I hope to have some time this afternoon to take a deeper look at the VCR trend [see Terminology post] that I've alluded to in a couple of previous posts, because it's certainly played a role in Wiggins's resurgence; but if the downward trend continues, it may also prove to end the resurgence prematurely.
Today is obviously a big day. By early evening, the picture should be a whole lot clearer, and we may even be able to project a winner. With that in mind, here are some "keys to the game" for each campaign:
1. King, King, King. It goes without saying that King will provide Wiggins with the single biggest source of votes and what may end up being the margin of victory. The key here is to stop the bleeding with the VCR rate. VCR fell by nearly 6% between the Thursday totals and the Friday net new votes last week. Wiggins can't see any further erosion in those numbers or the math becomes a lot more difficult.
2. Looking at the rest of KPSS, Snohomish and Spokane each hold about 30,000 votes; the race in Pierce is effectively over (only 13,500 votes remaining). For both Friday and Saturday, Spokane had SMOVs of 53.86% and 53.80% respectively -- about 2 points off the average thorugh Thursday. And Snohomish's SMOV has continued to fall, registering at 50.84% on Saturday. Assuming the latest SMOV numbers hold, Sanders will only pick up 1,735 votes in Spokane and 391 in Snohomish. But I think Wiggins really needs that total to drop below 2,000, so he should be looking for further declines in either SMOV or VCR in both counties.
1. As one might expect, reverse Wiggins's keys to the game. Sanders needs King's VCR to drop substantially. I don't think he can realistically expect to see SMOV turn around -- the late Times stories and un-endorsement will undoubtedly be seen more in those ballots than in the election-night returns. And any backlash to the story will probably be seen in the rural, non-Peninsula counties where Sanders already had the edge.
2. If I were the Sanders campaign, I'd be putting people down in Yakima right now. With 10,000 EBOH, an 81.37% VCR (!!!), and a 60.12% SMOV, Yakima is the best place for Sanders to pick up key votes. Based on current projections, he will pick up 1,647 votes out of Yakima; that's nearly as many as Spokane, with only one-third as many EBOH.
I'll be back in a bit with projections for today's vote totals.