Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nevada:Sanders has 6x the Supporters as Clinton

The most recent three polls coming out of Nevada have surprised many by indicating that Sanders is tied with Clinton for the primary vote in that state. This news is shocking to many because the previous five polls done in that state indicated Clinton had a commanding lead. However, those previous polls were old with the most recent one collected in December.

When the first poll, of the new year came out on February 8th surveying a massive 1236 people in Nevada, the not-fake-news website published an article explaining that the poll was a fake manufactured by Republicans in an attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton's campaign. This of course, coming from a totally legitimate website, coincidentally established in the summer of 2015, which bans commenters who don't support Hillary Clinton, and almost exclusively publishes articles expressly supporting Hillary Clinton.

Fortunately for those of us supportive of the iconoclast Bernie Sanders, further surveys have confirmed the statistical tie between the candidates.

Yet, a basis for believing that Sanders has equal support in Nevada should not come as a surprise to anybody tracking donor information from the state as far back as December of 2015. Based on the year-end information for 2015 logged with the FEC, in Nevada Sanders had 1450 contributions compared with only 1361 from Clinton.

Not only did Sanders have more logged contributions in Nevada than Clinton for 2015, if you look at contributions over time there has been a steep growth in both number of contributions and the number of contributors (Figures 1 and 2).
Figure 1: Number of contributions to each democratic campaign over time.
Figure 2: Number of contributors to each democratic campaign over time.
Both of these figures show the real struggle Clinton has had in picking up support from the general population relative to her populist rival Sanders. Yet, these graphs vastly underestimate the number of supporters Bernie has relative to his rival. This is because the vast majority of contributions are from supporters who are giving less the FEC mandating reporting minimum of $200.

For Sanders is backed largely by small money with only 26% of his support itemized and reported to the FEC while Clinton on the other hand is backed by big money from a relatively few number of contributors and therefore reports 84% of her contributions. If we make the simple assumption that those contributions which are not reported look pretty much the same as those which are reported then the picture becomes even more dramatic (Figures 3 and 4).

Figure 3: Number of contributions over time in Nevada adjusted for missing observations.
Figure 4: Number of contributors over time in Nevada adjusted for missing observations. By December the gap of support between candidates is a chasm with Sanders have an estimated 6.4 times as many supporters as Clinton in Nevada.
Form Figures 3 and 4 we can see that the number of people willing to put their personal money in to back Sanders in Nevada is vastly greater than those supporting Hillary Clinton. Not only that, but those numbers have continued to grow over time while Clinton's numbers have remained relatively stagnant.

It is unclear as to how the number of people willing to put their money behind a candidate relates to how the general population of voters will vote. Yet those members of the Clinton campaign, including the folks at the not-fake-news website, must find these numbers combined with those of the polls at least somewhat worrying.

Code: GitHub

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  1. Hi Francis:

    Do you use Twitter to follow you? Found this blog through the Democratic Underground forum. Good stuff.

    I'm already waiting your update on the donor by county map with the January data.

  2. Replies
    1. Sanders has made it a lifelong goal to reform the institutions he has interacted with. In particular he has argued that the democratic party establishment has been corrupted by the influence of big money. It is for this reason that he ran outside of the democratic party previously.