Thursday, March 6, 2008

Updated Predictions on Unpledged Democratic Superdelegates

One thing that the March 4th primaries guaranteed is that the debate about Democratic superdelegates will continue for a while longer. While Clinton presently leads Obama among super delegates who have pledged their support, about half of the superdelegates remain uncommitted. So who will these unpledged superdelegates support?

I have now updated the predictions for which candidate unpledged Democratic superdelegates are likely to support. As before, I use information about the superdelegates who have committed to a candidate to generate predictions for 291 unpledged superdelegates. I exclude superdelegates from DC and the territories because we lack complete data from those areas, and from IL, NY, and AR because superdelegates in those states have nearly unanimously cast their support for their native son/daughter. As always, information on the superdelegates is provided by the Democratic Convention Watch site. You can find more about they methodology I use here. Check out the distribution of predicted support among unpledged superdelegates below.

Superdelegates who are between 40% and 60% likely to vote for Clinton/Obama are labeled as "unclear." There are a lot of superdelegates in this range, 109 to be exact. There are 103 unpledged superdelegates who are at least 60% likely to vote for Obama; 84 unpledged superdelegates are at least 60% likely to vote for Clinton. What these numbers suggest is that neither candidate is likely to build a large margin among superdelegates.

If these estimates are even remotely accurate (so far, the model has performed reasonably well, predicting over 70% of the Superdelegates who have endorsed in the last several weeks), then it is unlikely that Clinton would be able to take a net advantage of more than a 100 superdelegates once all is said and done. This means that if Obama is able to build more than a 100 delegate lead among pledged delegates, it is unlikely that Clinton could make up that advantage with superdelegates. You can see the estimates for each unpledged superdelegate here. The most likely Obama supporters include Rep. Dennis Moore (KS) and Gov. Dave Freudenthal (WY). The most likely Clinton supporters include Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) and Reps. Capps, Davis, and McNerney (CA).

UPDATE: Just hours after I posted these predictions, the Democratic Convention Watch Site added Barbara Boxer to the Clinton column. Their decision to do so is based on this article. As noted above, the model predicted her support for Clinton.


Mark Nickels said...

I can tell you one thing: party regulars will not like the nice things Clinton is saying about John McCain in reference to his foreign policy experience re Obama's. This is terrible tactics on her part, a monumental gaffe today, and she will lose more superdelegates over the next week. This is the second great tactical error of this primary year, second only to Rudy's absenting himself from the early primaries. You don't kneecap the frontrunner like this, his opponent as comparison.

Leonard said...

The truth is the truth.