Your We Matter Day caucus guide

Hillary's firewall holds or Bernie breaks through?

Which storyline emerges by day's end -- assuming the caucus chaos is relatively controlled -- will depend on many factors. Caucuses open at 11, start voting at noon and results should start trickling in in early afternoon. If it's close, expect it to go later and expect questiosn to be raised by both camps about process. (This would not be pretty.)

Remember Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 5 percentage points in '08 but lost the delegate battle by one to Barack Obama. She is hoping to avoid that scenario this time, but some observers say it could happen again even though she has Obama folks working for her and has campaigned in the North and ruruals. Delegates are apportioned by congressional districts -- Nevada has four -- and that brings up a point many forget:

Nevada does not just have a much more diverse Democratic electorate but it is also much more geographically diverse than either Iowa or New Hampshire. Nevada is one of the more urban states in the country -- three-quarters of Nevadans live in Las Vegas, which has a population of more than 2 million. No other metro area in other early state comes close. Three of the four congressional districts in Nevada include both urban and rural constituencies

Some other facts to remember today:

How are results reported?

Via the state Democratic Party: Up to 12,359 precinct-level delegates will be awarded on Saturday. These results will be reported to the Nevada State Democratic Party by precinct chairs through either a toll-free phone number using interactive voice response (IVR) technology, or a secure web form. This reporting system will allow the party to provide accurate and timely results to the public. The NV Dems have a website reporting precinct results, which includes a county-by-county interactive precinct map:

There are four things to keep an eye on today:

Turnout (70,000 or so expected, based on the 70 percent of '08 turnout that Iowa saw); 30,000 already pre-registered). The higher it goes, the better Sanders should do.

New registrations (The party does not expect 30,000 this cycle. But if it gets to a third of that, look out for a berning feeling. In '08, new folks were a quarter of voters.)

► CD 2 results (Washoe (Reno)  & the northern rurals)

► CD 1 results (especially East Las Vegas -- heavily Hispanic)

More facts:


No one really knows anything. That's comforting, eh?

Recall that this is only the second time Nevada has had a competitive early caucus and is notoriously hard to poll (why its hard for anyone, even know-it-all pundits, to predict what will happen).

CD2 (this is the Reno/rurals district): 

This is Sanders most likely path to victory given his campaign in Northern Nevada.  One insider who gets the data told me: He can run up the score on delegates if he can win in Northern Nevada (Washoe and northern rurals) by more than 58.5 percent. Washoe is roughly 2/3 of the delegates in this district. If Cinton can hold him under that threshold, the two will evenly split these delegates and then it comes down to what happens in CD1 (urban Vegas). 


This is the only district that is entirely urban. This is likely Clinton’s path to victory. More from my data maven: The Democratic electorate in CD1 is nearly 45 percent nonwhite. Watch for how Sanders performs here for an idea of how he is performing among nonwhite voters. The turnout in CD 1 and 4 will determine how diverse the caucus is and whether the campaigns were able to mobilize this vote. AND if she holds him under 58 percent in CD 2 and they evenly split the delegates in CD3 and CD 4, she can win by winning a majority in CD 1 (because is is the only district with an odd number of delegates). 

CD1 has five delegates; the other three districts have six. You can see details below of how delegates are apportioned below.

Bottom line: Hillary SHOULD win. But the Sanders momentum has been building, and her campaign's frenetic pace the last week -- her presence and double figures in high-profile surrogates -- indicates she is putting up sandbags to hold off the deluge. Most insiders I trust think she holds on, but no one really knows. And if it's Iowa-close, there will be protests, conspiracy theories and uncertainty.

It all begins soon.

160212 Memo 2016DelegateCounts Updated (1) by Jon Ralston