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March 2008

Some Delegates from Mississippi… and Texas

So as I write this, we finally have results (full results) from the Texas Caucuses and we have partial results (28 delegates out of 33) for yesterday’s primary in Mississippi. Net result of these changes… Clinton picks up 40 more delegates, Obama picks up 55.

So, lets update our various stats, shall we?

Obama expands his lead from 115 delegates to 130.

There are 936 delegates left unaccounted for (including both super and pledged). To win Clinton needs to get 546 of them (58.3%). To win Obama needs 416 of them (44.4%).

In percentage terms Obama now has 51.7% of the delegates, which is a new all time high for him. Clinton is down to 47.5% of the delegates. This is almost exactly where she was on March 4th (actually 47.49% today compared to 47.47% on March 4th). That March 4th number was her all time low since this contest began.

The percentage gap between Obama and Clinton is now 4.2% and is the largest percentage lead Obama has had to date.

I’ll be honest, I watched almost none of tonight’s media coverage of the Mississippi results, so I’m not sure how things were played out in the spin zone today.

But what is the real story?

Obama completely obliterated the slight gains Clinton made last week. Clinton is now in the weakest position she has been since things kicked off in Iowa. In order to win she now has to keep a pace of winning 58.3% of the delegates. This is a higher percentage of the delegates than she has EVER had, even in the early days of the race where she maxed out at just about 56% because she had a ton of superdelegates when very few pledged delegates had been allocated yet.

If you normalize the Pennsylvania trend numbers today (so they add up to 100%) you get that her lead is currently 57% to 43%. So at the moment she is close to the ratio she needs in PA. Very close. Of course, Obama has been gaining on her. But who knows if he will be able to keep that up and close that gap. Clinton needs to actually INCREASE her current lead in PA to be on the pace she needs though.

And of course in North Carolina it is Clinton 45% to Obama 55%. And the various states left look like some will go one way and some the other.

For the sake of argument, lets just guestimate for a moment. Lets say Clinton and Obama split the rest of the pledged delegates 50/50. Of the 936 delegates left outstanding right now 585 are pledged and 351 are super. With the 50/50 split (leaving out one delegate to make it even) we’d end up with Clinton at 1770 and Obama at 1900. Clinton would then need 254 out of the 351 superdelegates… 72% of them… in order to take the win.

Of course this is with a 50/50 split of the remaining pledged delegates. If Clinton manages better than that because Obama gets no momentum out of Wyoming and Mississippi but she does get momentum out of Pennsylvania, then it won’t be quite as difficult and that 72% will be a little smaller. (If Obama beats 50% then of course Clinton would have to get an even higher percentage.) It also assumes no more superdelegates declare a preference between now and the convention.

If Obama was ahead by that 1900 to 1770 sort of margin coming into the convention would 72% of the remaining superdelegates decide to vote for Clinton anyway?

Normally I’d say there is no way at all that could happen.

But I shall not be underestimating the Clintons again.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Oh yeah, McCain picks up some more delegates, but nobody cares.

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