum since January 20 is hugely in favor of Bloomberg.
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North Carolina

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North Carolina is a Super Tuesday state with 110 delegates. Bloomberg is tied for the lead.


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California Key Points

  • California is the biggest Super Tuesday state with 416 pledged delegates.
  • On February 11, Sanders was polling an average of 25.3% vs Bloomberg at 5.3%.
  • In the latest SurveyUSA poll, Feb 13-16, Sanders is at 25% vs Bloomberg at 21%.
  • California momentum for Bloomberg is massive.

California Analysis

Assuming the latest poll is accurate (or at least close), Sanders is not "winning" California. Rather, he is getting killed vs expectations and also getting killed vs what he needs to do to get half the delegates.

I do not know if that poll is accurate or not, but I am a huge believer in momentum.

Bloomberg has far more momentum than Sanders in most polls. The media latched onto Sanders simply because he is the perceived leader.

Questioning SurveyUSA?

Admittedly, it is just one poll, but please note that SurveyUSA gets an "A" in 538 Pollster Ratings.

Moreover, I tend to give more credence to the newest polls. The surge for Bloomberg is believable. He has been spending massive amounts of money on ads.

That's a topic guaranteed to come up - many times - tonight.


The media pile-ons for Bernie may turn out to be accurate, but even if so, most of mainstream media has jumped the gun.

Given the uncertainties surrounding tonight's debates as well as analysis of California and North Carolina, Bernie's odds are at best 50%, and I suggest much lower.

We need more polls in California and Texas after tonight's debate to have a better understanding.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock