May 7, 2008

How Close Is The Democratic Primary?

I sat around and watched a little about the Democratic Primaries in North Carolina and Indiana last night. Obama took a pretty sound victory in North Carolina and Clinton managed to just squeak out a win in Indiana. So I started thinking about how close this primary was and what it would take for each candidate to win the primary. It turns out that this race isn't as close as the media would have you believe.

One of the major issues muddying up the Democratic landscape is the large body of "superdelegates" who have yet to throw their hat in the ring for one candidate or another. Currently Clinton leads in pledged superdelegates, but by a slight margin. To make my analysis easier I assumed that Obama and Clinton would split the remaining 277 superdelegate votes (139C, 138O). If this turns out to be the case the race for the nomination is not nearly as close as I had previously thought.

Taking the assumption that the candidates will split the remaining supers leaves 5 states (WV, OR, SD, KY, MT) and Puerto Rico to contribute their votes. For Obama to win the nomination he needs just 24% of the votes from each state. That means Hillary will have to muster more than 76% in every single contest left to be able to keep Obama from reaching that 2,025 threshold and securing the nomination. Interestingly enough, even if Clinton does receive that large of a turnout, she will not have clinched the nomination as she will have only 1,986 delegates.

So to me the race seems far out of hand for Clinton. That is, unless she knows something I don't, like how many unpledged superdelegates are going to vote for her. Even then she would need a massive amount of the remaining superdelegate votes to make this race go her way. Can someone please sit down with both the candidates, run over the numbers and then make an informed decision as to whether this process should continue, or would the voters be better served with a candidate to support against the GOP nomination.

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