There has been much discussion since the Pennsylvania primary of the Clinton campaign's claim that she is now ahead in the popular vote. Of course, this only happens when you figure in Michigan and Florida into the count, and only when you do it in a very specific way.
According to MSNBC, the popular vote with every state included except Michigan (i.e. every state where Obama was at least on the ballot) breaks down like this:
If you include all of Clinton's Michigan vote and nothing in Michigan for Obama (who was not on the ballot there), then you get a Clinton lead (this is the metric being promoted by the Clinton campaign):
Of course, most people are looking at this metric with a great deal of skepticism. Of the 593,837 Democrats who turned out to vote in the Michigan primary, 55% (328,151) cast their vote for Clinton. But what would have happened if all the candidates' names had been on the ballot? Fortunately, we have exit polls from Michigan which can give us some insight here. On the exit poll survey, voters were asked who they would have voted for had every candidate's name actually been on the ballot. Here are the results:
So, what happens if re-allocate the Michigan vote accordingly? In Michigan, the vote would have broken down as follows:
Clinton: 273,165 votes
Obama: 207,843 votes
Edwards: 71,260 votes
Thus, had Obama's name been on the ballot, Clinton's margin in the state would have been much smaller. Of course, there is no really good metric for measuring the vote in Michigan. Even in this scenario we have to assume that turnout wasn't suppressed by the fact that Obama's name wasn't on the ballot. Yet, you can imagine that many Obama supporters (and some Clinton supporters) may not have bothered to turn out to vote given that they knew that their votes were not likely to count. Nevertheless, this metric probably comes closest to capturing the actual preferences of those who did turn out to vote in Michigan.
So, how big a difference does this make in calculating the popular vote nationwide? If you add in the Michigan vote using the reallocation based on the exit polls, then you get the following national count:
Obama: 15,224,450 votes
Clinton: 15,095,565 votes
That would give Obama a lead of more than 120,000 votes nationwide, a lead that would be difficult for Clinton to overcome in the remaining states.