Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Does this still qualify as "news"?

Here is the scoreboard for the nomination contest:

Delegate Count:

Barack Obama

Total Delegates: 1732

Pledged Delegates: 1489

Super Delegates: 243

Hillary Clinton

Total Delegates: 1595

Pledged Delegates: 1333

Super Delegates: 262

This includes the Pennsylvania results which awarded 83 delegates to Senator Clinton and 73 delegates to Senator Obama.

But let’s put this aside because the Clinton campaign has changed its tune (again) and decided that it is popular vote that matters. This ignores the fact that nominees for President are not selected based on votes, but rather by delegates.

Popular Vote Total:

Obama: 14,418,784

Clinton: 13,917,318

Margin: Obama +501,466

So, how does Hillary Clinton come to the conclusion that she is leading in the popular vote. Perhaps we should look at the primary states that were stripped of their Delegates by the DNC:

Florida Vote Count:

Obama: 576,214

Clinton: 870,986

So, how does that impact the popular vote totals?

Obama: 14,994,998

Clinton: 14,788,304

Margin: Obama +206,694

That does not get her into the lead. What if we add the Michigan Vote Count:

Clinton: 328,309

Uncommitted: 238,168

This makes things complicated since there was an agreement among the candidates to not campaign in Michigan and most of the candidates removed their names from the ballot. Do we assume that only Clinton should get votes from Michigan? Well she does because it is only by giving Senator Clinton the 328,309 votes and Senator Obama none that she is able to push her into the lead. But of course it will require a compromise between the two candidates to seat the contested state delegations at the National Convention. I can’t imagine that this compromise would stand a chance unless there was an agreement to award the uncommitted votes to Senator Obama. Using that standard, if you add the Michigan totals are:

Obama: 15,233,166

Clinton: 15,116,613

Margin: Obama +16,553

Florida has a halfway decent argument that their delegates should be seating at the Convention in August. A Republican Governor and a Republican Legislature forced the date change on the state Party.

Michigan’s argument is ridiculous. It doesn’t warrant further discussion.

Of course the problem with these numbers is they don’t count states that hold Caucuses instead of Primaries. Real Clear Politics estimates for what the vote count would be if we included caucus states:

Obama: 4,752,868

Clinton: 4,141,180

Margin: Obama +611,688

Chuck Todd from MSNBC, on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Wednesday, April 23rd said: “if we treated this the way we would call an election in a state, you know, the way our numbers gurus are looking at this stuff, we would call it. It‘s over. The pledged delegate count is going to be Obama‘s, it just is - because of proportionality, it is mathematically impossible for her to take the lead.”

I try not to argue with Chuck Todd more then absolutely necessary.

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