Sunday, March 16, 2008

Road to the nomination

I recently put up a post with my prediction for the general election to answer the electability question for the two Democratic candidates (I have been updating it slightly as new primary results come in). Basically, it showed both are equally likely to be elected come November, but Obama had a lead in states that could be brought back into play.

Now I would like to turn those numbers to something a little more immediate, the Democratic nomination. I will be leaving currently unpledged super delegates out of the equation for now. My general idea on them is that both candidates are correct - Clinton is correct that technically they can vote however they want; Obama is correct that if they are seen to overturn the will of the people, there will be hell to pay.

They delegates, as they stand today (I'm not sure if they include the recent changes in Iowa and California) Obama is in the lead with 1,618 (1,411 pledged) against Clinton's 1,479 (1,242 pledged) - a healthy 169 pledged delegate lead - only 139 total. In order to catch up to Obama, Clinton will need to win about 65% of the delegates (there are 566 pledged delegates still open) from the remaining contests. Even so, Obama would need to win almost 72% of the remaining non-super delegates to make it to the 2,024 needed to clinch the nomination.

I don't see either of these things happening. Instead, this is the break down I see, based on current polls and similar states won (play with the delegate counts as you see fit on CNN):

PA Clinton - 55% 87
Obama - 45% 71
IN Clinton - 55% 40
Obama - 45% 32
WV Clinton - 53% 15
Obama - 47% 13
OR Clinton - 45% 23
Obama - 55% 29
SD Clinton - 40% 6
Obama - 60% 9
GU Clinton - 35% 1
Obama - 65% 3
NC Clinton - 48% 55
Obama - 52% 60
KY Clinton - 55% 28
Obama - 45% 23
MT Clinton - 44% 7
Obama - 56% 9
PR Clinton - 55% 30
Obama - 45% 25

This will give Obama 1,685 pledged, plus his current 207 super delegates is 1,892. Clinton would have 1,532 pledged (a 16 delegate gain), plus her current 237 super delegates giving her 1,769 total. There are only 351 super delegates that haven't pledged their support yet - Clinton would need about 73% of them to support her, Obama would need about 38%.

Oh, but wait! Clinton has also been asking that the Florida and Michigan delegates be seated. This would add 210 delegates from Florida and 156 delegates from Michigan (I couldn't find a break down of regular and super here). If we seat them as they voted already, that would add 191 delegates to Clinton's total and (if we give the Michigan undecideds to Obama) 132 delegates to Obama - pushing their totals to 2,024 for Obama and 1,723 for Clinton. Obama would win without any more super delegates. If they re-voted those totals would be greatly different, especially as Michigan may even switch to Obama (he would at least get better than the 40% "undecided" got almost two months ago).

Be careful what you wish for.


BAC said...

If Obama would win MI why did his state campaign chair, and state legislator, block the vote? What happened to "Mr. Uniter?"


John J. said...

According to the legislator, it would have disenfranchised a large number of voters and to get it done it time would have risked more issues. It would also have turned an open primary to a party only primary which could have had all sorts of other legal complications. I don't know all of the issues in the way, but they made the argument and the legislature agreed.