If the Iowa caucus was any closer for the Democrats, it would’ve merited a recount. With Hillary receiving 49.9% of the vote and Bernie receiving 49.5%, Hillary defeated Bernie Sanders in a close race by a mere five votes (700 to 695).
Just three days earlier polls showed Hillary leading Bernie by eight points – or a margin twenty times higher than what she actually won by.
To put in perspective how close the race really was, Hillary didn’t really win; luck did.
As Marketwatch reports:
While it was hard to call a winner between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders last night, it’s easy to say who was luckier.
The race between the Democrat presidential hopefuls was so tight in the Iowa caucus Monday that in at least six precincts, the decision on awarding a county delegate came down to a coin toss. And Clinton won all six, media reports said.
The situation came about in precincts where Sanders and Clinton were running neck-and-neck, but there were an odd number of delegates, so they couldn’t be evenly split between the two.
While it may seem a chancy way to break a deadlock, official state rules lay out the procedure. Iowa’s Democratic caucus guide says: “Note: In a case where two or more preference groups are tied for the loss of a delegate, a coin shall be tossed to determine who loses the delegate,” the Independent newspaper pointed out.
The odds were certainly in Hillary’s favor, as the probability of six correct coin tosses was only 1.7 percent. Had there been an even 50-50 split, Bernie would’ve won the Iowa caucus 698-697.
Let’s see if she can keep up her lucky streak in New Hampshire next.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]