Before the votes were cast last Tuesday, former Vice President Joseph Biden led Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders in polls in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona. After several weeks of disappointing results, the Sanders campaign is all but dead in the water as the march to the Democratic presidential nomination continues.
As the complete results are available, Biden won 1,105,470 more votes than Sanders in the three contests. While Sanders amassed 1,155,716 votes, he still lagged behind the number of votes he won in 2016 in these states, which was 1,712,026. In other words, Sanders received 556,310 less votes than in 2016.
Sanders’ path to the White House is all but blocked, given the overwhelming defeat in South Carolina and lackluster performances in Super Tuesday I & II. On Super Tuesday III, Biden picked up 286 delegates, while Sanders picked up 140. The total delegate count stands with Biden having 1,201 and Sanders with 896. The eventual nominee will need 1,991 delegates to secure the party’s nomination.
According to Exit Polling data in Illinois, the candidates’ support largely remained with their bases: Biden with Black and White voters, while Sanders won the Hispanic and Latino vote. Similarly, neither candidate’s support differentiated from expected age groups. Sanders’ voters in this state remained between 18-39, while Biden was supported by those aged 40-65 and over.
Arizona largely mirrored Illinois’ results in that Biden won White and older voters, while Sanders won voters under the age of 50. Also, Sanders won Hispanic and Latino voters 41 to 37. In this Exit Polling data, no information was available for Black votes.
In Florida, a state Biden defeated Sanders by over 359,000 votes, the results were different than the other two states in this contest. Here, Biden won all race categories, even Hispanic and Latino votes, who have remained largely supportive of Sanders. According to Exit Polling data, Biden won these voters 57 to 31. Also, it should be noted that in Florida, Sanders received 416,255 less than in comparison to the 2016 Democratic primary.
Sanders’ path to the nomination is all but over, but both candidates will face a difficult path forward, given the inability to hold campaign rallies due to the coronavirus, which has killed almost 15,000 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Another issue plaguing the nominating contest is that most states will be expected to delay primary elections, given the recent encouragement from Health officials to social distance.
Twenty-one states have issued some degree of lockdown or shelter in place order.
The primary in Georgia, which was scheduled for today, has been rescheduled to May 19 because of the coronavirus. Puerto Rico’s primary, originally scheduled for March 29th, was changed to April 26th.
The next primary on the calendar will be held in Hawaii on April 4th, but it remains to be seen whether the election will be delayed, considering the state is under a lockdown and recently reported it’s first death from coronavirus. Alaska, Louisiana, and Wyoming were to join Hawaii in voting on April 4th, but have rescheduled.