It isn’t really a complex calculus. Illinois is a democrat state. More than that, there is a simple bit of logic and legacy. The fact remains that progressives and Dems are far likelier to vote early as opposed to Republicans. The margin is almost 5 to 1. The Chicago Board of Elections reported this evening that 130,000 early votes had been cast, nearly 50,000 more than were cast in 2008. That’s an astounding number. If history is the key, that means only 26,000 of the votes cast early are for republicans. It is unlikely there would be any large crossover of Dems or undecideds in that number to change the calculus.
Now, here is the key. A bit of psychology is instructive; one of those non number variables that moves elections. Early voting favors the farther Left in Illinois, those people who carefully follow issues of voter intimidation, disenfranchisement and exclusion. They tend to be far less establishment oriented. To assign a number to that, of the available voters, that leaves an estimated 3-1 ratio in favor of Bernie Sanders, or about 70,000 to Sanders and 30,000 to Clinton.
That is hardly the vote, however. In 2008 roughly 2 million voted, the largest share, 1.3 million going to Obama, with 667 thousand to Clinton. Obama was experiencing a groundswell well ahead of the Illinois primary. As of today Clinton and Sanders were in a statistical dead heat, with raw numbers just slightly in favor Mrs. Clinton, or 49 to 41. Applying that to the 2008 turnout numbers would give Hillary the advantage at about 900,000 votes to Sanders’ 800,000. The 70,000 estimated from early ballots almost makes them even, or at least within about 30,000 votes, but there two additional variables.
The first is the post Trump rally Sanders Bump, as I am calling it. The success of humiliating Trump last Friday was a virtual advertisement for sanders, and something of a rallying cry for pro-immigration, anti-racism people. Last, this primary, and perhaps election is becoming a referendum on Hillary friend and supporter, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Rahm is roundly disliked by a growing proportion of Chicagoans, especially in the wake of the Laquan MacDonald shooting cover-up. Four in ten want him gone. Combined I believe that earns Sanders an additional 40-60,000 votes.
All that gives the Bernie camp a momentum lacking in the Hillary camp. Elections are, in the end about emotion as much or more than anything else, and this election is no different. For that reason I an predicting that Sanders will take Illinois by between 5 and 10 points; a symbolic win more than anything. Hillary, in that scenario still walks with a sizeable chunk of delegates, but that keeps Sanders in the fight, strengthens his hand and builds momentum into upcoming races.
So there it is. Sanders by a nose in Illinois. Could anything smell sweeter?