This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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February 2008
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Electoral College: First Polls for Tennessee and Florida

The first Obama vs McCain polls for Florida and Tennessee were posted at Pollster.com. Tennessee is a weak McCain, Florida is solid McCain.

We now have polls covering more than 50% of the electoral votes for the first time. And as of now, looking at the “weak” totals we have Obama 157, McCain 136. But still 245 electoral college votes with no polls at all.

Also a note, right now I just have “Solid” (at least a 10% lead) and “Weak” (less than a 10% lead). I keep thinking that maybe I want to add a third category, with “Weak” restricted to a less than 5% lead, and a new “Strong” or “Medium” or something category being 5% to 10%. I haven’t so far for three reasons:

  1. At the moment only 3 states would fall in this new category… Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee… all on the McCain side. So it really wouldn’t change the picture all that much. Although it would show that some of McCain’s “weak” support is actually a little stronger than it would seem otherwise.
  2. If this primary season has shown us anything, it is that a 9 point lead isn’t really all that strong. It can evaporate in a week if the right things happen in that week. It isn’t just the places with leads less than 5% that are “weak” and therefore “in play”. So maybe any lead less than 10% really is “weak”.
  3. It would make the graph more cluttered and harder to read. (Imagine a third line squeezed between the two current lines for each candidate.)

Anyway, if anybody wants to chime in on that particular comment, I’d welcome thoughts and opinions, and might be influenced by them. If I do make this change, I’d rather do it sooner rather than later, because the longer I go, the more work I’d have to do to make the change.

Delegates by Inches

Definitely all superdelegates this time. Obama picks up four. Clinton loses one. She just can’t catch a break lately. Obama just keeps slowly growing the gap.

We now have Obama 51.4%, Clinton 47.6%, Edwards 1.0%.

Obama needs 656 more delegates to win. Clinton needs 758.

Minor change on the Republican side. McCain picks up one “Unpledged RNC” delegate, which is the Republican version of a superdelegate.

McCain needs 158 more delegates to win.

The Math

It is not quite as stark as for Huckabee, but the math for Clinton to catch up and win is pretty bad.

How Many Delegates Does HRC Need To Win?
(Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic)

Let’s go to March 4. Let’s assume that Clinton wins Ohio by four points – 52 to 48, netting her roughly 5 extra delegates, and loses Texas 49 to 51, netting Obama three extra delegates, and loses Vermont, netting Obama three extra delegates, and winning Rhode Island by 6 points, netting herself an extra delegate. She ends that day with no additional delegates – she can blame Vermont.

Under the rosiest of scenarios, it’s hard to see her winning more than about 50 percent of the remaining earned delegates, even if she whips Obama in Pennsylvania and earns, say, 16 extra delegates, and drums him in Puerto Rico, where, even if she wins seventy percent of the delegates, she’s still, in essence, playing catch up.

If Clinton wins half of the remaining delegates – about 493 – and loses none – she still trails Obama by a net 50 or so earned delegates.

Now let’s run the scenario with Florida and Michigan’s delegates in play – the best iteration of that scenario, with both pledged and unpledged delegates seated and Clinton’s having earned fully 60% of or more of them. She’ll need at least 52.1% of remaining pledged delegates to surpass Obama.

Playing with the numbers a bit, here’s how she could – in theory – accomplish this.

If Florida and Michigan’s delegations are seated fully to her advantage, and if she wins in Ohio by 65% and wins in Texas by 65%, and all other percentages hold, she can win the nomination.

(via The Daily Dish)

She’s not going to take Ohio and Texas. Maybe not at all. Certainly not by those margins. And the superdelegates will NOT save her if Obama is way ahead on pledged delegates coming into the convention. And unless she comes into the convention already ahead, (or unless Obama is so far ahead it won’t matter) Florida and Michigan will not be seated.

She’s done.

Jumpin Jumpin Jumpin

Happy leap day!!!

New Laptop for Brandy

Since the new Apple laptops finally came out, I ordered Brandy’s new laptop yesterday. It should be here next week sometime. As I mentioned in my earlier post Brandy’s current laptop is barely functional. This is desperately needed. It will be good for her to once again have a computer she can use fully.

(She can’t use either my desktop or Amy’s very well because it would require her sitting upright in an office style chair, which her back can only handle for very short periods of time…. plus Amy and I are too busy using our computers.)

Anyway, shiny new laptop, coming soon.

Making sure the three of us have decent computers is one of the few luxuries we allow ourselves. (And we allowed Brandy to go a little too long with her dying laptop.) Besides that, Amy’s school takes all our free cash flow. As long as neither of our cars finally decides to die, that should be just fine. :-)

Anyway, did I say shiny new computer coming soon. Yay!

Of course, I have promised not to so much touch it, so Brandy can do all the set up and configuring herself and make sure she’s familiar with every detail and feel completely like it is HERS. So I just get to watch. Maybe. :-)

Electoral College: Pennsylvania Flips to Obama

A new Quinnipiac Poll in Pennsylvania includes a new head to head Obama vs McCain matchup for the state. Incorporating this new poll into my average moves Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes from “Weak McCain” to “Weak Obama”. The results can be seen in the chart above.

Right now based on the state by state polls I’ve been able to find so far, we have Obama ahead for 157 electoral votes compared to 98 for McCain. With the big caveat of course that there are still 283 electoral votes worth of states with no polls at all and therefore completely undetermined (at least by this method).

More Delegates from Nowhere

CNN today provides yet more delegate updates. Somebody there must be spending some time on this!

There is a net gain of 4 new delegates today. Luckily, yesterday I printed the CNN page, so I can actually say exactly what this was. It was all superdelegates. Obama gained five new superdelegates. Clinton lost one. Presumably that would be John Lewis switching over to Obama. Net increase in the gap between the two candidates of 6 delegates. Clinton just keeps falling further behind.

We’re now at Obama 51.3%, Clinton 47.7%, Edwards 1.0%.

Obama needs 660 more to win, Clinton needs 757 more.

OK, I screwed up. I only printed out the Democrats figuring if there were changes, it was more likely on that side. But NO, there were major changes on the Republican side today. And since I didn’t print yesterday’s chart, I can’t go identify where the changes came from. I suspect the same things I did yesterday. Romney delegates being redistributed and final results from second stage caucuses and the like. But I can’t actually tell because I don’t have yesterday’s chart. Damn it. Well, I printed today’s chart, but now just watch, nothing will change.

In any case we have a net gain of 44 new delegates listed. Romney LOST seven delegates. Paul gained five delegates, bringing his total to 21 delegates. This is the first addition of delegates Paul has had since February 6th. Huckabee gains eight more delegates, and McCain picks up a full 38.

This leaves us at: McCain 66.4%, Romney 16.4%, Huckabee 15.9%, Paul 1.4%

Huckabee is very very close to overtaking Romney. He must be thrilled.

McCain needs 159 more delegates to reach the magic number of 1191 and have a majority of the delegates and therefore wrap up the nomination. (Absent of course any completely unexpected development that would cause officially committed delegates to change their minds.)

WFB

First Myron Cope, now William F Buckley Jr..

Goodbye Myron Cope

I never followed sports and so was not a fan and did not spend any time listening to or watching his work… but for a brief time around 1995 or so I worked part time at the radio station where he was based and bumped into him a few times and I think I even worked with him once when I produced one of the football games. (Something I only did once or twice.) He was as much a character in person as he was on the air.

Anyway, I know a lot of folks from the ‘Burg have fond memories of Myron cope, so I thought I’d pass this along.

Steelers Announcer Myron Cope Dies
(Alan Robinson, AP on Seattle Times)

Myron Cope, the screechy-voiced announcer whose colorful catch phrases and twirling Terrible Towel became symbols of the Pittsburgh Steelers during an unrivaled 35 seasons in the broadcast booth, has died. He was 79.

Cope’s tenure from 1970-2004 as the color analyst on the Steelers’ radio network is the longest in NFL history for a broadcaster with a single team and led to his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2005.

Delegates from Nowhere

CNN has a bunch of delegate changes today. This kind of thing really makes me wish they had a specific change log, or that each day I was printing out the state by state totals so I could identify exactly where the changes are. But I haven’t been doing that, so I can just report the changes and speculate.

Hillary must really hate how her week is going. There isn’t even an election this week, but she keeps falling further behind anyway. CNN added 47 more delegates to their counts today. 33 were for Obama, 14 for Clinton. Now, as I said above, I don’t know where exactly they are getting these from. Maybe they just finished a new poll of the superdelegates and this is more superdelegates declaring preferences? Or maybe this is more results from stage 2 or stage 3 of the delegate selection process in the states with multi-stage processes? Or maybe this is just CNN adding official results from states from earlier in February where they only had partial counts before? I dunno. Like I said, this makes me wish I was printing the full stats out each day so I could see exactly where the differences were coming from. There, I printed today’s. Just in case there are more changes before Tuesday’s primaries.

In any case, Obama does widen his lead here. We are now at Obama 51.2%, Clinton 47.8%, Edwards 1.0%. Obama needs 665 more delegates to win. Clinton needs 756. Edwards… well, Edwards could win every delegate still outstanding and it would not be enough. Sorry Edwards.

OK, the Republican side is even more interesting. There is a net gain of only 5 delegates. However, there has also been a redistribution of delegates. Romney LOST 24 delegates today. Presumably this is the result either of second stage caucuses where some Romney supporters from the first round changed their votes and elected non-Romney delegates in round two, or just Romney delegates publicly stating they had changed their preference. As before though, there is no easy way to tell by looking at CNN’s summary page EXACTLY what happened yesterday. In the end though, the result was that Romney lost 24, McCain gained 23, and Huckabee gained 6. This gets Huckabee within spitting distance of overtaking Romney in the delegate count. I’m sure Huckabee really hopes this happens before McCain reaches the magic number, so he can claim that he came in second and then drop out.

Totals at this point… McCain 65.8%, Romney 17.3%, Huckabee 15.8%, Paul 1.1%. McCain needs to get 197 more delegates to finally have the majority of delegates coming into the convention.

There were some vague rumors of Romney jumping back in if the lobbiest affair scandal caused McCain to implode. Yeah, good luck on that Romney.

I must say though, the politics-as-sports junkie in me would be THRILLED if McCain imploded after he got a majority of the delegates, but before the convention… giving the delegates a chance to change their minds and just pick someone else at random. That would be very very cool.