June 7th marks the final ‘Super Tuesday’ of the Democratic presidential primaries and this post is the fifth in a series previewing the last big day before the general election. Check out my previews for the New Mexico, Montana, California, and New Jersey contests as well!
North Dakota holds its Democratic caucus on June 7th and it is likely to give Bernie Sanders his second biggest win of the night, just behind its more liberal neighbor Montana. Sanders is likely to cruise to victory on the strength of its open caucus format, which has provided a huge boost to Sanders in previous contests. The state is also 87% non-Hispanic white, has some history of successful challenges to mainstream Democrats, and has relatively few affluent households.
Open Caucuses Are Incredibly Good For Bernie Sanders
Here’s a quick rundown of the results of every open caucus so far:
With the notable exception of Iowa, which looks like an increasingly amazing win for Clinton as more time passes, Sanders has won every open caucus by at least 23 points over Clinton. He won the Washington caucus in March by an astounding 46 point margin before losing last week’s non-binding primary by 5 (take these results with a grain of salt as they were not contested, but the reversal is still startling).
But while open caucuses are incredibly good for Sanders, they don’t entirely explain his margin here. In fact, he would still be favored by about 6 points if the state held a closed primary — Clinton’s best format.
ND’s Population Centers Are Young, White, and Highly Educated
Bernie’s best news from North Dakota is his strength in the state’s four biggest cities — Fargo, Bismark, Grand Forks, and Minot. Their counties, Cass, Burleigh, Grand Forks, and Ward, respectively, delivered over half of the state’s 2008 primary vote. All have relatively low shares of seniors, high education levels, and are mostly white. Additionally, while each county went to George W. Bush in 2000, Ralph Nader posted respectable showings, far above his national share of the vote.
Bernie Sanders 61.9%
Hillary Clinton 38.0%
Here’s a county guide — notice Bernie’s strength in population centers. While the rest of the state should be closer, Hillary will struggle to win many counties at all.