Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's all about superdelegates

The capsule summary is this: the winner of the Democratic National Convention will have to win by capturing a notable segment of elected Democratic officials and party functionaries. These ex-officio or "Superdelegates" make up 20% of the votes at the convention.

Don't believe me? Well, including projected totals in California and New Mexico (which are still coming in) and including the 1/3 of the superdelegates who've aligned themselves with a candidate...

Obama would need over 67% of pledged delegates to win the nomination without gaining additional superdelegates. Due to her lead in superdelegates, Hillary would need to score a mere 62%. In other words, not gonna happen...

After the craziness of Super Tuesday, here's what we know (or think we know):

  • According to the CNN pledged delegate tracker on MyDD, Obama has 635 pledged delegates to Clinton's 630.
  • This does not include NM and CA, who are still counting theirs. It is reasonable to assume once those two states are apportioned, Hillary will and Obama will each have about 790 pledged delegates. If anything, Hillary's narrow win in California may make the numbers 800-780.
  • It takes 2,025 votes to win the Democratic nomination.
  • Of the 4,049 delegates at the convention, 3,253 will be pledged.

  • We also know that:
  • On Super Tuesday, the candidates essentially split the vote on Super Tuesday.
  • While Obama is out-raising Hillary, she isn't as poorly off as some Obamamites want to think..
  • Despite the expectations game, neither Hillary or Obama are likely to dip below 40% in the near future.
  • Gallup's tracking poll is showing that Obama's momentum has stalled.

Here's where the numbers come from:
ScenarioClinton dgs.Obama dgs.Remaining dgs

So Hillary needs 1,039 delegates to secure the nomination. Obama need 1,126. There are 1,673 remaining pledged delegates gained through primaries and caucuses.

Even with 60% of the vote, Hillary Clinton cannot win the nomination without capturing at least 49 more "superdelegates".

It is ridiculous to think after this campaign that Hillary or Obama are going to capture 60% of the remaining vote. But we are in a zone right now where it all comes down to superdelegates. It does not come down to the remaining voters, but to who captures these elected officials or party functionaries.

I'm not saying that I like it, but I am saying that's what it is.

PS: My "what would a brokered convention look like" series will resume on Sunday.

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