The biggest gain, unsurprisingly, came from King County, which added a net gain of 11,025 votes for Wiggins. What was surprising was the 648 vote gain that came out of Jefferson County (1,623 +WIGG, 975 +SAND). Jefferson has been the most supportive county -- in percentages, if not in vote totals -- for Wiggins so far: through Thursday, he had accumulated 6,490 of the 10,867 total votes cast (or just under 60%).
But the real story of Friday was the shift in SMOV ["Sanders Margin of Victory" -- see Terminology post]. In total, there were 11 counties that did not report updated vote totals on Friday; of the 28 that did, 23 showed a decline in SMOV. In other words, although Sanders may have still received more votes than Wiggins in many counties, he was doing so by a much smaller margin than he was previously.
Let's look at KPSS [see Terminology post] and see how the numbers changed between the Thursday running totals and the Friday net-new votes:
Nov. 4: SMOV was 42.65% on 371,192 total votes.
Nov. 5: SMOV was 39.24% (-3.41%) on 51,229 net new votes.
Nov. 4: SMOV was 54.73% on 188,274 total votes.
Nov. 5: SMOV was 52.41% (-2.32%) on 10,193 net new votes.
Nov. 4: SMOV was 52.27% on 144,798 total votes.
Nov. 5: SMOV was 51.17% (-1.10%) on 22,768 net new votes.
Nov. 4: SMOV was 55.88% on 92,523 total votes.
Nov. 5: SMOV was 53.86% (-2.02%) on 7,971 net new votes.
Needless to say, that's a pretty significant drop in support. And we're not talking about a small sample size either. The net new votes represented anywhere from 5-15% of the total votes counted up until that point. So why the sudden drop?
I won't start speculating as to the reason (too much, anyway). It's not uncommon in any election to see the late absentee/mail-in ballots trending towards one party or another. The party that benefits from that late surge seems to change from election to election (although in recent memory, I've seen that trend favor Democrats/liberals more often than Republicans/conservatives). There are other factors that may have affected the late ballots as well: the reported comments by Sanders that made the front page of the Seattle Times website, and the resulting shift in the Times's endorsement may be two such factors. But regardless of the cause, the trend seems to be present.
Looking at the rest of the Big Eight:
- Clark County bucked the trend. On Nov. 4, SMOV was 52.28% on 106,077 total votes; on Nov. 5, SMOV rose to 54.13% (+1.85%) on 6,654 net new votes.
- Thurston County: On Nov. 4 SMOV was 48.35% on 74,428 total votes; on Nov. 5, SMOV fell to 43.71% (-4.64%) on 977 net new votes. At just over 1.3% of the total votes cast thus far, however, 977 is not a statistically significant number.
- Kitsap County: On Nov. 4, SMOV was 47.14% on 61,580 total votes; on Nov. 5, SMOV fell to 44.62% (-2.52%) on 9,291 net new votes.
- Whatcom County: On Nov. 4, SMOV was 51.54% on 49, 797 total votes; on Nov. 5, SMOV fell to 47.0% (-4.54%) on 6,209 net new votes.
Certainly the shifting SMOV may be the focus for the weekend and Monday. If Wiggins continues to benefit from a 2-4% shift in support toward him across the board, Sanders may have serious difficulty holding onto this lead through Monday's returns.