Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won in a landslide during the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, with each garnering a 20 point lead in their respective party, causing speculation that voters are fed up with regular politicians. Both men were projected to win by the statistical forecasting website “538”, which gave Trump a 68% chance of winning, versus Bernie’s 99%. Voters came out in record numbers, and some of the results were surprising. In the Republican primary, John Kasich surprised everyone by coming in second place and receiving roughly 15% of the vote; he was followed closely by Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush who both received approximately 11% of the vote.
After votes have been tabulated, they are then converted– using each state’s respective idiosyncratic system– into pledged delegates, which are then combined with un-pledged delegates, typically prominent politicians who are not bound to vote for any particular candidate, in order to identify the candidate who yields a majority of the delegation. If no such majority exists, then a brokered convention occurs, during which a frontrunner is chosen based on political bartering. Brokered conventions are atypical, since in recent years a clear frontrunner has emerged with enough traction to avoid such a situation.
This delegate system endows New Hampshire’s primary rules with special significance. New Hampshire awards delegates proportionally, as one might intuitively expect, but only if they exceed a certain threshold– at least 10% in this case. Candidates who don’t exceed the threshold have their share of the delegation stripped from them and given to the front runner. Republicans compete for a New Hampshire delegation consisting of 23 pledged delegates in total, versus the 24 reserved for the Democrats.
Putting aside the technical aspects of the primary convention, the results of New Hampshire are (roughly) as follows: Sanders gets 15 pledged delegates, Trump gets 10, Clinton gets 9, Kasich gets 4, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush get 3, and everyone else gets a pat on the back.
In total the pledged delegate breakdown (combining the results of Iowa and New Hampshire) looks like this: Sanders 36, Clinton 32, Trump 17, Cruz 11, Rubio 10, Kasich 5, Bush 4, and Carson 3. Republicans need 1,237 delegates to win their nomination, and Democrats need 2,382.