Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Just the numbers

All I have time for today is a few quick numbers from the Democratic race so far. (These data are from the Wikipedia article "Results of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries".)

In places where Democrats could actually vote--not be obliged to fight snow and ice to sit on their butts for hours--the overall results so far are these:

  • Obama: 9,024,521 = 51.5%
  • Clinton: 8,513,353 = 48.5%
The difference is about a half million votes.

But, that does not take into account the results from Florida and Michigan, which for now do not officially count. Michigan is truly meaningless because Obama was literally not even on the ballot there; nonetheless, it is interesting that Clinton's total there exceeds the current Obama margin. But Florida, though the votes don't "count", is still a valid measure of voter alignment, since each had the same non-opportunity there. With Florida results counted (by us, here, anyway) the numbers become:
  • Obama: 9,600,315 = 50.6%
  • Clinton: 9,383,656 = 49.4%
The difference is then under a quarter million votes.

What is interesting now is a look-ahead view: what are the big prizes still in play in primary (as opposed to caucus) states? Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania. No one knows how those will play out--that's why we hold elections--but the betting is that Clinton will win, probably by good margins, in Texas and Ohio (Latinos and blue-collar voters, groups with which she does well), and possibly in Pennsylvania, too.

Should that be the case, the arguments for how the "super delegates" should go becomes clearer: they should go with Clinton, as she will (we are assuming here) have won a clear majority of those Democrats in the nation who actually got a chance to vote on who they want to represent them in the election.

(CNN states that 60 percent of the remaining delegates are in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — all states where polls show the New York senator is leading Obama; if she takes a three-state cumulative lead of significantly over a quarter-million, which at this time seems highly likely, she will be the clear winner in true-primary states.
Also left to go as primary states are, in order: Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Vermont, Mississippi, Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota; it seems unlikely that either candidate will have any clear net sweep of voters in those states, even cumulatively.
And for my money (and based on my personal experiences), they can take the caucus-state results and stick them up a tree.

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