When looking at polls one has to be careful about who is being polled. Polls that survey all citizens obtain opinions from many who will not vote. They are not as good as polls from people who are likely to vote and have a history of voting. Party-specific primary polls that obtain opinions from the other political party and Independents are not as accurate as polls who only include registered members of a particular party. This is why some polls are inaccurate. They have a greater removal from reality.
In the Presidential primary and caucus election process there is also some differences that have been accentuated in this election. What we need to realize is that not all Primaries are the same. Some are OPEN, some are CLOSED and some are MIXED or HYBRID.
Eleven states operate open primaries, which permit any registered voter to cast a vote in a primary, regardless of his or her political affiliation. This means that a Democrat could “cross over” and cast a vote in the Republican primary, or vice versa, and an unaffiliated voter can choose either major party’s primary.
Proponents say that this system gives voters maximum flexibility because they can cross party lines. Opponents counter that this system dilutes a political party’s ability to nominate its own candidate without interference from non-members.
Eleven states operate closed primary elections or caucuses. In either case, only voters who are registered as members of a political party prior to the primary date may participate in the nomination process for its candidates.
Proponents say that closed systems contribute to a strong party organization. Opponents note that independent or unaffiliated voters are excluded from the process.
Many states use primary election systems that fall somewhere in between “open” and “closed.” Procedures are unique from state to state, and how to categorize these primaries is a judgment call. Some states allow voters to cross party lines to vote. Depending on the state, choosing a ballot may actually be a form of registration in the party. States in this category also vary according to how they treat unaffiliated voters. They may or may not be permitted to vote in party primaries.
So in the Hybrid or Mixed system, one pathway may allow Independent registered voters to cast a primary ballot in either party of their choice. But Democrats cannot vote in Republican Primaries and vice versa.
The reason that this is so important is, in Open Primaries, one party can influence the nominee of the other party. For instance, let’s say you are a Democrat President that has served your first term of four years and you are up for re-election without any opposition. In an Open Primary then hoards of Democrats can skip their Democrat Primary and go vote in the Republican Primary. Those that do this are called “Crossover Voters.” And Crossover Voters who deliberately try to choose the weakest candidate of the opposing party to make their party’s election easier, are called “Party Raiders.”
The early Primaries contain a larger proportion of OPEN and MIXED Primaries, so you have a great deal of Crossover voting in the early part of the Presidential nominee process. That could mean that early front runners do not really reflect the choice of their Party. They may show more of a general election consensus but remember at this stage the electoral process is only trying to pick Party Nominees. And of course, early on the electoral process could be subject to Dirty Tricks.
So let’s take a look at the chart below, thanks to Maps of the World, and then we can make some conclusions for the Republican Presidential nominee process so far.
Republican Party Presidential Primary and Caucus Schedule See Results
|Date||State/territory||Election Type (Caucus/Primary)||Open or Closed||Result|
|Mar 5, 2016||Kansas||Caucus||Closed||NA|
|Mar 6, 2016||Puerto Rico||Primary||Open||NA|
|Mar 8, 2016||Hawaii||Caucus||Closed||NA|
|Mar 12, 2016||Guam||Territorial convention||Closed||NA|
|Mar 15, 2016||Florida||Primary||Closed||NA|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Caucus||Closed||NA|
|Mar 19, 2016||Virgin Islands||Caucus||Open||NA|
|Mar 22, 2016||American Samoa||Territorial convention||Open||NA|
|Apr 5, 2016||Wisconsin||Primary||Open||NA|
|Apr 19, 2016||New York||Primary||Closed||NA|
|Apr 26, 2016||Connecticut||Primary||Closed||NA|
|May 3, 2016||Indiana||Primary||Open||NA|
|May 10, 2016||Nebraska||Primary||Closed||NA|
|May 17, 2016||Oregon||Primary||Closed||NA|
|May 24, 2016||Washington||Primary||Closed||NA|
|Jun 7, 2016||California||Primary||Closed||NA|
|Completed Primary and Caucus of Republican Party|
|Feb 1, 2016||Iowa||Caucus||Closed||See Result|
|Feb 9, 2016||New Hampshire||Primary||Mixed||See Result|
|Feb 20, 2016||South Carolina||Primary||Open||See Result|
|Feb 23, 2016||Nevada||Caucus||Closed||See Result|
|Super Tuesday March 1, 2016||Alabama||Primary||Open||See Result|
Notice that all the Primaries that Ted Cruz won since Iowa, except for his home state of Texas, were CLOSED Primaries. – Alaska & Oklahoma. All the Primaries that he lost were OPEN or MIXED Primaries.
The question really is, how many new people is Donald Trump bringing into the Republican Party? Are they really new Republicans that are going to stay Republicans or are they Crossover voters and Party Raiders? Chances are they are some of both. But don’t get too carried away with all the new Republicans.
Saturday, March 5, 2016, should tell us more about what is really true here. All Republican Primaries for this day are CLOSED Primaries and the only sure bet for Trump is Louisiana. So let’s see how Cruz and Rubio do with the Party faithful only. After that, a clear majority of the Primaries are CLOSED and winner take all. That could present a problem for front-runner Trump.