The Home States In The March 15 Primaries That'll Pay Off For The Candidates — And Those That Won't
There are only six candidates left in the run for the White House, and on the third Super Tuesday of this election cycle, half of them will be fighting for votes in their home states. Three home states are in play on March 15 — so let's take a look at Ohio, Florida, and Illinois and see how John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton can be expected to perform. Super Tuesday Three is going to be a big day; 691 delegates are up for grabs on the Democratic side, and 361 on the GOP side. Whether or not candidates will be able to win the approval of their home states and perform to expectations will shape the discourse for the rest of the month.
For those feeling anxious at the thought of a Trump (TM) White House, Governor John Kasich's home state of Ohio may not fall into the mogul's victory column. However, things aren't looking good for Senator Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida. Illinois (Hillary Clinton's birth state) is another story entirely; practically no proper polling has been done, despite the election being just days away.
Kasich Will Probably Bump Trump To Second Place In Ohio
Governor John Kasich will probably prevail in his home state of Ohio, but it will be a close race. Former slumlord Donald Trump has been beating Kasich since late August according to aggregate polling compiled by The Huffington Post, but in the past few weeks, Trump has begun to lose his edge. The newest poll from Ohio was released by Fox News, and showed Kasich besting Trump by 5 percentage points, 34 to 29.
Ohio is a winner-take-all state with a semi-closed primary. If Kasich is able to eke out a win past Trump, he'll automatically win the support of Ohio's 63 bound delegates, and will also likely win the support of the three unbound delegates as well. Kasich, a native of neighboring Pennsylvania, won his first campaign in Ohio in 1978 when he was just 26 years old, becoming the youngest ever member of the Ohio State Senate. Ohio would be Kasich's first primary win; if he isn't able to clinch his home state, his viability as a national candidate is bound to be questioned closely by deep-pocketed donors looking for the best candidate to stand up against He Who Shall Not Be Named. Whether or not Rust Belt voters and working-class Americans on the whole will forgive his association with Lehman Brothers is another question entirely.
Rubio Readies For Disappointment In The Sunshine State
Marco Rubio appears to be on track for a second-place finish in his home state, behind the bloviating juggernaut that is Donald Trump's "classy" campaign. Polling aggregation from The Huffington Post suggests that Rubio will walk away with a quarter of the Republican vote, but in Florida, second place gets you diddly-squat — their closed primary awards GOP delegates on a winner-take all basis. This means that without a surprise first-place finish, Rubio will forfeit all of Florida's 99 delegates to He Who Shall Not Be Named. Over the past two weeks, it appears that "Tiny Hands" Trump has lost a few percentage points, but a closer look at the aggregate polling shows a similar dip in Rubio's numbers over the same period of time. In fact, when looking just at the month of March, Kasich is the candidate with the most momentum in Florida.
Upon further reflection, it's important to remember that Rubio won his senate seat in 2010 in a hotly contested three-way race, with former Republican Governor Charlie Crist running as an Independent and Democratic Representative Kendrick Meek filling out the field. Rubio walked away from that contest with a Senate seat — however, he was only able to capture 48.9 percent of the electorate. If Rubio is unsuccessful in his bid for the White House this November, it is unclear what his political future will hold. Rubio chose not to run to keep his Senate seat simultaneously with his presidential candidacy, focusing solely on clinching the GOP nomination. Maybe the father of four will take some time off from attempting to run the country and spend some time helping raise his children; Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio said in a 2012 interview with Norah O'Donnell that being a political wife is like being a single mother during the week.
Illinois Isn't A Shoo-In For The Former Park Ridge Resident
Finally, on the Democratic ticket, Hillary Clinton will be fighting for Illinois' 156 Democratic delegates, the second-largest prize of the evening behind Florida. Clinton was born and raised in Park Ridge, one of the near northwestern suburbs of Chicago which were largely built out by the end of the 1920's. Clinton moved away from Illinois in 1965 to attend Wellesley College in Massachusetts before going on to Yale Law, and she never really looked back. After graduation, she moved to her husband's hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas to launch her career at Rose Law Firm, and the rest is history. Park Ridge named the corner across from her childhood home "Rodham Corner" in 1997, but the former secretary's connection to her hometown, and to Illinois itself, has been tenuous at best since her teenage years.
While Illinois is known to vote reliably Democratic, Clinton should not even consider taking the Prairie State for granted. According to Huffington Post's polling aggregates, only five polls have been conducted this election cycle. The validity of the data is also incredibly suspect. Two of the five polls were taken in 2015, and include results for Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, and even Lincoln Chaffee. That means that only three of the polls listed are currently relevant. Drilling down further reveals another caveat: One of the polls was conducted by a firm called We Ask America. The organization is a hybrid polling-political consultancy firm with strong ties to the anti-union Illinois Manufacturer's Association. Worst of all, their polling hasn't been been on point in the past — see the 2012 House election cycle in Illinois.
That leaves just two polls from reliable sources: one of 422 likely voters compiled by Southern Illinois University last month, and another of 600 likely voters from the Chicago Tribune / Research America poll compiled during the first week of March. The polls put Clinton ahead by 19 and 42 points, respectively. While the Tribune is the marquee paper in the third-largest city in the country, their numbers tend to be skewed by the gravitational pull of the Windy City; a strict dichotomy exists in Illinois state politics between the urban and suburban counties and the rural rest of the state. After Bernie Sanders' unexpected upset victory in Michigan this week, the Clinton camp should be incredibly wary of taking the voters of Illinois for granted — after all, it's an open primary in which anyone can vote, just like Michigan.
Super Tuesday Three is going to be a big deal for both parties. On the GOP side, the battle for the approval of the establishment is going to hinge a lot on how Rubio and Kasich are able to do in their home states, as well as how well (or poorly) they perform against Trump and Cruz. The Democratic establishment might also be in for a rude awakening if the infamous Chicago machine finally cracks under the pressure of 30 years of neoliberal incursions, uniting working class voters across the diverse state in support of Sanders' pragmatic populist message.