Pete Buttigieg has decided to end his campaign for President, signaling the true beginning of the winnowing of the field for President. Pete, the former Mayor of South Bend. Indiana has become a national figure in this campaign, even if his departure means he will not be able to perform the political miracle that winning the nomination from his position would have represented. Winner(-ish) of the Iowa Caucuses, Buttigieg was the first major gay candidate for the Presidency, as well as one of the youngest contenders ever.
The problems with analyzing this dropout are many, but the first issue is arguably the most important – he’s still on the ballot across Super Tuesday states, and large swathes of votes in California and Texas have been cast already, with him on the ballot already. Those were not states where most recent polling data would suggest he would hit the 15% threshold, but some of the vote is now locked in to a candidate who won’t get 15% because he dropped out, making it harder for the remaining candidates to get viable. Pete’s 11% National vote share in polls is now free to be redistributed, but per the most recent Morning Consult data of second choices we have, Buttigieg’s voters aren’t ideological, and his voters just spray between the big four candidates left – Bernie, Biden, Warren, and Bloomberg.
The other issue with the dropout is the impact of it on a contested convention. The case can be made that a chaotic ending is now less likely, because Buttigieg’s projected delegates will now not be his, and therefore there’s a chance more delegates will go to Sanders and Biden, decreasing the chances of a contested convention. The case against that logic, however, is simple – with less candidates, the chances of Elizabeth Warren and/or Mike Bloomberg being non-viable in spots decrease, meaning that the chances of Sanders winning a disproportionate amount of delegates also falls. Whether Buttigieg endorses or not may affect this – if his endorsement manages to corral his voters under one banner, his 11% per the LeanTossup average may be decisive by the end.
Pete Buttigieg Voters Second Choice:
Morning Consult / February 27, 2020 / Online
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Despite not winning the nomination, Buttigieg’s campaign was a success for him. From a small town mayor to national figure, Buttigieg executed the strategy of running for President to boost recognition and get a donor base perfectly. He wasn’t the only person this cycle to launch a bid while having a low name ID and without a governorship or Senate title to fall back on – he was just the one to do that and survive. He survived longer than three sitting Senators, two sitting governors and two former governors, and a litany of House members and candidates for various offices. His campaign was a success, given that.
The biggest winner of the news has to be Elizabeth Warren, however. Despite ideological differences, between the two of them, they shared a certain segment of the Primary electorate – white voters with college degrees. If Pete’s supporters who have switched between the two move back to Warren, her viability issues could be massively alleviated and she could collect a lot more delegates than she is currently on pace to get. It may take a while to see the full impact of the dropout, due to early votes in Super Tuesday states, but Pete Buttigieg is out of the race, and it’s quite hard to say what it’ll mean.