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Politics

How the Missouri Primary May Influence the Presidential Race

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Steven Depolo
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Flikr

In the volatility that is the presidential primary season, it’s tough to predict how today’s Democratic and Republican front-runners will be positioned come mid-March, when Missouri voters make their selections.

With each state’s primary or caucus we’ll learn more about the candidate’s chances, and performance in some states may determine their fate. Missouri is not necessarily a make or break state, according to Drury University political science professor Dr. Daniel Ponder. But it doesn’t mean the vote is meaningless.

“By definition, the earlier states probably matter more because how a candidate performs in those early primaries is going to lead to whether or not they can stay in or if they’re viable for the later primaries.”

Before the voters cast their ballots, however, polling data is collected to determine the likelihood of victory for the candidates.

“The methodology differs, but essentially it boils down to the concept of random sampling which, for the most part, ensures that the final sample will be a pretty good approximation of the larger population from which it’s drawn.”

Most of that information is collected via call-based questioning. The development that is really turning the tables, says Ponder, is the addition of cell phones to the law-approved calling list. This helps to fully represent the youth vote within the polling forecast.

“Basically it comes down to type of random sampling where, in the end, the sample is usually going to be pretty representative of the population as a whole.”

As of now, the polling data for Missouri reveals that voters are leaning toward Donald Trump for the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nominee. However that data is linked to public perception and therefore changes frequently. 

The last day to register to vote in the Missouri presidential primary is February 17th, with the election set for March 15th.  The general election to decide the next president of the United States is in November.