On Elections

How people elect parliaments

Update: US presidential nomination primaries

Tuesday 15 March

Another major day in the US presidential primary election calendar has brought both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump ever closer to clinching their respective party nominations for president at November’s election.

In the Democratic party contest Clinton defeated her only rival Senator Bernie Sanders in all five states holding contests today – three (Florida, North Carolina and Ohio) by substantial margins, and two (Illinois and Missouri) narrowly.

In the Republican party race Trump won four of five states, although North Carolina and Missouri were close wins over Senator Ted Cruz. Governor John Kasich won his home state of Ohio.

Trump and Cruz will share most of the delegates from North Carolina, which allocates them proportionally. Illinois allocates delegates semi-proportionally. In the other three states the winner-take all rule applies.

In the Democratic contest all the states award delegates proportionally.

Donald Trump has become the first Republican candidate to secure the necessary eight state delegation majorities (he now has 12) to be eligible to put his name before his party’s convention in Cleveland in July.

The Republican contest is now 59% completed. Most solidly republican-voting states, and all the larger ones, have now voted. The remaining states are mostly more politically moderate or Democrat-leaning.

The incomplete Republican race has now attracted a total of 20.2 million votes, and in doing so it has already eclipsed the party’s previous record final total of 20.0 million voters in 2008. New York, California and 17 other states are still to vote. (In 2008 the Democratic race attracted the all-time record of over 35 million voters.) [Updated text]

Senator Marco Rubio, now ranked a distant third among the Republican candidates, has suspended his campaign. But he has won 7.1% of the delegates to the July party convention which will choose the party’s nominee – potentially a key strategic voting block if he can marshall the delegates to vote in a disciplined manner.

John Kasich, while currently ranked 4th with 5.9% of the convention’s delegates, will fight on, and will become the last flag-bearer for Republicans eager to avoid both the maverick Trump and the religious conservative Cruz.

Hillary Clinton now holds 29% of the delegates to the Democratic convention, and is believed to have the support of most of the undeclared 10.4% of unelected party super-delegates. Bernie Sanders has accumulated just under 17% of convention delegates.

Update 16 March: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both also won the contests for delegates in the Northern Marianas Islands territory. While the delegate numbers are small, Trump picks up a further ‘state delegation majority’ point, taking him to 12. (The six territories also count as states for this purpose.) With 8 points needed to be nominated at the party convention, the significance of Trump’s win here is that it has denied his main rival Ted Cruz one easy point he would have expected to win.

Latest vote totals and delegate counts (including proportions of the total party convention delegates) are set out below.

REPUBLICAN Party nominee:

Donald Trump



convention delegates 

state delegate majorities

Donald Trump


673  (27.2%)


Senator Ted Cruz


408  (16.5%)


Senator Marco Rubio


175  (7.1%)


Governor John Kasich


144  (5.8%)


other withdrawn candidates 1,124,670

   17  (o.7%)

yet to be selected

1,049 (42.4%)

Total delegates



(27 Delegates from Missouri are still to be determined. They will most likely all go to Donald Trump.)

The initial Republican precinct caucuses in Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota were held on 1 March. These events do not directly determine convention delegates, but set in train the series of district and state party meetings which eventually do so.

A Republican candidate needs to accumulate 8 state delegation majorities (more than merely plurality wins) to be eligible to put their name forward at the party Convention.

Vote plurality winners by state are:

US primaries - winners - Republican

Trump – red; Cruz – fawn; Rubio – purple; Kasich – brown; wins closer than 10% in lighter shades

Withdrawals since the beginning of February: Mike Huckabee (1 February), Rand Paul (3 February), Rick Santorum (4 February), Carly Fiorina (10 February), Chris Christie (10 February), Jim Gilmour (12 February), Jeb Bush (20 February), Ben Carson (2 March) and Marco Rubio (15 March).

DEMOCRATIC Party nominee:

Hillary Clinton




Hillary Clinton


1,314  (27.6%)

Senator Bernie Sanders


794  (16.7%)

yet to be selected

2,157  (45.3%)

uncommitted official delegates

496  (10.4%)

Total delegates


(* 53 delegates from Illinois and 40 from Florida are yet to be determined.)

(* Totals include caucus state figures which are estimates, and which also undervalue the caucus states’ contributions to total votes in comparison to results from primary election states.)

Vote plurality winners by state are:

US primaries - winners - Democratic

Clinton – blue; Sanders – teal; wins closer than 10% in lighter shades

Withdrawals since the beginning of February: Martin O’Malley (1 February)

Delegate tallies  for both parties include the support of elected delegates that have been confirmed by public endorsements. Such delegates are unbound and their vote can change at the convention (and see observations by Nate Silver at 538.com.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 16, 2016 by in Current issues, United States, US presidential primaries.
%d bloggers like this: