Washington’s 2016 Democratic caucus polls are unique in one rather disappointing way — there simply aren’t any to look at.
Even though the Washington caucus offers a competitive 118 delegates — the 11th most of any state in the Democratic primary — no polls are available to gauge how Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will fare on Saturday. Of those 118, 17 are super delegates — more than half of which have pledged their support for Hillary.
Some indicators other than 2016 Washington caucus polls may, however, give some insight as to what will happen on Saturday. For example, Clinton has received several key endorsements from high-ranking state politicians. At least nine of the state’s 17 super delegates have said they would vote for Hillary, and none of them have publicly stated support for Bernie, reported the Seattle Times. The most high-profile of these crucial Clinton supporters is the state’s governor, Jay Inslee.
“[Hillary] has both the vision and tenacity to lead our nation. Her values are Washington state’s values — a commitment to opportunity for working families, equality for all, clean air for our children and reversing economic inequity.”
On the other hand, the Washington caucus seems built for Sanders to take in some ways. Seattle is one of the most liberal cities in the country. It’s been at the forefront of marijuana legalization, gay marriage, and is soon to be the city with highest minimum wage in America. The rest of the state, while more conservative, isn’t far behind. Last year, political blog The Hill even named it the most securely Democratic state in the United States, practically guaranteed to choose a Democrat as president in 2016.
“Washington state has voted for Democratic candidates in the last seven presidential elections and is represented by two Democratic senators. Six of its 10 representatives in the House are Democrats, as are its past three governors. Democrats also control the [House of the state legislature].”
Bernie’s democratic socialist platform seems ready-made for a such a voter bloc, and it’s a hurdle that Clinton might not be able to overcome. Hillary lost the Washington caucus by around 15,000 votes to Barack Obama in 2008. Furthermore, her endorsements in the state are from establishment elected officials, a message at odds with the one that resonates with Sanders’ voters. The Seattle Times picked Sanders for his “candor” and commitment to going after Wall Street, a place that’s been a sore point for Clinton’s campaign.
“Overall, [Bernie] is not as politically experienced as Hillary Clinton, who knows the ropes in both the executive and legislative branches. She is right to call out Sanders’ impracticality (with the current Congress) in wanting to move the U.S. toward a single-payer health-care system.But she comes with increasing challenges, not the least of which are ongoing questions about her home email server when she was secretary of state. At this time, Sanders’ strength lies in his ability to generate important discussions on topics other entrenched politicians are too timid to touch.”
Despite all of this conjecturing, no one really knows whether Hillary or Bernie will come out on top in the Washington caucus. Absent poll data, it’s hard to say where the votes will sway and by how large a margin — an important factor as all of the Democratic races’ delegates are proportionally allocated.
Whether you’ll be casting your ballot for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, you can get all the information you need about the 2016 Washington Democratic caucus on the state’s official voter information site before the polls open.
[Image via Dan Callister/Newsmakers/Getty Images]