Sunday, February 17, 2008

Election Math

This rainy Boston morning, I thought I would do some small election math. Here's where things currently stand:

Pledged Delegates (won through primaries and Caucuses)
Obama 1134
Clinton 996
Obama +138

Super Delegates
Obama 168
Clinton 239
Clinton +71

Total to Date
Clinton 1235
Obama 1302
Obama + 67

There are 18 Caucuses and Primaries remaining + results from Dems abroad due back Wednesday. These contests have a total of 1082 delegates remaining. For the sake of argument lets say these delegates split right down the middle, 541 each. That puts their totals at:

Obama 1843
Clinton 1787

Their delegates won (not including supers) would be:
Obama 1675
Clinton 1537

Interestingly, the spreadsheet tat the Obama camp inadvertently sent to reporters shows an exact split of the remaining delegates. If you think they might be overly optimistic, they out performed their projections since Super Tuesday by wide margins. They will probably do better in a few states than what they have on the sheet. They should fare better in Texas, Vermont, North Carolina, Montana and Oregon, but do worse in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The net is that they should do a little better than a 50-50 split.

That would leave the race up to the remaining super delegates. There are 388 remaining Super delegates. Once again, assuming a 50-50 split. Give each candidate 184 apiece. That makes the math the following:

Obama 2037
Clinton 1870
2025 needed to nominate. Obama would win the nomination by a very slim margin.

While a 50-50 split of Supers might seem unreasonable since Barack has only garnered about 41% of those that have endorsed to date, much of that came early on when Hillary was the front runner. Now that it is a contest, Super's are probably going to feel a little internal pressure not to over turn the winner of the most pledged delegates. It would be hard to imagine that if you have stayed neutral to this point, that more than 50% of those neutral observers would choose someone that won less states, less delegates and probably less votes.

Nice theory, but things don't always work to script. Now that Obama is the front runner, he is taking shots from both sides. John McCain has hit him on campaign financing and Clinton has joined the fray. There have been other stories which have had a negative effect on him like this Deval Patrick speech story. Although collaborating with a friend is a minor story, it could be the beginning of a slow drip of undermining coverage. The only thing people like more than building heroes is to watch them fall from grace.

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