Indiana Bellwether Points to Clinton Win

The Indiana bellwether area of Delaware County points to Hillary Clinton to win the Indiana Democratic Primary, according to election-eve research conducted by Suffolk University.

 In the random-digit-dial selection of likely Democratic households, Clinton led Barack Obama 44 percent-to-37 percent, with 16 percent undecided and 3 percent refusing to respond. This 7-percent margin closely mirrors the 49-percent-to-43-percent-margin statewide Democratic poll released by the Suffolk University Political Research Center on the morning of May 5.

Election trends

Although bellwethers are a developing science and are not designed to depict actual margins, they have been remarkably accurate in predicting outcomes.

 The Center’s 2008 analyses were made using a new election predictor module employed successfully with the Democratic Primaries in New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania and the GOP Florida Primary. It is based on a number of statistical indices, including statewide polling and bellwether geographic areas.

 “We’ll be watching how Delaware County fares in today’s election,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Historical election trends have put Delaware County in the Indiana spotlight. We'll know in a matter of hours whether this trend will continue in the 2008 election.”

 The last two times a non-incumbent president was on a presidential preference ballot in Delaware County, in 1988 and 2000, the bellwether area mirrored not only the exact order of finish statewide, but was within 4 percent for the top three vote-getters in each major party.

 Since the bellwether predictor module was incorporated as a sister-test to the Suffolk statewide polling, no actual election result has run counter to the statewide poll and the bellwether, when both tests have agreed. When the two tests disagree, the bellwether test(s) have oftentimes been more accurate.

 On Jan. 29, 2008, the Political Research Center’s Florida bellwether, Hillsborough County, almost exactly matched the statewide Republican Primary results. On Jan. 8, 2008, the New Hampshire Presidential Primary bellwether towns – Kingston and Sandown – predicted a Clinton win in the Democratic Primary, while no other leading indicator in the country had Clinton winning. The bellwether analysis was also highly successful as an added statistical test to the statewide polls of Democratic voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The bellwether analysis was also used in both the 2006 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Democratic Primary and General Elections.



Suffolk University interviewed 361 likely Democratic voters from a randomly selected list of 5,000 residents of Delaware County, Ind. All phoning took place on Sunday, May 4, and Monday, May 5, 2008. There was an equal probability of contacting and interviewing registered voters of all party affiliations, provided that they identified themselves as very likely or somewhat likely to take a Democratic ballot on Tuesday. The execution of the identification interviews was by live telephone call. For more information, please contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.