The long road that started back in February in Iowa comes to an end today (yesterday in America), with the last state primaries of the season. Voters from both parties have been going to the polls in New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and California. There are also Democrat caucuses in North Dakota. After this, the only remaining event is a Democrat primary in the District of Columbia next week.
In reality, both parties’ nominees have already been decided, but Democrat Hillary Clinton does not yet have a majority relying solely on elected delegates. She will win that today. (Here’s FiveThirtyEight’s preview of the Democrat contests.)
But that’s still more interest than one would usually find at this point, and it will still be worth watching on the Republican side to see how enthusiastic voters seem about their presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.
Polls closed in New Jersey an hour ago, and with 8% of precincts reporting Clinton has a comfortable lead, 59.3% to 40.7% for Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, Trump has been declared the winner with 82.5%; no-one was officially campaigning against him, but John Kasich has 11.3% and Ted Cruz 6.2%.
South Dakota and New Mexico are about to close; Montana comes an hour later (midday eastern Australian time), and California an hour after that. So stay tuned and we’ll update as results come in.
11.30am (eastern Australian time)
New Jersey results are confirming the early figures. The networks have called it for Clinton; she leads by almost 20 points, 59.3% to 40.7%, with 28% reporting. Trump, of course, is even further ahead with 83.1%.
Trump has also been given New Mexico and South Dakota, although in the latter his performance is mediocre: Cruz and Kasich have 16.3% and 15.7% respectively (with 36% counted). Not bad for candidates who dropped out a month ago.
For the Democrats, Clinton has respectable early leads in New Mexico (53.1%) and South Dakota (53.7%), while Sanders, as expected, is well ahead in the North Dakota caucuses, 61.7% to 29.6%. With 28% counted I think you could call that one.
South Dakota looks like being the first state (at least that I can remember) where Sanders dramatically underperforms expectations. Pundits expected him to win comfortably, but with 56% now reporting he’s still behind, 46.6% to Clinton’s 53.4%. He’s actually doing just as well in New Mexico (46.9% with 29% counted), whose large Hispanic population was supposed to give Clinton a big advantage.
No surprises elsewhere; the networks have now called North Dakota for Sanders. Trump is still above 80% in New Jersey, but rather less convincing in the other two.
Montana closing in five minutes.
That’s a pretty crushing win for Clinton in New Jersey: with 75% reporting, she’s got 63.4% to Sanders’s 36.6%. She’s also holding on well in New Mexico (53.2%) and South Dakota (52.9%), although the New Mexico count seems very slow – only a third of precincts in.
Very early results in Montana have Clinton narrowly in the lead, 49.3% to 45.3%. (Sanders was the prior favorite, but its demographics are similar to South Dakota.) Trump has 70.7%. But that’s just on pre-poll votes, and not very many of those.
The big one, California, is about to start coming in, but up to this point it’s a good night for Clinton. The North Dakota caucuses have been Sanders’s only victory, although he’s still within reach in South Dakota and Montana.
Not so good for Trump; although of course he’s winning everywhere, his most recent opponents, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, are getting very respectable totals despite having ended their campaigns a month ago. They’ve got 19.0% between them in New Jersey, 19.4% in New Mexico, 17.5% in Montana and a remarkable 32.9% in South Dakota.
No California numbers yet, but the networks have called New Mexico for Clinton: 53.0% to 47.0%, with 73% in. She’s also still leading, narrowly, in South Dakota (by 2.6%) and Montana (by 1.9%).
Just a sprinkling of early California results in, but they’re pretty widespread geographically and they’re very good for Clinton. She has 63.0% to Sanders on 35.9%, with 6% reporting. I don’t think she’ll end up that far ahead, but it’s a good start.
I’d say she’s also home and hosed in South Dakota – 51.5% with 91% counted. A narrow win, but very good for a state she wasn’t given much chance in. Montana is still anyone’s; Clinton is up by 1.8%, but there’s only 5% counted.
And Trump, unsurprisingly, has been declared the winner in California; currently showing 77.7%, with Kasich a distant second on 11.4%.
California is a big place, so counting is slow going. But it’s still looking very good for Clinton: with 11% reporting, or a little over 1.5 million votes, she’s on 62.3% to Sanders’s 36.6%. I can’t see him reeling that in.
But it’s not all bad news for Sanders – he’s taken the lead in Montana, 48.3% to 47.1%, with 27% reporting. Could go either way.
I wouldn’t call it yet, but it’s now looking pretty good for Sanders in Montana. With 49% reporting, his lead has widened to three and a half points, 49.5% to 45.9%. As usual, Clinton is doing relatively better in the urban centres (such as they are), so she might pick up in late counting.
California, on the other hand, looks like a big Clinton win. Currently 61.5% to 37.4%, with 24% in. Trump is still stuck on 77.7%, which is nothing striking for a presumptive nominee running unopposed.
Montana has now been called for Sanders. It’s 85% counted and his lead has held up, now 50.5% to 45.0%. So some consolation for him.
But California was always the big prize, and Clinton has outperformed expectations there. With 43% reporting she’s on 59.0%, 19 points ahead of Sanders. The networks haven’t called it yet, but they might as well.
As expected, Sanders has narrowed the gap slightly in California, but it’s nowhere near enough. He’s edged up to 41.8% against Clinton’s 57.2%, now with 65% reporting.