Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Updated March 4th Democratic Delegate Estimates/Predictions: Clinton 188, Obama 182

As I've done since Super Tuesday, I'll be using survey data to estimate how the delegates will be allocated on March 4th. For the most part, these estimates have been fairly accurate (see here and here). I'm using the Pollster.com average of the recent surveys conducted in each state.

These estimates show that Clinton and Obama are currently set up to split the March 4th delegates roughly evenly.

However, there are three reasons to be cautious about these estimates. First, we are still a week away from the primary date, and a lot could change in that span of time. Second, at least in recent primaries, the polling has tended to underestimate Obama's support. This was not only the case in Wisconsin, but also in the Potomac primaries. It is unclear whether that will be the case on March 4th as well. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the Texas system is quite complicated and it is not easy to estimate how things will turn out there. They use a primary-caucus hybrid, which is explained in their delegate selection plan (summarized on p. 32 of the document). Essentially, 126 of Texas's pledged delegates will be allocated according to the results of the primary. However, on the night of the primary, Texas will also hold precinct caucuses. Those caucuses will eventually determine the division of the remaining 67 pledged delegates. Obama's strength in caucuses is well-known by now...he has been winning caucus events by 2-to-1 margins. If this advantage holds up in Texas, then Obama could come out of the state with a lot more delegates than the polling suggests.

I will update these predictions over the the next week as we get more polling in these states.

UPDATED on 2/27.

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