Saturday, March 8, 2008

Delegate Estimates for Upcoming Democratic Primaries

It looks as though Obama is on his way to another caucus state victory in Wyoming today. Based on the current vote totals from the state (with 78% of the precincts reporting), Obama would likely take 7 delegates from today's caucuses compared to 5 for Clinton.

Over the next two months, there will be just four primaries, beginning with Mississippi on Tuesday, Pennsylvania on April 22nd, and Indiana and North Carolina on May 6th. But why wait to start trying to get a sense of how many delegates each candidate will pile up between now and mid-May? Using averages of the surveys conducted in the upcoming primary states, I've allocated the delegates as the polls would suggest they will be divided. This method has been fairly reliable in most of the earlier primaries (see here and here). Currently, there have been no polls in Indiana, but we do have at least three surveys to work from in each of the other three states.

As you can see, Obama is expected to win Mississippi and the polls suggest that he would have a net gain of 5 delegates from that state. Clinton is presently running strong in Pennsylvania and if the survey averages are correct (and stay where they are), she would pick up 22 delegates in that state. North Carolina is another Obama state, and he is currently expected to pick up 11 delegates there. While we have no survey data on Indiana yet, there is some reason to believe that Obama and Clinton would probably run pretty evenly there. If they did, then by mid-May, Clinton would have only cut into Obama's lead by 5-10 delegates.

What does this mean? Well, unless something drastically changes in the race, it means that Clinton desperately needs Florida to have a re-vote if she has any chance of significantly cutting into Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Rasmussen Reports recently polled voters in Florida and Michigan to see which candidates voters would prefer if those states held another primary. In Michigan, the candidates were tied, which means Obama and Clinton would split the delegates from that state relatively evenly. Florida, however, offers a big pick-up opportunity for Clinton. According to the poll in that state, Clinton leads Obama 55-39%, which would allow her to pick up around 30 delegates from that state. That still would not over-take Obama's pledged delegate lead, but it would allow her to get closer and the closer it gets, the more important those superdelegates become. Ironically, the news reports over the past week have suggested that Michigan is more likely to hold a re-vote than Florida, but we will see.

I'll continue to update these estimates over the coming weeks (or months)...

1 comment:

Bioclyde said...

I have a couple question to ask. I am an outsider of sorts, I live in Canada. I am, however, interested in the election process in the USA.

Question: By adding Florida and Michigan, wouldn't that alter the total delegates needed?

The problems of reaching the ultimate goal of 2025 delegates would be none how could that help the Clinton camp?

Claudia, in New Brunswick Canada