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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For the Record on FL/MI

My personal opinion is that seating Michigan or Florida *at all* is just stupid and wrong. You just don’t change the rules in the middle of the game. That is wrong and disturbing. EVEN if it is constructed in a way that it won’t make any difference.

But if they ARE going to do something, then just seating both delegations, but at half a vote per delegate rather than a full vote, seems like a reasonable compromise. It looks like that will happen with Florida. As I write this, Michigan is still up in the air. But some of the proposals to just spit it 50/50, or 69/59, or whatever… are all bullshit. If they are going to recognize the state at all, then it should be based on the election that happened, no matter how flawed. And the uncommitted delegates should be seated as uncommitted delegates (who can then make up their mind and pick someone before the convention).

It seems that is unlikely to happen too. There is even some talk about them “punting” the Michigan question to the credentials committee, which won’t meet for quite some time.

Hopefully we will know before too much longer.

Delegates While Waiting for RBC

A few more superdelegates today. 3 for Obama, 1 for Clinton.

Updated stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1984, Clinton 1783, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.6%, Clinton 47.2%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 276 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 42 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 243 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 15.2% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 88.0% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

Of course, as I type these words, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC is meeting to decide what to do with Florida and Michigan. Based on conversation so far, it seems clear that these states will be seated in some way or another, and the finish line will be moved back some. The question is just how much.

My charts, graphs and numbers will reflect any changes made by the RBC as soon as CNN’s Summary Page reflects the changes, which hopefully will be almost immediate after the RBC makes their decisions.

And of course…

I am sick today. And late to work. But I”ll drag myself in because of one meeting I want to make sure I’m at. Otherwise I’d consider staying home. Oh well. Off I go.

Electoral College: NY Stronger for Obama, TX Stronger for McCain

Quick since I’m running late. Obama is now leading by more than 10% in New York, McCain is now leading by more than 10% in Texas, putting both states in the respective “Strong” categories which makes those states very unlikely to be in play this election. Since both states were already “weak” and neither were in the could go either way “leaning” categories, this leaves the overall summary the same… which is of course still that there are so many states “too close to call” that either candidate could easily win if the election was held today. Of course, the election is not today, so this just gives us a snapshot of now, which will likely change quite a bit before November.

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case – Obama 333, McCain 205

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) – Obama 277, McCain 261

Quick Delegate Update

I’m running way late today, so just the basics. Obama gets 3 superdelegates, Clinton gets 2.

Updated stats:

Delegate count is: Obama 1981, Clinton 1782, Edwards 7

In percent terms that is: Obama 52.5%, Clinton 47.3%, Edwards 0.2%

2026 delegates are needed to win.

There are 280 delegates yet to be determined.

Obama needs 45 more delegates to win.

Clinton needs 242 more delegates to win.

In percentage terms, that means:

Obama needs 16.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 28.3% before KY/OR.)

Clinton needs 87.1% of the remaining delegates to win. (It was 74.4% before KY/OR.)

This is of course as of today’s rules, which are expected to change after Saturday’s RBC meeting.

Updated Random Spot Tool

Well, since I couldn’t sleep, and eventually got tired of Wikipedia and random shows on the Tivo, I ended up retrofitting my Random Spot Tool to get rid of the ancient and unfriendly MapQuest hack and replace it with an integrated Google Maps version using their Maps API.

At the same time, since now I could, I added a few things that were not possible the old way. It is much better and much more fun than before. Play with it and enjoy.

And maybe go on some trips!

Of course, now I haven’t slept at all. I took Amy to school, and am now going to have to rush through the rest of my morning activities to try to get to work at a semi-reasonable hour.

Bleh Bleh

Not feeling great tonight. Really tired. Should have been asleep probably 3 or 4 hours ago. But of course can’t sleep because I’m feeling uncomfortable. So I’m up watching an episode of Globe Trekker on the Tivo, while hitting the random article link on Wikipedia over and over and reading about whatever happens to come up.

I have to be up in a little over 4 hours to get Amy up and to school. It is getting close to the point where it is better to just stay up.

I could just go into the office and try to do stuff that is actually useful or productive in some way, but I don’t really feel quite up to that either, and I keep hoping at some point I’ll actually just nod off. But not yet.

Bleh.

Oh, Some Republican Delegates

No new Democratic updates today, but CNN updates their Republican numbers to include some results for Idaho. Don’t know why they are doing this right now really, but whatever. McCain picks up 17 more delegates, Paul picks up 5.

New Republican totals: McCain 1517, Huckabee 275, Romney 255, Paul 35

There are actually 298 more Republican delegates that CNN has not yet accounted for.

Electoral Triva

Out of all the US Presidential elections in the last 100 years (meaning 1908 to 2004) how many times did a third candidate actually get electoral votes?

It is more than I actually would have thought. Ten times out of 25 elections. A full 40% of the elections in that time period.

Here they are:

  • 1912 – Wilson (Democrat) 435, Roosevelt (Progressive) 88, Taft (Republican) 8
  • 1924 – Coolidge (Republican) 382, Davis (Democrat) 136, LaFollette (Progressive) 13
  • 1948 – Truman (Democrat) 303, Dewey (Republican) 189, Thurmond (States Rights) 39
  • 1956* – Eisenhower (Republican) 457, Stevenson (Democrat) 73, Jones (Independant) 1
  • 1960 – Kennedy (Democrat) 303, Nixon (Republican) 219, Byrd (Democrat) 15
  • 1968 – Nixon (Republican) 301, Humphrey (Democrat) 191, Wallace (American Independent) 46
  • 1972* – Nixon (Republican) 520, McGovern (Democrat) 17, Hospers (Libertarian) 1
  • 1976* – Carter (Democrat) 297, Ford (Republican) 240, Reagan (Republican) 1
  • 1988* – Bush (Republican) 426, Dukakis (Democrat) 111, Bentsen (Democrat) 1
  • 2004* – Bush (Republican) 286, Kerry (Democrat) 251, Edwards (Democrat) 1

(Source: National Archives)

The ones with asterisks are cases where the third person got an electoral vote due only to a faithless elector. In all the other cases the third person actually “earned” the electoral votes.

(Or at least most of them… in a couple of cases faithless electors added to a third candidate’s total, but the candidate also got other electoral votes by the normal means… and the 1960 case was interesting too as some of the electors were actually directly elected as unpledged electors… some of whom voted for Byrd, who wasn’t actually running.)

Given that, you could discount 5 of those 10 elections. Even so, you are left with 5 elections (20% of the elections) where a third person “legitimately” earned electoral votes. Which is more often than I would have thought.

Now granted, while the last “faithless elector” incident was very recent… the 2004 election… the last time a third candidate actually “won” electors was 1968, a full 40 years ago. So we’re a bit overdue! It doesn’t look all that likely this time around, but perhaps in 2012. :-)

But maybe we could have a faithless elector or two. That could be fun. :-)

Electoral College: Nebraska Strengthens More for McCain

It is McCain’s turn for good polling news today. The latest poll in Nebraska moves the state to a greater than 10% lead for McCain, putting it into the “Strong McCain” category. A special note about Nebraska. It is one of two states (the other being Maine) that does not choose to allocate its electoral votes on a winner take all basis, but rather by congressional district. Unless it was a toss up state though (which it obviously is not at this moment) it is unlikely that it will actually split its electoral vote. (Maine by the way, is Strong Obama, so it is also unlikely to actually split.)

Current Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 313, Obama 225
Obama Best Case – Obama 333, McCain 205

And if everybody gets their leans (and Obama gets DC) – Obama 277, McCain 261

Thinking about Nebraska and Maine, it is interesting to note that ultimately each state can choose how it allocates electoral votes. It is only by long standing tradition that it is winner take all based on a popular vote. Any state that wanted to could just as easily change their state laws to have the legislature choose the electors, or the governor. Or for that matter they could choose to have them selected as winning prizes in the state lottery. It is completely up to the states. It is actually kind of a shame that states are not more creative on this.

I still remain in favor of the notion of appointing electors well in advance of the election from a pool of uncommitted people, and having them actually have to be convinced by the candidates to choose one or the other.

That would be different. :-)