New research released by the National University Institute for Policy Research, a regional economic think tank, predicts Trump will win California and take home 133 of 172 delegates.
The research finds:
- Trump is heavily favored to win outright in 24 out of 53 (45%) California Congressional Districts.
- Trump has a commanding lead in 17 (32%) additional Districts.
- Electoral support for Trump is strongest in the Inland Empire, northern Los Angeles County, and the southern outlying counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. His weakest electoral support is concentrated along the Central Coast, the Central Valley, and far northern California counties.
- Trump’s upside in California would net him over 133 delegates, likely putting him at or near the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination.
“Based on our analysis, we project that Trump will win at least 133 out of the 172 delegates at play in California,” remarked Vince Vasquez, NUSIPR senior policy analyst and author of the report. “Pollsters have identified a coalescing of Republican vote behind Trump over the past two weeks, suggesting a greater acceptance of Trump as the party nominee. Prior exit polls have also shown that Trump voters don’t feel represented or heard in the political process. That would certainly be true in California; Republicans have suffered a string of losses in statewide races over the past 18 years. There are currently no Republicans holding statewide elected office, and Republicans are in the minority in the State Assembly and Senate.”
The projections are based on analyzing congressional level data in four recent primaries and using established attributes of Trump supporters to determine a model that will predict Trump’s performance in California. The established model has Trump winning California with 49.7% of the vote — almost identical to the vote predictions of recent Fox News and CBS/YouGov polls, the study’s authors point out. The exact methodology is here.
One thing to keep in mind when evaluating predictive research is that polling is merely a snapshot in time — many external factors influence turnout and the outcome of a political campaign. For example, Senator Ted Cruz announcing his VP pick of Carly Fiorina this week might have an effect on the California primary depending on how much weight California voters give former CA Senate candidate Fiorina when deciding their presidential primary choice.
Although California is talked about as a winner-take-all primary, it is actually winner-take-all by congressional district. The candidate who wins each congressional district receives 3 delegates so overall popular vote isn’t as relevant as the media portrays.
The California primary is one of the last on the schedule and its importance for Trump is relative to his performance in the prior primary races. There are five races before June 7 and the better he does in those primaries, the less crucial it is for him to accumulate delegates in CA. The race between Cruz and Trump is getting tighter in Indiana but a new poll of likely Oregon GOP voters shows Trump with a sizeable lead.
Over at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, Trump needs an estimated 139 delegates on June 7 to reach his target of 1237, assuming he stays on target in the remaining races.