This is a breaking story and will continue to be updated.
updated 9 AM
By Mac England
For the first time in memory a contender in a Democrat Presidential Nominating race has won the first three contests. As of 8 AM this morning, with 49.8 percent of votes compiled, Senator Bernie Sanders is leading the pack and has been declared the winner. This makes two caucus (Nev. and IA) and a primary (NH) under his belt the Sanders turns his attention to this Saturday’s (Feb 29) South Carolina primary election, and three days later to Super Tuesday March 3.
With just short of 50 percent of votes tallied Sanders leads with 46.6 recent, trailed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 19.2 percent, Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 15.4 percent, Senator Elizabeth Warren 10.3 percent and Senator Amy Klobuchar in single digits at 4.6 percent.
Entrance polls conducted yesterday as participants headed into the caucus sites showed that Sanders held a whopping 51 percent support of Latino/Hispanic participants, 65 percent support from 65 percent from voters 17-29 years old, and 50 percent from voters 30-44 yrs. 27 percent of voters aged 45-64 said they would support Sanders in the caucus with just 11 percent supporting sanders aged 65 and over.
Biden’s support in the oldest group was 29 percent. Followed by 19 percent for Klobuchar, 15 percent supporting Buttigieg, and Warren with 10 percent support. While Warren, Biden and Klobuchar trailed in the youngest group in single digits and Buttigieg garnering 11 percent. Combining the two middle age brackets Biden still trailed Sanders with 24 percent, Buttigieg and Warren virtually tied with 32 and 31 percent respectively.
Predictably in the ideology category Sanders and Warren held support of 66 percent of Very liberal voters and on the leaning conservative end maintained support from 30 percent. While Biden collected 24 percent, Buttigieg 19 percent and Klobuchar 13 percent with still another 14 percent divided amongst all other candidates.
Where voters claimed the most important issue was health care 38 percent supported Sanders 19 percent for Biden, 15 percent claiming support for Buttigieg, and 11 percent support to Warren.
Those who said climate change is their top priority were supporting Sanders at 28 percent with 16 percent supporting Warren. 14 percent said Buttigieg and Biden found support from 13 percent tied in that category with Klobuchar.
The incoming caucus goers who said income inequality is their biggest concern liked Sanders with a whopping 41 percent and Warren by 19 percent. Biden trailed with those concerned about pay inequity with 12 percent and Klobuchar and Buttigieg both in the single digits.
And where caucus participants said their highest priority is beating Donald Trump (66 percent) or a candidate who agrees with you on major issues (32 percent) Sanders led the pack in the second category at 54 percent with Biden and Buttigieg tied at 10 percent, Warren with 12 percent and Klobuchar at 6 percent. Where beating Trump was prioritized Sanders still led the pack though with a smaller margin than in all of the other categories with 23 percent and Biden coming in second with 21 percent projected support.
With all of those preconceived notions going into the caucuses it may not be surprising that in the second round of counting Sanders gained 6.5 percent, Buttigieg picked up 2.3 percent, Warren 1.5 percent and Biden just 1.3 percent; while all other candidates lost support.
Nevada’s Democratic caucuses have two rounds: First, caucus-goers stand in groups to show their support for a candidate. Any candidate who does not hit the specified support threshold — usually 15 percent — in that caucus site is considered not viable, so in the second round, caucus-goers can move to a group that is viable. Nevadans who voted early had to rank the candidates by preference, allowing those votes to also be realigned if their first-choice candidate was not viable.
Multi-cultural coalition emerging
For months former VP Joe Biden has advertised that only he can put together the necessary multi-cultural coalition to unite the Democrat Party. The Nevada caucus results are showing that may not be true. Due to Biden’s longevity in Democrat politics it has been presumed that he was the heir apparent to the mid to late 19th century minority, organized labor, and pro-environment wings of the party.
Yet Sanders garnished over 51 percent support from the Hispanic/Latino caucus attendees (the largest non white block at 18 percent), 27 percent support from the African-American participants (an 11 percent block), 42 Percent support from the Asian and Native American participants. Sanders sees majority support from the majority of non-white participants.
The Sanders Campaign attributes this to good old fashioned door knocking and reaching out early to the Hispanic communities, unlike the other candidates who seemed to catch on as an afterthought.
Sanders had strong support across Nevada and all demographics—and most notably, a majority of delegates at four of the six casino-based caucus sites on the Las Vegas strip where Culinary members work. That may be the biggest story out of Nevada. Last week, the leadership of the Culinary workers attacked Sanders’ Medicare For All health plan claiming it would diminish the high quality plan they Culinary members had fought for over 3 decades. The rank and file did their homework though finding that Sanders Medicare For All proposal added up in their favor. The Culinary workers membership determined that the Sanders plan was actually a furtherance of their organizing and national leadership on the issue.
As Sanders surges corporate leaning Democrats take pause
If New Hampshire was where Sanders became the frontrunner, it was in Nevada where his Democratic opponents showed just how ill-prepared they are to stop him. And they’re also running out of time. After South Carolina, which votes next Saturday, there’s just four days until Super Tuesday. Early voting is already under way in key states such as California. Michael Bloomberg has based his whole candidacy on the idea that the primary doesn’t really start until March 3rd; but it might just be where it ends.
In the upcoming Michigan primary, the week after Super Tuesday, a new poll conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Elections Research Center, released today by the Detroit Free Press, puts Sanders ahead of Biden by nearly 10 points.