Saturday, April 26, 2008

Delegate Obsession Update [UPDATED 5/1 to reflect new superdelegate endorsements and new polls in IN and NC favoring Hillary.]
After PA, the current pledged delegate count gives Obama a lead of 154, 1490-1336. Current superdelegate endorsements cut that lead to 133, 1734-1601.

Following my formula for analyzing polls, in which the most recent 3 for each state are averaged, and the remaining (undecided) percentage points are awarded 2:1 in favor of Hillary, future states for which recent polls are available show Obama winning NC, OR and SD, losing IN, and getting pounded in WV, KY and PR, resulting in a net gain for Hillary in delegates of 40 (if you assign popular vote percentages to the delegates at stake - a crude approximation to be sure), which would make the delegate total:

Obama 1908
Clinton 1815
Obama +93

Currently, 2,024 delegates are required to win the nomination. Obama can safely count on at least 1 additional delegate from Guam (out of 4), and 7 from Montana (out of 16) giving him a projected 1916. There are 285 superdelegates left to endorse. With 108 of them (37.9%), Obama will have enough delegates to win, presuming none of his current delegates defect. If the campaign knows of 100 or so who are willing to endorse, the next couple of weeks would be a great time to unveil them.

Side note. Hillary's argument to the remaining superdelegates will obviously depend on the popular vote. Applying the percentages I've used from the polled states to the turnout estimates I have read would give Hillary a gain of just over 500,000 votes in those remaining states (minus Guam and MT, for which there are no polls). This will still leave Obama ahead in the popular vote count by about 100,000, unless you - unfairly - leave out the caucus states, in which case the popular vote total is closer, but Obama still narrowly leads. Adding Florida - where the candidates did not campaign - would put Hillary in the lead by a few hundred thousand. That will obviously be her argument to those remaining 300 superdelegates, that considering every state with a primary, more voters prefer her.

Because she stands to rack up huge margins in WV and KY (gaining over 300,000 in my estimate), I am hoping that wins in NC and IN on May 6 convince superdelegates to put an end to this nonsense before we ever get to those 2 states on May 13 and 20, respectively. And why wouldn't you? If you are for Obama, wouldn't you rather come out after a couple of wins, then wait through some pounding losses that give Clinton the impression of momentum?

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