Monday, March 31, 2008

Does Hillary have a chance?

Okay, please permit me to bring out my nerd statistic side out and ruminate a little bit on the state of the Democratic Presidential Election race.

According to Wikipedia (the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom), Barack Obama has collected 1415 delegates from the primaries that have already been held, while Hillary Clinton has collected 1255 from the same. This puts Barack at a lead of 160 delegates. Estimates of already-pledged superdelegates gives Hillary a lead of 246 to 214, taking Barack's total delegate lead down to 128.

Using the map at Electoral-vote, I used a large amount of personal interpretation of data (I pulled it out of my booty) to come up with the following estimated totals for the remaining contests:

Using a model that is fairly generous to Hillary (giving her a 60% victory in PA, MT, and OR and a 70% victory in WV, and a 50% tie everywhere else and not really taking into account the crazy way the delegates are split, which will actually work against her getting this big a lead), I come up with her winning 309 of the remaining delegates from the states yet to vote, while Barack gets 243. When you add that to the totals so far, you get an 1872 (1415+214+243) to 1810 (1255+246+309) lead for Barack. With that total, the candidates would need 152 and 214 superdelegates respectively to get to the magic number of 2024

According to Wikipedia (the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom), there are 328 superdelegates left to be seated. In order for Hillary to take this thing, she would have to pull in 65% of the remaining superdelegates along with winning fairly dramatically in what are, admittedly, fairly friendly states for her. Unfortunately for her, however, if you give Barack a little bit of a break and change the primary delegate allocation to a more reasonable (bit still somewhat Hillary friendly) 290 to 262, then you have a total of 1891 to 1791, meaning that the number of votes needed to seal the deal would be 133 and 233. In this scenario, Hillary needs to convince 72% of the superdelegates to vote for her.

Of course, all of this does not take into account the fact that none of the superdelegates are bound to the candidate that they have endorsed, and in fact, many have already changed affiliation.

In the end, this is likely still Obama's election to lose. After the Jeremiah Wright debacle, I thought he would lose it, but Hillary came to his rescue with her trademark wild exaggerations that seem to have evened out the tables a little on which candidate is least suited to be President. This is one election that I believe is going to come down to the wire. Hillary will close the gap significantly with fairly large victories in some key states from here to the end of the Primary season and those wins will certainly sway a number of superdelegates toward her, but when all is said and done the superdelegates will be looking at an election where Barack Obama won 1677 delegates through the primaries and Hillary won 1545. Then they will look at an election where anywhere between 100,000 and 500,000 more people voted for Hillary than Barack, and they will be facing a very tough choice. Do they follow the Gore 2000 sentiment that the popular vote should count, or follow the rules as they are set up. In either case, the losing side will be able to present a very reasonable case for why the nomination was "stolen" from them.

Whatever the outcome, I have my popcorn ready. Lets enjoy the show!

1 comment:

Brian R. said...

So, the question becomes...

Can McCain beat Barrack? Does experience have what it takes?

Will the Mariners actually make it to the playoffs this year??? GO YANKEES!!!

Thanks for inviting me to post! But I'm serious about the first question...