Tomorrow, five states will cast their votes in the 2016 presidential nomination process. Voters in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, and Missouri will help allocate a total of 358 Republican delegates (with the Northern Mariana Islands adding another 9 delegates) and 691 Democratic pledged delegates.

After tomorrow’s results are clear and the delegates have been awarded, both parties will have awarded more than half of all of their convention delegates. This is important, as Josh Putnam notes, because the leader in the delegate count after half of the delegates have been awarded has typically gone on to clinch the nomination by the time 75% of the delegates have been awarded (this year, that date is April 26 for both parties). This so-called “50-75 rule” may not hold this year, but even if it doesn’t, there are a lot of delegates up for grabs tomorrow.

On the Republican side, March 15 marks the end of the party’s “proportionality window,” allowing both Florida and Ohio to award all of their delegates to the plurality winner of those states’ primaries. As a result of the number of delegates awarded by each state and their winner-take-all status, students will predict only these two states for this week. This is also due to the degree of media coverage these two states have received in recent weeks – as the home states of Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. John Kasich, many pundits have indicated this may be their respective last stands.

Read on for the predictions!

Cody Ingraham & Kevin Callanan


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In Florida, we predict Donald Trump will win the state and capture its 99 winner-take-all delegates. Based on the polls, native son Marco Rubio will place second, followed by Cruz and Kasich. After losing Tuesday’s primary, Rubio will likely end his campaign. Ted Cruz has upped his game in the Sunshine State, banking on his Cuban heritage and opening new offices across the state to draw support away from Rubio. Hopes are high that Rubio will drop out and make it a two-man race between Cruz and Trump.

In Ohio, Trump will eke out a victory Tuesday night, defeating home state Governor John Kasich, flowed by Cruz and Rubio. Coming off his victory in Michigan, Trump will be riding a wave of support. Trump’s populist message and railing against free trade will resonate well in the Rust Belt state of Ohio, just as it did in Michigan.

For the Democrats, following two debates in one week, tensions have noticeably risen between the campaigns and Clinton is seemingly being pulled farther left. Ohio will likely be very close. After Sanders’ unpredicted upset in Michigan, many supporters are discounting polls which have Clinton leading him. Clinton’s campaign itself is also strategizing cautiously to keep a handle on the Buckeye State. A narrow Clinton victory seems more plausible since Sanders’s momentum is leaving people hanging for another upset.

Florida will likely be the final piece to complete Clinton’s anticipated Southern firewall. Separated by huge margins, most recently in Mississippi, Clinton has generally been very popular below the Mason-Dixon. With so many surprises since Super Tuesday, it’s hard to see Sanders leaving the race anytime soon.

Marlena Mareno & JaiCe Stinton


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After Super Tuesday, the GOP presidential race has come down to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Ted Cruz is trailing behind in delegates, however, the margin continues to become smaller as he wins states. We believe that although Cruz has done well in previous primaries, Ohio and Florida are not looking to be in his favor. Yet, Cruz’s super PAC continues to spend millions of dollars on ads with little impact. Cruz and Donald Trump have invested in Florida to pressure Marco Rubio to drop out. Trump leads in current polls ahead of the Florida senator. Several supporters of Marco Rubio say he should drop out if he does not win either state. Florida is the last chance for Rubio to get his campaign and supporters rallying around him. Kasich has a better chance of winning Ohio and stalling out Trump’s sweep across the nation.

Hillary Clinton will win another group of delegates in Florida and Ohio, widening the distant lead she has over Sanders. Sanders will undoubtedly put up a fight as his surprising win in Michigan has “threatened to prolong the race,” keeping Clinton on her toes. Despite the upset, Clinton sits comfortably with her lead in Florida with 83% of voters having made up their mind. Her message is resonating with women as they have rallied behind her in the sunshine state. Clinton has begun to “steal” from Sanders’ demographic of those who identify as “very liberal” as she leads 50% to 46%. Clinton continues to beat Sanders with older voters and has closed the gap on youth voters with a tie. Ohio will be a tighter race, with both candidates reaching their typical demographics, however, Clinton will remain on top due to her support from more “sizable margins” with older voters.

Keshawn Langhorn & Kaitlyn Krolik


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For the Republicans, Trump seems to have a tight grasp on Florida according to the latest polls. He has been the overwhelming favorite to win the nominee in recent weeks as he has dominated in most of the important primaries across the country. Marco Rubio does not look like he will stand a chance in his home state, with even his fellow Senator in Florida saying that he will lose the state. His primary electorate in the state have felt betrayed by the lack of support he has given them. Ohio will prove to be end of John Kasich’s campaign even as he leaves in victory. He is far behind in the delegate count and has previously stated he is staying in so he can win Ohio. There is currently a tight race in Ohio but after Tuesday, we can see the end of two campaigns in Marco Rubio and John Kasich. This could lead to a jump in the polls for Ted Cruz, who will be looking to take some of the voters from these candidates.

For the Democrats, we see Clinton emerging as the winner in both states. In Ohio, we are predicting that Hillary Clinton wins by a significant margin. With 57% of the vote, she gains a whopping 81 delegates, placing her farther ahead of Sanders. We believe that she will not perform as well as the CNN poll expected, which held her at 63% to Sanders’ 33%. However, she will barely be surpassing the average polling which have Clinton winning 56.3% to 36.4% in Ohio. She also will be below the CNN poll in Florida, which has her winning 61% to 34%. This will be because, in general, we have watched Sanders outperform her in the two most recent debates (though some in the media may disagree). This day will not provide Sanders, the most popular U.S. Senator, with the boost he was hoping to get after his Michigan win (unless the populace is finally turning on Clinton or the media messed up polling again). If this ends up being the case, maybe Michigan provided Sanders with the bump he needed to take the race.

Eric Brower & Stella Pabis


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Both states are important for the GOP race due to their winner-take-all status and as the two states are home states for Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Kasich claimed that he will win Ohio. However, the polls show him losing to Donald Trump. If Kasich loses Ohio, he will likely drop out of the race with only 54 delegates. However, Kasich may claim some crossover voting from independents and Democrats that could create a close race. In Florida, Donald Trump dominates in the polls by double digits and has dominated the race thus far. Additionally, Trump has been airing an anti-Rubio advertisement. As Rubio is unlikely to win, he has received immense pressure to drop out both before or after Florida. Carly Fiorina’s endorsement of Ted Cruz in Miami this week will probably not help him in the Florida contest, but if Rubio and Kasich drop out after the 15th, the contest will be a dogfight between Trump and Cruz.

In Florida, Hillary Clinton will likely win by a decisive margin, though not as great as some of the enormous margins she has won by in previous states. Clinton has had a much greater presence in Florida than Bernie Sanders. Clinton will sweep to victory on her vast Southern black support and appeal to the more moderate Southern Democrats. Clinton will have a harder time on Ohio but still find herself the victor. Despite Sanders’s recent momentum in the Midwest after an out-of-nowhere victory in nearby Michigan and possible appeal to Rust Belt voters, Clinton’s coalition of urban voters, minorities, and older Democrats will secure Ohio for her. Sanders will win some of the remaining states, but he will not be able to overcome his delegate deficit on Clinton, who will become the Democrats’ nominee.

Emily Radigan & McKenzie Franck


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We predict that Trump will take Florida and will come in a close second in Ohio, according to the polls and bolstered by his recent momentum. Trump has also received backing from Christie, Carson, and others within the GOP establishment. In Ohio, he is mobilizing blue-collar workers. In Florida, Carson’s endorsement will only boost Trump’s growing support. Cruz, although he will most likely come in third in Florida and Ohio, still has the best chance of preventing Trump from taking the nomination. Rubio will drop out if he does not win Florida, which polling predicts is most likely. Rubio is also likely to finish last in Ohio. Kasich is most probable to win Ohio because it is the governor’s home state. Kasich has also been getting mounting pressure to drop out soon, even if he wins Ohio.

We predict Clinton will beat Sanders by large margins in both Florida and Ohio. However, her support may be overstated in some polls, as seen with Michigan polling. Clinton leads Sanders in Florida because of her lead with women voters and with minority voters. Clinton also has a greater advantage in Florida because of her support from older voters. Ohio has similar demographics for both older and younger voters, which will make it a closer rase. However, Sanders is tapping into his base support by holding rallies at many Florida universities, hoping for high youth voter turnout. Ohio may be closer than expected because of the population of working-class whites. Sanders also has momentum coming off his unexpected Michigan win.

Brianna Russo & Samantha Coons


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Should Rubio and Kasich win their respective home states it would be the boost each of them need in their delegate count. Rubio is in second place behind Trump in Florida, trailing by over 10% in many polls. Rubio is also polling in last in Ohio. Currently in Ohio, Trump trails by 2% to Governor Kasich. It has been a tight race, but Kasich has closed the gap between him and Trump in just the last few days. It is clear the establishment is against a Trump nomination, which was only amplified by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s anti-Trump speech last week. While we predict that Kasich will win Ohio, we do not believe Rubio is in a position to win Florida. If Rubio fails to win Florida, this could be the push Cruz needs to get the establishment to rally behind him. Cruz has already called on Rubio and Kasich to drop out and claims his campaign is the only one able to beat Trump.

Going into Ohio, Sanders, after gaining momentum with an unexpected win in Michigan, will continue to close the gap on Clinton; however, polls show that Clinton’s likely victory might not be by much. Considering the polls did not accurately predict Sanders’s win in Michigan, it may be that he has more of a lead over Clinton than pollsters think. If the polls are in fact underestimating Sanders, then Ohio could be a delegate jackpot for him. As for the Florida primary, the state’s demographics may be troubling for Sanders. Clinton has proven to do much better in more diverse states and polls have her in the lead by a substantial amount. However, Sanders’s presence in Florida – and his performance in the Miami debate on March 9th – may propel him forward.

Amanda Knipple & Aubrey Kirsch


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With the GOP, early voting in Florida may make the difference for Rubio. This is Rubio’s territory after all and he is leading with early voting, though some are worried about Rubio losing Florida. Cruz is planning to take out Rubio to have a one-on-one race with Trump, but Trump will dominate if given Florida. His primarily white voters like his policies and believe he is the most electable in November.

We favor Kasich to win his home state of Ohio. Recent polls have shown Kasich pulling ahead or within the margin of error of Trump. In October, his approval rating as governor was at 62%. He may stand a good chance of winning with anti-Trump sentiment brewing among Ohio Republicans. As a winner-take-all state, Trump’s path to the nomination may be damaged if he loses Ohio. Rubio has been polling low in Ohio, and he may soon exit the race. This could leave Kasich as the unlikely third option for the Republican Party, after Trump and Cruz.

Florida is all about minorities and the age gap. While Clinton is targeting with local outreach, Sanders continues his rallying cry for a national revolution. Florida has the highest percentage of elderly citizens, not Sanders’s typical supporters. Sanders does still have support, looking at eligible Latinos that make over 20% of voters. It may not be enough though, as Clinton is projected to beat Sanders by a wide margin.

In Ohio, recent polls suggest that Clinton is the favorite. Clinton is traditionally popular in Ohio, and has the backing of officials there. With the endorsement of the OLBC, she will keep the black vote. We expect Sanders to close the gap a little, riding momentum from his Michigan success and recent debates.

Jack Massaroni & Nicholas Pozzi


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In Florida, Rubio’s home state, Trump currently leads Rubio by 17%. It is unlikely that Rubio will close this deficit, due to his lack of campaign infrastructure. Additionally, Rubio will have difficulty being more appealing to Trump on the top issues for Floridians.

In Ohio, Kasich will narrowly defeat Trump, utilizing his home field advantage in a tight race. Besides Ohio being Kasich’s home state, Rubio’s call for voters to support Kasich in Ohio will prevent Rubio from diverting voters from Kasich and helping Trump in the process. If Rubio does not win any states on March 15th, we predict his withdrawal from the race and subsequent endorsement of Kasich or Cruz. Meanwhile, Cruz will remain in the race despite no victories, since he is likely to finish with at least 18% of the vote in each state, based on the previous polls.

Sanders has been competing with Clinton in non-Southern states thus far, but losing in the delegate count. The March 15 primaries will be the same, Sanders putting up results, but losing ground on Clinton in the delegate count. Clinton is leading in Ohio, yet the polling numbers look eerily similar to Michigan and have only gotten closer. Clinton is looking to seal Ohio, pouring resources into her campaign there. However, she has been outspent on televised ads by Sanders, a repeat from Michigan. As a result, we foresee Clinton winning Ohio in a nail-biter. Florida is a much clearer win for Hillary, who has consistently led in polls. The demographics are unfavorable for Sanders, with an estimated 85% of voters over the age of 50. Furthermore, a large portion of the electorate is black or Hispanic, groups which heavily favor Clinton. We forecast a large margin of victory for Clinton in Florida.



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Overall, our teams predicted an upset for Kasich over Trump in Ohio, with Trump sweeping Florida’s delegates. Most groups predict Rubio will exit the race after losing Florida, while Kasich may exit the race even after winning Ohio, leaving only Cruz and Trump to battle it out to the convention.

On the Democratic side, students predict Clinton will easily win Florida and win a closer election in Ohio.

Stay tuned later in the week for posts on a wide variety of topics, from feminism in the 2016 Democratic primary to an exploration of Bernie Sanders’s unexpected success!

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