Who won the 2016 Nevada caucus?
With results starting to come in soon this afternoon, experts are predicting what will be a very close race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the 35 delegates the state has to offer.
[UPDATE: Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner of the 2016 Nevada caucus, but the final margin of victory is still being determined.]
The caucus is one of the earlier contests, with voters showing up to sites at 11 a.m. Pacific time and voting starting one hour later. Results for the 2016 Nevada caucus are expected to continue rolling in throughout the afternoon.
There is a lot more at stake than the delegates alone. The 2016 Nevada caucus could be something of a turning point in the Democratic primary battle, with Bernie Sanders looking to continue the momentum from his New Hampshire primary win.
Bernie Sanders has been surging in Nevada, closing what was once close to a 20-point deficit to pull the race into a virtual tie. A CNN Poll of Polls released Wednesday showed Clinton with 48 percent support to Sanders’ 47 percent, but experts warn that polling is not always too accurate there. The state has only held caucuses since 2008, making it difficult for pollsters to determine who is likely to go to the polls.
Polling guru Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight noted that Hillary Clinton was expected to win the 2016 Nevada caucus, but said the results could be surprising.
“Nevada has a fairly high nonwhite population, but it isn’t especially liberal. Clinton was also well ahead of Sanders in the (relatively small sample) of interviews Morning Consult conducted there earlier this year. It’s possible that Clinton will be hurt because the state holds a caucus, although we don’t have a lot of evidence yet about which Democrat that benefits. In other words — and as much as her campaign might try to avoid admitting it — it’s a state that Clinton “should” win. Conversely, a Sanders win would be a sign he has staying power.”
The site added that Nevada caucus polls have gotten it wrong in the past, with final Republican polls in 2008 showing Mitt Romney with a 5-point advantage over John McCain. By the end of the caucus, Romney had notched a 38-point win over McCain.
“In 2010 when Republican Sharron Angle challenged Harry Reid, then Senate majority leader, for his seat, the polling average showed her beating the incumbent by a 3-point margin; she lost to Reid by nearly 6 points,” the report added.
The 2016 Nevada caucus results could also change on a dime. The caucuses are held across 250 different caucus sites, and the rules don’t restrict them to Democrats. Independent voters or even Republicans can show up, changing their affiliation at the site itself to participate in the caucuses.
There are some other quirks that could make the results very interesting. As the New York Times reported, the state’s voting rules make for a strange tie-breaking procedure.
“In the rare circumstances where two or more presidential preference groups are tied for the loss or gain of a precinct-level delegate and have the same lowest or highest decimal,” the state party says, “groups must draw a single card from a deck of cards to break the tie. High card determines the winner.”
With the race expected to be very close, the question of who won the 2016 Nevada caucus could take well into the evening to answer, or possibly even longer.
[Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]