The Rest of the Race
Since we'll be getting Guam results soon, lets take a look at how the rest of the calendar looks right now.
Here are the upcoming contests and the current (renormalized to 100%) pollster.com averages for each state.
- Guam: No Polls, Call it 50.0% Clinton, 50.0% Obama
- Indiana: 54.2% Clinton, 45.8% Obama
- North Carolina: 44.0% Clinton, 56.0% Obama
- West Virginia: 65.2% Clinton, 34.8% Obama
- Kentucky: 69.7% Clinton, 30.3% Obama
- Oregon: 57.8% Clinton, 42.2% Obama
- Puerto Rico: 57.5% Clinton, 42.5% Obama
- Montana: No Polls, Call it 50.0% Clinton, 50.0% Obama
- South Dakota: 42.5% Clinton, 57.5% Obama
OK, so where does this put us? If polls don't move much, out of 9 primaries remaining, we have Clinton "winning" 5 primaries, Obama "winning" in 2 primaries, and then the two states with no polls that I am calling ties for the sake of argument. So from a pure "number of states" position, Hillary is going to be kicking ass from now until the end of the calendar.
But how does this look when you weight things for delegates? It doesn't quite actually work this way of course, but as a first approximation, lets assume the delegates split in the same proportion as the popular vote:
- Guam: 2 Clinton, 2 Obama
- Indiana: 39 Clinton, 33 Obama
- North Carolina: 51 Clinton, 64 Obama
- West Virginia: 18 Clinton, 10 Obama
- Kentucky: 36 Clinton, 15 Obama
- Oregon: 30 Clinton, 22 Obama
- Puerto Rico: 32 Clinton, 23 Obama
- Montana: 8 Clinton, 8 Obama
- South Dakota: 6 Clinton, 9 Obama
So, for the rest of the races, where does that put things? 222 delegates for Clinton, 186 for Obama. Clinton wins!! Woo! Uh, she gets 54.4% of the delegates. As of today, she needs 61.3% of all remaining delegates to be on a pace to win. Oops. So she would be winning, but she would not be winning by a big enough margin to be on a pace to win.
But where would the above put things? If things played out with the numbers above, on June 4th, after the last primaries are over, assuming no more superdelegates are determined between now and then, we would be here:
Delegate count would be: Obama 1920, Clinton 1819, Edwards 19
In percent terms that would be: Obama 51.1%, Clinton 48.4%, Edwards 0.5%
2025 delegates are needed to win.
There would be 290 delegates yet to be determined.
Obama would need 105 more delegates to win.
Clinton would need 206 more delegates to win.
In percentage terms, that means:
Obama would need 36.2% of the remaining delegates to win.
Clinton would need 71.0% of the remaining delegates to win.
At that point all of the remaining delegates would be superdelegates. So far Hillary has managed to get 265 of the 508 superdelegates who have declared. That is 52.2%. For all the remaining supers, she needs to bump that percentage into the 70's to win. That would be a BIG change.
Of course, many superdelegates will be determined before the end of the primaries on June 3rd, so these numbers will keep changing whenever more superdelegates declare. Unless Clinton is picking them up at a 70% rate though, these numbers will just get worse for Clinton, not better.
What is Clinton's path to victory? What she needs is this:
- The "momentum" from her wins in each state will make Obama look weak, and her margin in later states will actually be even larger than the percentages predicted above... a lot larger.
- Obama's campaign completely collapses due to some scandal
- She manages to make some sort of convoluted popular vote argument including Florida and Michigan but excluding caucus states that did not report popular vote.
- The superdelegates determine that Obama is so damaged he can not possibly win in November, and start going for Clinton by overwhelming margins... and perhaps more superdelegates who have already declared for Obama start switching sides.
That is a very long shot, but that is what she is counting on.
But wait, what about "settling" the Michigan and Florida issues? Well, let aside the fact that really that issue was decided before any of the voting started, and even Clinton's representatives agreed to exclude those two states if they did not move their primaries. And also that all the opportunities for organizing revotes have now passed us by. Right now to get those states seated in a way that would help Clinton the credentials committee would have to approve. That committee's makeup is based in such a way that Obama supporters will have a controlling majority. But Clinton will have enough folks to produce a "minority report" for the convention if they wish. But then the full convention... without Michigan and Florida... would need to vote to let Michigan and Florida in... if Hillary is ahead, it will not matter, because she would be winning anyway... if Obama is ahead, they would never vote to include those states unless it was in such a way that did not change the outcome. So bottom line, no matter if they are seated or not, Florida and Michigan will NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE.
Anyway, the picture for Clinton is very glum. It has been for quite a while. Ever since Obama's "good February". Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania did not change that in real terms. All the rest is smoke and mirrors.
The spin that this is still competitive is silly. It is not.
Now, is it impossible for Clinton to win? No. It is not impossible. It could happen.
But it would take a MAJOR shift in the race. It would need Obama to completely and totally fall apart. Not just lose a few races, but start to get absolutely crushed. Not just in the states remaining, but also in the superdelegates remaining.
This thing is over. A certain someone just needs to admit it.
[Edited 10 May 2008 19:50 UTC to correct the hypothetical delegate totals, I had forgotten to actually add the hypotheticals, and just repeated the totals as of the day this was posted.]
Just a couple of updates and corrections: 1. Obamas is winning in Guam with 54% 2. He's also leading Oregon, not Clinton, all polls show he's comfortably ahead in Oregon, the reverse of what you are showing. 3. If you take South Dakota as a reference for Montana (which is not a bad assumption given his record in those states) he should take SD as well. So that would give him 5 contests out of 9 remaining. If he were to pull out Indiana (possible since the last poll shows a dead heat) it's absolute game over. But even loosing that Clinton still has no shot. Somebody has to just find reverend Wright and send him on an Antartic expedition and everything will be fine...
Just a correction to your correction... mainly it wasn't actually a correction. I stated I used the pollster.com averages, and all the numbers I used were based on what they were showing at the time I made the post. If I had included any of what you mention, I'd be misrepresenting the pollster numbers.
1. Guam: There may have been a poll, but pollster did not have it.
2. Oregon: The pollster average still has Clinton ahead. You are correct that if you look only at the most recent polls, Obama is ahead, but there are still not enough polls with him ahead to move him ahead in the average / trend line. Having said that, in the case of Oregon there are a lot of old polls, and very few new polls, and that pulls the average down.
3. Montana: This may be good supposition, but it is not yet backed up by an actual poll.
4. Indiana: If he pulls out Indiana I think you are correct, but while some polls show it very close, more show a significant gap still there, thus leading to the margin I showed above based on the trend line numbers.
In any case, none of the above change much. If anything I gave Clinton MORE of a benefit of the doubt than you are willing to give... since I just used the straight pollster number without any external info that provided more info to make judgements on... and it still looks very bad.