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January 2008

Adjustments Ahead of South Carolina

Some relatively minor updates in advance of the South Carolina results. A few more superdelegates getting counted, and Kucinich, Hunter and Thompson get their delegate counts zeroed.

More Superdelegate Games

This is really annoying. Yesterday I spent a lot of time talking about CNN taking a bunch of superdelegates away from various candidates, hurting Romney more than anybody else. Guess what. Today CNN put them all back. The totals are exactly where they were two days ago. Whatever happened yesterday? Doesn’t look like it was a real change in the opinions of superdelegates. Doesn’t look like it was a change in CNN’s methodology either. What does it look like? Someone at CNN just screwed up and accidentally posted something that didn’t include a bunch of delegates. They then realized their mistake and changed it back. Doh! And now my graphs will have that dip forever. Grrr…

Anyway, updated graphs…

Superdelegate Games

I wasn’t expecting another meaningful update to my Delegate Graphs until the Democratic South Carolina Primary this weekend (unless they zeroed the Thompson or Hunter delegates), but between yesterday and today CNN updated a bunch of their delegate totals… basically taking delegates away from folks. I have only been tracking the totals, not all the state by state breakdowns, so I can’t tell EXACTLY what changed unfortunately… but I think what is going on is simply that CNN has taken some of the superdelegates (called unpledged delegates on the republican side) who they had previously placed in one person or another’s column and put them back into the undecided category, presumably because the latest CNN survey of those delegates showed that change in preference.

Anyway, here are the updated charts:

On the Democratic side the change was pretty minor. Clinton lost eight delegates, dropping from 210 to 202. Obama lost seven delegates, dropping from 123 to 116. Edwards lost one, going from 52 to 51. In terms of percentages, this helped Hillary and Edwards, and hurt Obama. But these were minor adjustments.

The change on the Republican side is much more dramatic. A *lot* of delegates that had been previously allocated to one candidate or another are now no longer in anybody’s column. And it hurt one candidate very badly. That candidate would be Romney. CNN’s estimates of his delegate support dropped from 72 to 48, losing 24… a full third of his delegates. McCain lost 5. Huckabee lost 1. In terms of percentages, this hurt Romney badly. Everybody else’s percentages went up.

Now, of course all this points out that these delegate totals are ESTIMATES. As mentioned, I think the big factor in these changes is superdelegates. CNN has to somehow determine which columns to put these people in. I’m using CNN’s estimates, but there are a number of other places also giving delegate totals… and they all have somewhat different numbers. Because they use different methodologies to determine how to count these “free” delegates. Some only count them if they have made a public declaration of their preferences. Some count them just if their public statement seem to favor one candidate or another. Etc. I’m not sure exactly what CNN’s methods are though. I do wish I knew if this change in the Romney total is due to an actual exodus of delegates who had previously been for him, or if it is just a change in CNN’s methodology. But I don’t know that.

Oh, and the other source of potential flux in some of these numbers is of course that the states that have caucuses rather than primaries usually have a multi-stage process. With the initial precinct caucus actually electing delegates to later county caucuses, who then elect delegates to an even later state caucus, who then finally elect delegates to the national convention. So the “delegate totals” reported for caucus states have to make assumptions that at each stage the delegates will do what they originally were pledged to do and not change their minds, etc.

For that matter, while there is strong tradition and pressure against it and it is unlikely, there is apparently nothing that would actually prevent the delegates at the national conventions from changing their minds and voting for Bugs Bunny rather than whoever they were pledged for originally… even on the first ballot. Remember, in all of this there is *NO* direct connection between the voters voting and what actually happens at the convention. The primaries and caucuses end up selecting actual human beings called delegates who then go to the convention and vote. It isn’t automatic. Delegates are people, not robots, and can do that human thing called changing their minds.

So anyway, my graphs are based on whatever the CNN methodology is for determining these delegate counts, and for whatever reason they took away a crapload of Romney delegates today from their totals, making the Republican delegate race look a lot closer than it did yesterday.

Now, again, I don’t know if that is a REAL change, or just a change in CNN’s methodology.

However, even with a change this big, it will be dwarfed by the number of delegates up for grabs on February 5th… and between now and then everybody is all amount momentum anyway, and everybody is considering McCain the frontrunner even though he has less delegates, etc… so… looking in detail at these things at this point is really only for delegate race junkies like me. :-)

Review Time

It is the time of year to do annual reviews and such in my company. Today I have to do my self-review. Soon I will need to do peer reviews and reviews for those working for me. So of course I have that whole phenomenon where I have a blank text entry box on a web form staring me in the face, and it makes me want to go to the cafe to get a drink, walk down the hall and back… do a quick one minute blog post… or anything other than fill in that blank spot on the form. And the other blank spots further down the page. Sigh. Well, it must be done.

SC Debate: Wow

I was out of the house when it was live, but I just finished watching it off the Tivo. I’m sure by now all sorts of other people have said this, but WOW… did that get vicious. Clinton and Obama were at each other’s throats… especially in the first half. The antipathy between the two of them was palpable.

I wonder who will end up benefitting in the end. I actually think Edwards came off sort of as the adult just for not being quite so negative (although he got a few good barbs in against both of them as well). But I’m not sure that will matter at this point.

Of Clinton and Obama, I personally think Obama came off better… but I like Obama better, and also have a definite dislike of Clinton. So I’m not sure my view accurately represents anything. I’m sure most Clinton supporters thought she did better and most Obama supporters thought he did better. The question is if this sways anybody who hadn’t made up their mind yet.

Just a few days until South Carolina. Obama is ahead in the polls at the moment, but Clinton has been gaining on him. Obama needs to win this to keep things in play. A loss here will hurt him badly on Super Tuesday. It quite possibly would make Hillary “inevitable” again. If Obama wins South Carolina by a decent margin then Super Tuesday will be a major competitive battle and there will be the possibility of the nomination continuing to be a battle for a bit longer.

Of course, the most fun scenario is a brokered convention, and for that we need Edwards to stay in until the end, and get there with a decent number of delegates… enough to keep either of the others from being over 50%… So we really need for Edwards to manage to get some delegates out of South Carolina too. :-)

Curmudgeon’s Corner: What is a Buggy Whip?

Sam and Ivan talk about:

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  • Media Industry and Technology
  • Writer’s Strike
  • Sam’s Computer
  • Dems in Nevada
  • Toward Super Tuesday
  • McCain McCain McCain
  • The Economy Tanks
  • Final Dem SC Predictions
  • A Little on Florida

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Paul in Nevada

OK, I know most of the Republican candidates didn’t even “play” in Nevada. But, and I hadn’t realized this earlier, but then I saw a comment about it on MyDD.

Take a look at the Official Results now with 100% reporting. Ron Paul came in second to Romney. OK, fine, it was a distant second. But he broke 10% with his 14%. And not only beat Guiliani (who he has beaten in most of the states so far) but also beat McCain, Huckabee and the rest.


But in the end meaningless. :-)

True Binary Clock for iPhone

On Wednesday I got an email from a random visitor to the site saying they loved the True Binary Clock but asking if I could adapt it for iPhone or iPod Touch. Sure I said, I’d look at it this weekend.

So I made a new version of the page with all the extra text cut out and adjusted it a bit to fit in the iPhone browser window. Then since I don’t have an iPhone myself (yet!) I made a quick trip to one of the local Apple Stores to try it out. While there I made a few final adjustments. It isn’t anything spectacular, I just did the basics and made it fit, but none the less, here it is:

True Binary Clock for iPhone

Before we left the Apple Store, Amy added it as a front page bookmark to almost all of the iPhones in the store. I’ve been getting random hits from those iPhones all evening. Ha. I’m sure they will reset those iPhones to their defaults soon, but kind of fun for the moment. :-)

Delegate Graphs with Preliminary Results from Nevada and South Carolina Republicans

OK, these include preliminary delegate counts as of when I pulled the data from CNN a few minutes ago. If Michigan is any guide, some of these numbers may change further before tomorrow’s update. If so, I’ll post again. But as of right now…

Democrats: The annoying thing here is just looking at what is happening with delegates, and comparing it to what I am hearing the anchors say on CNN. On CNN it is all about the “Big win for Clinton” in Nevada. But what do delegates look like? Clinton and Obama both got 14. A tie. And, because 50/50 is a smaller lead than Hillary had before today in delegates, that means in terms of percentage of delegates, Clinton actually dropped and Obama gained… now, not by much… this wasn’t a huge number of delegates, and Clinton is still WAY ahead in the overall delegate count, and is over the magical 50% mark still. But the end result of the delegates allocated so far tonight? Obama narrows Clinton’s lead (a little bit). But is that the way it is spun? Of course not. Not even close.

Republicans: Again the media narrative is a bit off from what is actually happening with the delegates. Now, I was out earlier and by the time I got home Nevada was old news, and all the talk was about McCain winning South Carolina and pretty much nothing about Nevada. Of course, earlier in the day Romney had won Nevada. On balance (at least as of when I am posting this) McCain got 23 delegates today and Romney got 18. So this is definately a McCain day overall. And so when the media keeps saying that this was a big win for McCain, they are absolutely right. But some of them are starting to call McCain a front runner, etc. Excuse me? Yes, today was a blow for Romney. Romney went from 53% of the delegates down to 46%. McCain now has indeed jumped ahead of Huckabee, but at 24%, he is still WAY BEHIND Romney. Now, we do of course have to look at momentum and where the next few states will go. And this will help McCain’s momentum. On the Republican side the next state is Florida on the 29th. Right now the Polls there are basically showing a four way dead heat between Guiliani, McCain, Huckabee and Romney. This will probably give McCain a boost that puts him in the lead in Florida… which if it happens probably WILL boost McCain into a commanding position, and may well kill off Guiliani… but that is not where we are YET. Right now we have Romney with a strong lead, and McCain in second. But yes, McCain was one of tonight’s winners. The other was Paul, who also had a big positive move forward in percent of delegates, moving from 2% to 4%… on the verge of catching Thompson.

Anyway… very interesting results. I’ll update the charts again tomorrow if the delegate counts change at all.

Next up… South Carolina for the Democrats a week from now. At the moment Obama has a decent lead in the polls, but Hillary seems to be closing the gap in the newest few polls. If Nevada gives her any kind of bump, then it might be neck and neck. The big question, does Obama manage to get a win here? And if he does, can he capture enough delegates to actually further close the gap with Clinton in the delegate count? Can he push her below the 50% threshold? Can he get enough momentum going into Super Duper Tuesday to be competitive? Or will Super Duper Tuesday just be the day Clinton wraps this up?

In any case… this is all very exciting still. I wish Clinton would drop under 50% though. As long as she is way up there, all she has to do is keep up the pace and she wins outright. On the Republican side Romney is ahead, but under 50%… which means that if the current pace keeps up, we still don’t have a winner… which means brokered convention, which would be awesome. But we still have a long way to go before that. McCain could easily take the lead after Florida. So exciting!

Great stuff.

There is no way it has been that long…

Although she, and most people, would look at a calendar and say it happened yesterday, on Friday… I of course calculate using the true astronomical length of a year and all that… and I know that in just under an hour and a half, at 06:42 UTC today (which is 1:42 AM Eastern) my sister Cynthia will be exactly 18 years old.

18 years old!!!! When did that happen? Last I knew she was the kid in this picture. But she’s not any more. She’s a senior in high school. Top of her class. Ready to go to Oberlin in the fall.

Wow. 18.

I was 18 (and a few months) when she was born. I remember being in my room at Hampshire Hall in Pittsburgh when I got the news. It seems like a lifetime ago, and I guess it was.

Anyway. My sister. 18. It blows my mind.

Just wish we weren’t a 2750 mile drive away from each other and I could see her more often.

Well, I guess in the fall she will move to Ohio and we’ll only be a 2375 mile drive apart. That’s much better. :-)