Postcard from Orlando: Hillary sweeps the board with big wins in Florida and Ohio

Hillary Florida GOTVWhat do Florida, North Carolina and Ohio have in common? They’re AWS, which means All Winning States on this side of the pond.  As I write (0515!GMT) Hillary appears to have won Illinois and Missouri by a margin that would have any agent worth their salt screaming “Recount,” at the top of their lungs.
Whilst Florida was always polling strongly for Hillary, the big prize tonight was Ohio for her campaign.  After the shock loss of Michigan last week, Hillary’s campaign needed a big win in the rust belt.  In Ohio, she got it.
The two states are significant. Ohio is the ultimate swing state, crucial to Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.  Florida has even more of a history since George W Bush’s controversial “win” in 2000.  At a rally for his wife on Monday, former President Bill Clinton said “You don’t need to explain to Floridians the importance of voting.”

Connect US styleCampaigning in Florida on Tuesday, I was struck by the similarities between a polling day operation in Orlando and in the UK. “We had tremendous teamwork, plus a fantastic candidate,” explains Lauren Young, who as a volunteer helped lead the telephone bank to Get Out the Vote in Orlando.  With 20+ telephoners using a combination of Connect and paper knock up sheets, a slick practice run was in place for the General Election in the autumn, with lots of data mining going on.
Freed by her big wins over Bernie, Hillary turned her attacks firmly at Trump on Tuesday evening, giving a speech liberals could be proud of.  For the first time I felt she sounded really presidential.  One line stood out: “Let’s not just talk about inequality, let’s act on it.” Wise words which apply not just to Democrats in the USA, but Lib Dems returning from York in the UK.
On the other side, the Republican race is split. Rubio has been knocked out, leaving only Kasich as a moderate favourited by the GOP establishment, who won his home state of Ohio. Yet Kasich now needs 110% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination, a mathematical impossibility.  His only hope then is a contested convention.  Cruz continues to perform well enough to stay in the race.
The problem is that Trump seems like Teflon. No attack ad will stick to him. The Republican establishment threw $12 million at him in negative 30 second spot ads in Florida. Not so much as a dent as Trump thrashed Rubio in his home state, as well as picking up Illinois and North Carolina.  He leads the vote in Missouri as I write by a whisker.
Simon Foster at Clinton rallyTo summarise: In the blue corner, Bernie will fight on, but it’s more about policy now, and pulling Hillary to the centre left.  Hillary increasingly looks like the Democratic nominee, way ahead of where Obama was at this point in 2008.  In the red corner, Kasich will play the long game and Cruz will perform in a strong second place. Trump will continue to lead a fractured Republican race to a contested convention. Of the 10 contested conventions in the past, only 3 have picked the front runner.
In conclusion: it’s been a crazy political season so far.  If I had to call it now, I would say it will be Hillary versus Trump in the autumn. Yet don’t bet on it, these races aren’t over yet.
Photo Credit: Simon Foster

* Simon Foster is a lecturer in Politics and Economics, and has published twenty-five books on Politics, PSHE and Citizenship.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Ohio and Florida are not ‘winner takes all’ states for the Democrats. Bernie has (provisionally) 63 delegates from Florida and 57 from Ohio. He is still in the race, although Clinton is continuing to do just enough to take the nomination. 538 currently has her heading for 108% of the total required – not a huge cuishon.

  • Simon Foster 16th Mar '16 - 11:32pm

    I like that, 538 has her winning, but not by much, so we’ll spin it and try make it sound negative. A win is still a win is still a win is still a win is still a win, I’ve said win 5 times for a reason 🙂

    I prefer actual results, including roughly HALF A MILLION more votes than Bernie in Florida in a 31 point lead here in a state called “the firewall against a Republican Presidency” at the Hillary rally I was at Monday evening, led by Bill Clinton.

    One politician has more votes than any other candidate cast for her in these elections than any other candidate in either set of primaries in 2016, and that includes Donald Trump on the Republican side.

    Her name is Hillary Clinton.

    Statistical fact.

  • Simon Foster 16th Mar '16 - 11:46pm

    Just realised something else:

    The definition of a marginal race is where one candidate is within 5% of the other. If 538 has Hillary hitting 108% of the delegate target then presumably Bernie is on 92% or lower, any lower difference being made up by unassigned ballots?

    This means the race is no longer marginal by 538’s projection as of last Tuesday where you cite an 8% difference.

    Thanks, we can use that 🙂

    Be interesting to see whether 538’s projection uses superdelegates or not. Not that it matters, Hillary is beating Bernie anyway, without the superdelegates.

  • Two posts and you can’t even be bothered to admit that your opening sentence contains a howling error.

    You assert that marginal means 5% (as opposed to the 8% that 538 implies) with no basis in fact. I am surprised at the rude and insulting tone of your post. You seem to think that you know best, a position which is not consistent with your opening sentence.

    Oh and you seem to think I’m a Sanders supporter and therefore my response is worthless. Just because my response doesn’t agree with your world view it doesn’t necessarily make me a Sanders fanboy.

  • So let me get this right. The anointed candidate of the establishment – loaded with super PAC money from Wall Street – is fighting against a 74 year old self-declared “democratic socialist” outsider who was essentially unknown a few months ago – and who is funded by money found down the back of 5 million sofas. Yet she is unable to seal the deal and you are telling us that she is having a crushing victory?

    @John Mariott – which of Trump/Clinton is Goldwater and which is Johnson? I ask because of course at about the same time as Sanders was getting arrested in Chicago while campaigning for civil rights, Hillary Rodham was wearing a sash emblazoned with the words “Goldwater Girl”.

    If she wins the nomination then I will prefer Clinton to Trump. But that is all. I find it impossible to summon any enthusiasm for a candidate who has spent her career triangulating and calculating, who has been on the wrong side on countless issues, and who has repeatedly demonstrated a singular lack of vision and leadership.

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 1:13am


    Hillary has double the lead that Barak Obama had over her in 2008 at this stage in the delegate count. Do remind me whether Barak Obama went on to secure the nomination?

    Of course Hillary and Bernie have a voting record that matches at around 92% (Source CNN) in the Senate. I’m curious and surprised that you are critical of both Bernie and Hillary: after all you must be criticising 92% of Bernie’s position on countless issues as well, or haven’t researched both the candidates voting records properly.

    Feeling the Bern yet? 😉

    Example: before Obamacare there was Hillarycare which failed due to Congress blocking it, but shows her long term commitment to healthcare reform.

    Meanwhile back in the real world of close to a half million majority in Florida ( “A significant night of victories” – CNN), the major networks are realising this is the end for Bernie as well. Here’s MSNBC agreeing with my analysis:

    Democratic race nears its end point after Clinton’s sweep via @msnbc

    Why did Bernie lose? One theory is that Bernie’s campaign engaged in exactly the same sort of negativity that you’ve made against Hillary above Paul:

    I don’t like it. The Democrats don’t like it. The voters don’t like it. So Bernie should carry on, but drop the personal attacks without a shred of evidence to back them up.

    However, that isn’t to say Bernie can’t influence things down ticket and in policy terms. I thought this article was good from Vox:

    As the article says, Sanders should pivot to his post-presidential strategy. Hillary is winning but Bernie has some political capital.

    He should spend it carefully, IMHO.

    PS: If you want vision and leadership you should listen to Hillary’s victory speech Tuesday night. Pay particular attention to the section where she goes after Wall Street. Yes, you read that correctly, Wall Street 🙂

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 3:58am

    Armeig: 5% is the definition used by academics and political scientists, including myself to define what a marginal seat is. It is a widely used statistical definition. This blog from the London School of Economics may help:

    If you have a problem with such a factual definition, along with other statistics that I have quoted, then that is your problem for you to deal with.

    I note your anger at me calling you out on your spin, which doesn’t surprise me. All it does is show how weak your argument is. As does the hyperbole you’ve thrown at me, which I reject in its entirety. I suggest lightening up and getting a sense of humour when discussing politics, it helps enormously 😍

    Thanks again for the 538 8% figure, it’s already being put to good use elsewhere 😎

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 4:04am

    To be very clear, here is the sentence in the article I’m referring to:

    “Assuming a uniform swing, the winner would lose roughly 5 per cent while the runner-up gains this 5 per cent. This brings us to the magic number of 10 per cent.”

    If Hillary is 8% above her targets, Bernie must be at least 8% below. That gives us a difference of 16% or more.. Which is outside the definition or marginal.

    Note that this applies to delegate targets overall, and not individual states.

  • Paul Murray 17th Mar '16 - 6:59am

    I’m curious and surprised that you are critical of both Bernie and Hillary: after all you must be criticising 92% of Bernie’s position on countless issues as well, or haven’t researched both the candidates voting records properly.

    I see. You use straw man arguments. As you know perfectly well, on great issues of the day (Iraq, TPP, DOMA, Glass-Steagall) Clinton has stood on one side while Sanders has been on the other. I know which of them I would have stood with – and it isn’t the one who has proudly acknowledged the endorsement of Henry Kissinger.

    Over the next month there are 8 further primaries. By the end of that time we should have much greater clarity on whether Clinton can actually close the deal. I expect that she will. Money talks.

    We agree on one thing: my original hope was that Sanders would push Clinton to commit to a more left/progressive agenda than would be her natural inclination, and in that he has already succeeded beyond all expectations.

  • The link in your 3.58 posting is entirely about Parliamentary seats so is it even relevant? (Apparently you live in a world where Steven Webb and David Laws are still MPs).

    Even if we accept the figure of 5% swing then the 538 figures for delegates come within that range. Hilary’s target is 50% plus one, so if she is on track for 108% of target then that means 54% of delegates. That is less than 55%, and therefore within your (spurious) definition of marginal.

    Oh and I notice you still haven’t acknowledged the false statement in your opening sentence which undermines your entire thesis.

  • I wonder if Osborne’s take account of this item on the BBC News website today ?

    “Donald Trump winning the US presidency is considered one of the top 10 risks facing the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. The research firm warns he could disrupt the global economy and heighten political and security risks in the US.”

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 1:41pm

    Armieg: The opening statement refers to the fact that Hillary won all of them and is a joke playing on All Women Shortlists. I believe in having a sense of humour when I write 😍 Apologies if that confused you.

    I love the fact you describe the London School of Economics definition of “marginal” as “spurious” 😎😎😎 I’ll use that in a future lecture 😍

    On your stats point, I was thinking about this last night as well, and can see how you would be led down such a route. However, the give away is the original 108% figure you cited. That requires a swing away of 8%. Of course I could be wrong: I’ll look at this in more detail when I’m back in the UK.

    Isn’t political stats fun? 😜

    If we go with your interpretation for a moment, we should also count those unpledged delegates from those people who did not express a preference and those superdelegates who remain undecided. That of course puts Bernie beyond your 5% figure: I suspect he’s below 92% of target. (If you have a 538 figure that would be great 😎).

    Paul: I don’t accept your premise. We’ll agree to disagree about the importance of actual voting records on legislation in the United States Senate and its importance to the lives of ordinary people in the USA.

    The words of Elizabeth Warren are good here on CNN last night: “I’m immensely proud that we have two candidates that are debating the issues that matter to people in the Democratic Party.”

  • Paul Murray 17th Mar '16 - 2:07pm

    @Simon Foster: 538 today puts Clinton on 110% and Sanders at 86% of target. It’s right there on the front page The next set of states are expected to be favourable to Sanders and if he outperforms relative to the 538 methodology (click through the “see targets for every primary” button for detail) then the percentages will shift in his favour. If they don’t shift in his favour then Clinton becomes a certainty.

    I don’t think that Clinton and Sanders voting the same way in the second reading of the paper-clips bill, or whatever, is significant. What matters is the issues on which they part company.

    But I agree completely with you when you say that they are discussing policy whereas the Republicans are more concerned with the size of their… er.. hands – and Elizabeth Warren (who I think would have been a fantastic candidate) speaks for all of us.

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 6:07pm

    Thanks Paul. Exactly what I suspected, Bernie below 90% and the missing 4% is no preference, write ins, etc. That’s not currently marginal by either my or Arneig’s interpretation of the statistics.

    On the issues where they do part company, I believe Hillary is becoming a better candidate as a result of Bernie’s challenge. Clearly the Hillary campaign learnt some lessons from Michigan which they applied to Ohio. To be fair to Bernie, he has skyrocketed from the 3% he was at last year, and will be a major player in the Democrats or on the left in the US for the foreseable future, although like the MSNBC article I quoted above, I think his chances are fading of this nomination.

    Of course, the Hillary campaign will take nothing for granted. I’m sure we’ll see some states completely defy the polls. However, I still expect it to be Hillary versus Trump, unless the Republican establishment really chose to revolt at their convention.

    Then again the do hold some revolting views, IMHO 😉

    Right, lunchtime over, back to vacationing at a Florida theme park 🙂

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 6:10pm
  • Great night for Hillary. A democratic socialist who’s been an Independent Senator all his time in Congress or Hillary ? Hillary 100% of the time.

  • Simon Foster 17th Mar '16 - 11:20pm

    Confirmation that it was a clean sweep with Hlillary winning Missouri 😍

  • Simon Foster 18th Mar '16 - 6:08am

    My latest article on the democratic race, with up to date developments from yesterday in the USA:

  • Simon Foster 18th Mar '16 - 10:28am

    The actual empirical data you refer to Colin are called votes. You might like to think they have nothing to do with the election. Actually, they’re how the election is decided and rather crucial to the whole system.

    All available data includes actually votes at the ballot box Colin: in fact all wishful thinking, which I feel you are engaging in ironically, disappears at that point. Of course actual votes speak more loudly than opinion polls, as the Bernie campaign was quick to point out in Michigan.

    When a candidate wins by almost half a million votes by a majority of 2 to 1 that is a massive defeat, by any margin. It’s what happened in Florida. It’s why Hillary doubled her delegate lead over Bernie last Tuesday. You ask for her to seal the deal now, yet Barack Obama was no where near this far ahead of Hillary in 2008.

    Continuing with the negative attacks is only harming Bernie’s campaign, and is what is losing him votes.

    I am also of the personal belief that America will never elect a socialist of any kind.

    You really should watch Hillary’s victory speech on Tuesday where she goes after Wall Street.

    On with the Republican firewall in Florida! 😎

  • Paul Murray 18th Mar '16 - 1:24pm

    @Colin: Indeed. Last night Trump tweeted “Hillary Clinton has been involved in corruption for most of her professional life!”.

    I think we can now see the basic game plan for Trump. He plans to use the deep-rooted antipathy that many Americans feel towards Clinton for his own advantage, repeatedly making claims such as this on the principle of that if you fling enough mud around then some if it sticks. Whitewater, Bengazi, Lewinsky, servergate…

    As you say, Trump could not make this line of attack work on Sanders, but it has the potential to be devastating against Clinton.

  • Simon Foster 19th Mar '16 - 3:38am

    Meanwhile, admist the speculation, the Hillary voters continue to show up in greater numbers than for any other candidate, and may have the last laugh:

  • Simon Foster 19th Mar '16 - 3:31pm

    Now reached Pennsylvania. Having a lot of fun as I’m staying with a friend who is a firm Sanders supporter, who accepts Hillary will be the eventual Democratic nominee. She keeps saying Feel the Berne so I found the meme with Clinton cream:’for those who feel the Berne, apply liberally 🙂

    Polls showing a significant lead here now for Hillary in Pennsylvia and several other key delegate rich states:

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Apr '16 - 2:28pm

    The Economist 22/4/2016 suggests Senator Warren for VP candidate.
    Clinton has said she will consider men and women.
    She was elected on 6 November 2012, so there would be a special election, which, hopefully, the Democrats would win this time.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Apr '16 - 2:45pm

    John Marriott 16th Mar ’16 – 12:59pm
    Hillary Rodham’s memoirs shows she was AuH2O (Gold-Water).

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