The electoral circus of the Democratic primary arrives today in Nevada, the third state to vote after Iowa and New Hampshire, with a more diverse electorate than in the two previous appointments and that can give a more adjusted idea of the moment of each candidate. A third of Nevada’s voters are black or Hispanic, while in Iowa and New Hampshire the electorate is mostly white, and minorities are decisive in the Democratic primary.
These voters are, in principle, the strong point of Joe Biden, the candidate who was a favorite during much of the election campaign, but who has sunk by surprise in the first two states. “We are now entering an especially important phase, because so far we have not heard the most committed electorate of the Democratic Party – the African-American community – and the segment of the fastest growing society, the Latino community,” Biden said last week at a rally. electoral.
Perhaps it is a Biden resource for maintaining hope, but according to a recent Telemundo survey, the former vice president with Barack Obama has the support of 34% of Hispanics, while the current favorite, leftist Bernie Sanders, has 31%. Another survey of another Spanish-language television channel, Univisión, grants Sanders 33% and leaves Biden with 22% of the Latino vote.
Bloomberg will not be
The difference in numbers is perhaps an indication that that electorate is still in the air. What seems more predictable is that Sanders will score another victory here, after his triumph in New Hampshire and what looks like a technical tie with Pete Buttigieg in Iowa, where the winner has not yet been decided.
The polls give a clear advantage to the veteran senator of Vermont over Biden (29% vs. 16%, according to the accumulated RealClearPolitics), while a quartet of candidates – Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer – fight over the third place with between 10% and 17%, depending on the survey.
Who will not be in Nevada is Michael Bloomberg, the main protagonist of the primary after rising in the polls and becoming the target of all the attacks in the debate last Wednesday in Las Vegas. Its strategy is not to compete in the first four states and focus on the “Super Tuesday” states, held on March 3.
Sanders has something else in its favor today: for the first time, Nevada has allowed early voting, in which 75,000 citizens participated (almost as many as those who voted in total in the 2016 primaries, 84,000). According to data from the Nevada Democratic Party, about half of these early voters participate in the primaries for the first time, which may be an advantage for Sanders, who dominates the young vote (in the survey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal », They support three fifths of those under 30).
The polls, however, must be taken with caution by the Nevada voting system. As in Iowa, the primaries are decided in the caucuses, thousands of neighborhood meetings where voters line up with one candidate or another.
The process is the same: the supporters of each candidate are placed in a corner of the sports center, church or classroom in which the caucus is celebrated. The number of people in each group is counted and those voters who are in groups that do not reach the threshold of 15% of the support, choose another candidate that is viable or can decide the group of undecided. After that change, the number of voters in each group is counted and the number of state delegates for each candidate is assigned through a mathematical formula.
What the party says is that the vote is not like in Iowa, where a failure in the software used to tell and transmit the results gave errors and has had to review the entire count, to the derision of the Democrats. Nevada was going to use the same software, but decided to remove it and has developed at the last minute a system with digital tablets whose success will have the whole game in suspense. .