In presidential primaries, endorsements have been among the best predictors of which candidates will succeed. Of course, some endorsements are much more valuable than others. They may not be foolproof predictors, but the evidence is striking …
Clinton is thoroughly dominating endorsements with hundreds of “points” (see below) from lawmakers and governors, while Sanders has a mere two congressional endorsements, both in the House. Some 152 Democratic House members, out of 188, have endorsed Clinton. And labor unions, which split between Obama and Clinton in 2008, are overwhelmingly behind Clinton.
Using Nate Silver’s weighting system, Clinton has 458 endorsement points; Sanders has two, and O’Malley, one. (as of January 28)
Silver’s system is simple: 10 points for governors, 5 for U.S. senators and 1 for U.S. representatives (there are roughly five times as many representatives as senators and 10 times as many representatives as governors).
In 2008, more Democrats initially endorsed Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. Still, a steady flow of endorsements for Obama after his early successes in states like Iowa and South Carolina helped to signal that he was an acceptable choice among party elites and presaged his success in other states.
Tune in again tomorrow to find out the true meaning of endorsements — whether you like ’em or not.