Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 6, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

POOL RESULTS....So who won our delegate pool yesterday? Here's a projection from Chuck Todd:

It looks like Obama, by the narrowest of margins, won last night's delegate hunt. By our estimates, he picked up 840 to 849 delegates versus 829-838 for Clinton.

So figure it's roughly 845-836 in Obama's favor, which is precisely the prediction from Lerxst at 3:41 pm yesterday. Eerie. I'm actually not sure if we'll ever get an absolutely precise delegate count from Super Tuesday, so this might be the best we do. Congratulations, Lerxst!

UPDATE: If this holds up, by the way, it means that Obama won 50.2% of the delegates to Clinton's 49.8%. This is remarkably close to the two-person total of the state vote, which Obama won 51-49. Kinda makes you wonder why we even bother with all this state-by-state folderal in the first place.

Kevin Drum 12:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

What does he get? A free trip to Starbucks and a shot at redemption for America?

Posted by: Kenji on February 6, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly it isn't possible to get a more precise count at this time. In the caucus states, the count is not yet determined, since actual convention delegates won't be chosen until after a couple more steps. There is lots of room to jockey for advantage along the way.

Posted by: ammonite on February 6, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

How about a photo opportunity and a shot at redemption?

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 6, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm worried that ammonite might be right, so I won't boast about this yet...dumb luck on my part anyway.

Posted by: lerxst on February 6, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

A salient comment from last night's pundits ; Obama won None of the large ,populated states. ny,nj,mi,ca,fl,mass plus others, all went to Hilary. there is no way a close convention will ignore that reality.

Posted by: jupiter giant on February 6, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

and Hillary got over one million votes than Obama.

But no one seems to think thats worth mentioning.

Posted by: real dem on February 6, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda makes you wonder why we even bother with all this state-by-state folderal in the first place.

Been wondering that myself for years.

Posted by: jimBOB on February 6, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

jupiter giant...please you really want to throw in the alrge states (MI and FL) where Obama didn't campaign and has no name recognition...I agree he'd probably lose FL b/c of demographics, but c'mon.

real dem, Doesn't that population total ignore all the caucus states?

I usually lurk here but since I got a plug from Kevin I'll throw in my 2 cents.

There are states coming up like WI, IN and PA...Obama will ahve time to prove himself in a setup where he can introduce himself to voters.

16 years of name recognition ("Clinton") counts for alot to over come in a week or two.

Posted by: lerxst on February 6, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Kansas and Arkansas have 32 and 35 delegates, respectively.

Kansas is a caucus and Arkansas is a primary.

Turnout for Kansas was 30,000 (there were only 50 caucus sites and the whole process took hours), turnout for Arkansas was 250,000.

The whole concept of caucuses is bullshit.

Obama won all the caucus states, but lost most of the primaries.

Posted by: Jonathan on February 6, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

But I thought Inkblot and Norman were tied.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 6, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Problem is-- all of those 'superdelegates'...

If the 50-50 split continues, neither candidate will reach the convention with a pledged delegate group large enough to win. Thus, the convention may end up playing out in the superdelegate arena... Can you hear the outcry if the superdelegates end up deciding this?

And, take note, on CNN.com this morning, Hillary had 193 superdelegates to Obama's 106. Because of this difference, her delegate total is higher than Obama's. Especially in the wake of 2000, I shudder at the thought of political shenanigans-- whatever their stripe-- being the decider of a candidate. This would destroy the Democratic Party-- and rightly so.

Maybe I am barking up trees here-- In the long run, one of the candidates may get the 2000-something delegates from the primaries which would make their win legitimate-- but, in any case, I think it is high time to revisit the primaries and the superdelegates. The system is simply not democratic.

Posted by: Castor Troy on February 6, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama will ahve time to prove himself "

Obama is out of time. Repeating hope, hope, hope, doesn't work anymore. Besides, what is he winning? Independents? Those ticket-splitters have no stake in the goals of a progressive Democratic party. I'll take the democrat, thank you. Actually I did, yesterday.

Posted by: nene on February 6, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

even weirder, according to tom schaller, the actual vote total was 50.2 clinton, to 49.8 obama.

Posted by: chris brandow on February 6, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Why should I care/worry about all this mostly "made up" arithmetic because both Clinton & Obama are going to be on the ballot in November anyway.

And Bill will probably be Ambassador to the U.N. while Richardson will probably be SecState.

Cool off folks. The ReThuglican`ts are running very, very scared.

Of course there IS always the possibility of some late summer "surprise".

"Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know." - M. King Hubbert

Posted by: daCascadian on February 6, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Castor Troy,

I was just going to mention the Superdelegate problem. A great site to see who the superdelegates are, how many are pledged to Clinton/Obama, and the rules of the game is given below. So far 201 superdelegates have pledged to Clinton vs. 110 to Obama. There are 411 undeclared superdelegates at the present time.

Dem Convention Watch

Posted by: nepeta on February 6, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe you didn't find a way to make a pun on 'federal' and 'folderal' in the last sentence. What a waste.

Posted by: ixnaythemetier on February 6, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum - though CNN is hiding the vote totals right now and featuring only the delegate count, Clinton won a small majority of the votes. [And if you exclude NY and Illinios, her margin increases ....]

Posted by: Klio on February 6, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

CNN's delagate count.

Posted by: Mike on February 6, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

If the contest is still very close after the last primary, the super delegates may be in a bind:

Would a vote for the "insider", HRC, cause enough rubblings to end the super delagate system? After all, super delegate where created after '68 to counter the insider influence in that convention.

Yet voting for Obama, if he is short a few regular delegates, might also lead to their abolition.

Or they may try to figure out which one would have enough down-ballot pull to help them keep their precious positions?

Sounds like a condition rife with backroom meetings, something primaries were supposed to prevent.

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Five reasons Hillary should be worried.



  1. "She lost the delegate derby."

  2. "She essentially tied Obama in the popular vote."

  3. "She lost more states."

  4. "She lost the January cash war."

  5. "The calendar is her enemy."

"Now that more than half the states have weighed in, there is a fairly predictable formula for determining who is most likely to win the upcoming contests.

In caucus states, Obama’s organizational strength shines: He has won seven of eight. Up next are three more caucus states, Washington, Nebraska and Maine.

Obama also runs tremendously well in states with large African-American populations, another promising sign since next Tuesday’s three primaries are in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia — all of which have significant percentages of black voters.

Then comes another caucus state, Hawaii, where Obama is viewed as a native son.

The bottom line is that it figures to be another month before Clinton hits a stretch of states — places like Ohio and Pennsylvania — where she will be strongly favored to win.

So it couldn’t any be clearer as to why the supposedly inevitable candidacy is anything but — even when she’s supposedly winning."

Posted by: Boorring on February 6, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hey everyone, delegate count is still changing ... right now CNN shows Hilary won 619 delegates yesterday, Obama 614.

But these totals will change until all the votes are counted. So isn't it a bit premature to get smug over the so-called win of your preferred candidate?

Posted by: optical weenie on February 6, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama won all the caucus states, but lost most of the primaries."

Usually that means the caucus winner has a superior organization.

Posted by: drosz on February 6, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

"If this holds up, by the way, it means that Obama won 50.2% of the delegates to Clinton's 49.8%. This is remarkably close to the two-person total of the state vote, which Obama won 51-49."
Ummm, Kevin, it's actually the reverse of the popular vote:
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/06/643412.aspx

"With almost all of the voting in, here’s the popular vote calculation for the Democrats:

Clinton 48.97% (6,967,302)
Obama 48.04% (6,835,447)

Based on totals on MSNBC.com, there are still some outstanding votes. There is only 82% reporting in Minnesota; Arkansas is 92% in; Arizona is 93% in; California is 96%; Illinois is 97%; New Mexico is 98%; Alaska looks like delegate votes not raw vote."

Posted by: anatol on February 6, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

People need to keep in mind that most of the super delegates have not yet made a commitment to either candidate. There are over 400 uncommitted delegates left. The best way for Obama to cut into Clinton's marginal lead or for Clinton to cement her tiny advantage is to pick off super delegates. You can bet both campaigns are working the phone lines hard. I know that the pundit class is saying the Teddy Kennedy endorsement was a bust, but in the super delegate race the Kennedy endorsement must seem crucial to offsetting Bill's telephone star power.

Lets say you are a sitting member of congress, who is going to get your attention more Teddy or Bill? My guess would be Teddy. His vote is still relevant.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 6, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

realdem wrote: and Hillary got over one million votes than Obama.

I don't know what you mean by this. From everything I have seen, the popular vote totals are extremely close. What is your reference for this info?

Posted by: brent on February 6, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

UPDATE: If this holds up, by the way, it means that Obama won 50.2% of the delegates to Clinton's 49.8%. This is remarkably close to the two-person total of the state vote, which Obama won 51-49. Kinda makes you wonder why we even bother with all this state-by-state folderal in the first place.

Quite so. The notion of paying specific attention to the results of specific states, as if they were completely discrete results, is just crazy.

Posted by: mk on February 6, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

This might be just good campaign rhetoric (I suspect it is), but if Obama believes it, he is a fool....
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080206/ap_on_el_pr/obama;_ylt=AilMvsfXp2UeirCIGeFgd6Cs0NUE

One of the key quotes:
Asked about Clinton's recent comment that she would not allow herself to be victimized by the type of Swift Boat-style attacks that were leveled against Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 race, Obama said he had been vetted by his opponent in the nominating campaign.
"I have to just respond by saying that the Clinton research operation is about as good as anybody's out there," he said.
"I assure you that having engaged in a contest against them for the last year that they've pulled out all the stops."

WRONG!

Posted by: Bush Lover on February 6, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure someone has already suggested this, but is there some way to evaluate the delegate totals that removes states where Democrats do not stand a chance in hell of winning in November?

Posted by: JR1 on February 6, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK
I'm sure someone has already suggested this, but is there some way to evaluate the delegate totals that removes states where Democrats do not stand a chance in hell of winning in November?

Are there any such states? Sure, the static view of states political alignment would be that there are, but the static view has been proven wrong before (1984, in the Republicans favor).

Which states the Democrats have a chance of winning depend which candidate each party nominates, how they get to a nominee, how the general election campaign runs, and what the specific state of the country and world are between now and the general election.

(Anyway, the delegate assignment formula already weights delegates, among other things, to the strength of the Democratic Party in various states, so primary/caucus votes in more Democratic states are already more heavily weighted, all other things being equal, then those less Democratic states.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 6, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

"A salient comment from last night's pundits ; Obama won None of the large ,populated states. ny,nj,mi,ca,fl,mass plus others, all went to Hilary. there is no way a close convention will ignore that reality."

Complete utter crap. Disregarding the inclusion of FL and MI, Obama won Illinois and Georgia -- states that are bigger than NJ and MA. And he won by far larger margins than Hilary won in any state.

At this point, Obama has won the biggest state in the South (Georgia), the biggest state in the Midwest (Illinois), and the biggest state in the Mountain West (Colorado).

Posted by: Joe on February 6, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

apparently 845 to 836 is EXACTLY what Obama's camp is saying:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20080206/cm_thenation/15281018

Posted by: lerxst on February 6, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

We apportion by congressional district because that's how the electoral college does it. Would it really make much sense to do it in another way? Primaries should reflect the general election method ology, both because it makes for good practice and gives you the most accurate reflection of where a persons support in the general election would be.

Posted by: soullite on February 6, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

A salient comment from last night's pundits ; Obama won None of the large ,populated states. ny,nj,mi,ca,fl,mass plus others, all went to Hilary. there is no way a close convention will ignore that reality."

So, Hillary Clinton's strategy to win in November is to nail the "Big Blue" states and ignore all of the insignificant states in the middle? Gee, that's worked out so well for the Dems in recent elections.

Whomever gets the nomination must be able to win states in the Midwest, Southwest, and South. Hillary had a few victories there, but Obama plays better in the red states.

Hillary must be sweating bullets. Especially after having to spend $5 million of her own cash. I think she could still pull it out, but her nomination is far from inevitable.

Posted by: lobbygow on February 6, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK
We apportion by congressional district because that's how the electoral college does it.

Except that Democratic delegates aren't apportioned in the same way as the electoral college.

Primaries should reflect the general election method ology, both because it makes for good practice and gives you the most accurate reflection of where a persons support in the general election would be.

That's an interesting theory, but that's certainly not the basis of the present convention delegate apportionment or the rules on what is acceptable in primaries.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 6, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin ,MSNBC has finally corrected its delegate totals back to the real world totals everyone else has, with Hillary about 80 to 100 delegates above Obama. Chuck Todd and MSNBC should be considered, leans Obama................

Posted by: james b on February 7, 2008 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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