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@abulsme Updates from 2012-02-12 (UTC)

2012 Republican Delegate Count: Maine and a Paul Super

Chart from the Abulsme.com 2012 Republican Delegate Count Graphs page.  When a candidate gets down to 0%, they have cinched the nomination.  If they get up past 100%, they have been mathematically eliminated.

So.  Maine.  A few things to say before looking at any numbers here.  Maine is another of those states where no actual delegates were designated by the initial caucuses there.  Instead, two things happened.  First, there was a straw poll.  Second, there was the elections to the delegates of the next round.  The second thing is actually related to who eventually gets delegates when all is said and done months from now.  The first does not.  At all.  But it is what is reported because it is an easy to understand result.  Also, it should be said that some precincts in Maine haven’t even had their caucuses yet.  They don’t get to participate in the straw poll (because it is over) but they will get to vote on delegates and such.  The “real” result tonight, as in many of the caucus states, is that no delegates at all have been allocated yet.

For this site, we use estimates from The Green Papers for delegates.  These assume that the eventual delegate allocation will be proportional to the straw poll results, at least at first approximation.  When later rounds of the delegate selection process happen, the numbers will get revised and may be quite different.  As an example, the Ron Paul campaign is saying that they think in the end they will actually get the most delegates from  Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado because they had their people stay around after the straw polls and actually run to be delegates to the later stages while the other campaigns for the most part ignored this.  We shall see how that plays out.  In the mean time, while one can look at only completely determined delegates like DCW does in their primary count, but we’ll use the projected eventual delegates from caucus states until better numbers are available later in the process…

Anyway, now on to the main event.  Since the last update, we had the preliminary Maine results (estimated as described above), and Ron Paul gained one superdelegate.  So for the day, Paul gains 9 delegates, Romney 8, Santorum 4 and Gingrich 1.  So Paul wins the day, right?  Or maybe like most people saying, it is a win for Romney since he got the most actual votes in the straw poll?

Wrong.  The right answer is that after today EVERYBODY is further away from the nomination than they were yesterday.  (Paul just lost the least ground.)  Nobody got a high enough percentage of the delegates from today to be on track for getting to 1144 delegates before the convention.  The delegate take is continuing to be split in such a way that nobody is taking a majority of the delegates.

In fact, with these results, Romney slips below 50% of the delegates allocated so far for the first time since his big delegate win from the winner take all contest in Florida.  Prior to today, if he just continued getting delegates at the same percentage he had been so far, he would win the nomination.  Since he is now below 50% again, that means he has to actually improve his performance above his historical levels (slightly) to get to 1144.

Of course we have another winner take all state (Arizona) coming up soon, and that may help Romney’s situation considerably if he wins there (as the current polls indicate is likely).

It is also worth pointing out though that even though Romney’s real position in the race (in terms of % of remaining delegates needed to win) was hurt today like everybody’s else’s…  the gap between him and his closest competition (still Gingrich, despite Santorum closing rapidly) continues to grow.  Romney now needs 50.1% of the remaining delegates to get to 1144.  This is just slightly better than the 49.8% he has gotten so far.  By comparison, Gingrich now needs 54.0% to catch up and actually get to 1144.  This would be a huge change from the 17.9% he has managed so far.

As long as Romney is hovering around 50% of the delegates rather than consolidating and heading rapidly north of that number, we’re going to be hearing the talk about him not managing to get to 1144 and thus potentially ushering in the first brokered convention in decades.  While this is an exciting possibility, the road there is still narrow, and Romney is still very much in shooting distance of an outright win.

If however as we hit the next few contents, we see his “% of remaining delegates needed to win” number staying above 50% and actually start to trend consistently UPWARD rather than flat or down…  then that talk starts to be more of a real possibility.