This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



June 2024

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Anyone who raises their hand!

On the Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast this week, most of the show is of course about the presidential election. Ivan and Sam discuss everything you would expect about Clinton, Trump, Sanders and Cruz. And Sam ran a caucus! But in addition, there is plenty of other good stuff about hard drives, Microsoft Tay, being sick, the 5th amendment, and more!

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

Recorded 2016-03-31

Length this week – 1:51:50

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Show Details:

  • (0:00:10-0:11:09) But First
    • Agenda
    • Sick People
    • Airplane WiFi
    • Work without Internet?
  • (0:11:45-0:34:25) Lightning Round
    • Microsoft Tay
    • Pakistan Bombing / Egyptian Hijacking
    • Obama Approval Ratings
    • Apple vs FBI
    • Phones not protected by 5th Amendment?
  • (0:35:28-0:56:10) Election 2016 – Democrats
    • Washington, Hawaii and Alaska
    • The Sanders Path
    • Sam Caucuses
    • Information Bubbles
  • (0:56:56-1:08:18) Hard Drive Bonus Segment
    • Ivan’s Problem
    • SSD vs Spinning Platter
    • Wirecutter
    • Alex Interlude
    • Separating Media
    • Backups
  • (1:09:38-1:51:30) Election 2016 – Republicans
    • Wisconsin Delegate Allocation
    • Upcoming States
    • Trump Insanity
    • Third Parties and the Pledge
    • Vice Presidential Selection
    • The Trump Insider
    • Trump Presidential Style
    • Rubio keeping delegates
    • Autocorrect

Democrats: Huge Wins for Sanders… but…

Although the best delegate tallies are still estimates that will almost certainly change a bit before they are final, the general outline will not change. Sanders crushed Clinton in all three states that caucused on March 26th. With Washington, Hawaii and Alaska together, the delegate haul was 104 for Sanders to only 38 for Clinton.

Since the last update Sanders has also been on a roll gaining four new superdelegates (while Clinton got no new supers), and having four delegates move from Clinton to Sanders as results in states that voted earlier got finalized.

Between all that, since the 23rd the net change is Sanders +112, Clinton +34.

So Sanders got a whopping 76.71% of the delegates since the 23rd. That is well above the 67.70% he needed to improve his position in the race in terms of the % of the remaining delegates needed to win. So unlike some Sanders “wins” where he gets the most delegates but still just ends up in a worse position because he didn’t win by enough, this time Sanders supporters are fully justified in celebrating the win.


See that downward slope right neat the end of the green line? That is the improvement in Sander’s position because of these three states. Despite all the states that Sanders has won, this has not happened often. Aside from days when a stray superdelegate committed to him or when states revised their results by a delegate here or there, the only previous times so far where Sanders has improved his position are February 9th when he won New Hampshire and March 6th when he won Maine. (OK, probably Democrats Abroad too.) This new result on March 26th swamps both of those in the magnitude of the improvement.

With all of the results and adjustments since Arizona, Idaho and Utah last week, Sanders goes from needing 67.70% of the remaining delegates to win, to needing only… 67.03%.

So… an improvement of… 0.67%.

So, uh… big improvement? Suddenly the Sanders path to victory is clear? Well, it is the biggest improvement in this metric Sanders has seen yet, but…


March 26th was a big Sanders win. That should not be minimized. If he matched the March 26th performance in every contest from here to the end of the primary season, he would indeed catch up to Clinton and win. And the visibility of wins like the 26th may help Clinton seem weak, and may improve Sanders’ performance in future contests.

But the basic situation has not changed significantly. 67% of delegates is still an incredibly high bar. Sanders would have to consistently meet that bar for the rest of the race in order to win outright.

But wait you say, once again this is all including superdelegates. But surely if Sanders won in pledged delegates, the superdelegates wouldn’t deny him the win and would switch to Sanders en masse because to do otherwise would be unseemly? Well, I generally reject starting with that premise and say lets watch the superdelegates and see what they actually do.

But for the moment, as I did once before, let me run the numbers pretending superdelegates don’t exist.

With supers the totals right now are Clinton 1735, Sanders 1069.5, O’Malley 1

Without supers that becomes Clinton 1264, Sanders 1040.

Without supers there are 4050 delegates, and you need 2026 to have a majority.

Sanders would need 976 more delegates to have that majority of pledged delegates. There are 1746 more pledged delegates available.

That means Sanders would need 55.90% of the pledged delegates remaining to end the season with a majority of the pledged delegates.

That bar is a LOT lower than 67%. Consistently beating 67% seems close to unimaginable without a complete implosion. But 56%? Could you get to that just through some momentum, some positive press cycles and good campaigning? Maybe. It seems like it is on the outer edge of the possible given the history so far, but still possible.

If Sanders did succeed at that, he would still need to get a large number of Clinton superdelegates to defect in order to actually win. But Sanders has said he is ramping up his efforts to woo superdelegates. He has gone from saying superdelegates should be ignored, to acknowledging that any realistic path to a win involves getting superdelegates to vote for him too.

If superdelegates do start to defect, you will of course see it on the graphs here.

One last comparison, updating the one I did two weeks ago:

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 22.49.42747

Granting for the moment the premise that the results on the 26th are not an outlier, but are instead indicative of an inflection point in the race, you see that compared to Obama 2008, Sanders starts his “turn” on the graph later (at about 56% rather than at about 49%) and that he is much much further behind that Obama was. Just barely past this point in 2008 is when Obama took the delegate lead. Sanders is far from that.

Meanwhile, Clinton is in a much stronger position than Obama was until very nearly the end.

If this is a “turn”, and Sanders drives his line down and eventually wins, it will be one of the largest come from behind wins in modern times. This is not impossible, but it is still highly unlikely.

Wisconsin is next on April 5th. Right now the RCP poll average there has Clinton 46.5% to Sanders 44.0%. If that average plays out and assuming a roughly even distribution of support throughout the congressional districts in the state, it would mean about 44 delegates for Clinton to 42 delegates for Sanders.

If that happened, Sanders would then need 67.87% of the remaining delegates to win, completely undoing the gains he made with Washington, Hawaii and Alaska.

Now, Sanders may get a boost of his recent wins and do better than the current poll average indicates. He may even win Wisconsin. The question though is not if he wins, but if he wins it by enough to actually be on a pace to catch up to Clinton before things are over. Right now, that means he needs 58 of the 86 delegates available from the Wisconsin primary.

We shall see.

[Update 2016-04-01 16:10 UTC – Superdelegate scan nets Clinton +3, Sanders +2.5. This does not significantly change the analysis above.]

[Update 2016-04-01 16:55 UTC – I found an update from Michigan which I had logged on March 10th, but had an error in it, so the totals in Michigan in the state detail table were correct, but that update wasn’t included in the national totals. Fixed now. Net change from that: Clinton +2, Sanders -2. This also does not significantly change the analysis above.]

[Update 2016-04-05 16:29 UTC – Superdelegate scan: Clinton +1. Note because Bill Clinton said something about how he would support Sanders at the convention if Sanders won, just like he supported Obama in 2008, some people are saying he should be listed as an Uncommitted superdelegate instead of a Clinton superdelegate. I don’t buy this at the moment and am continuing to list Bill Clinton as supporting Hillary Clinton.]

Note: This post is an update based on the data on Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added.

[Edit 2016-03-28 00:05 UTC – Fixed one place I had Sanders’ name instead of Clinton.]

Electoral College: 04:15 – Romney’s Paths Gone, Obama Wins!

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 264 274
Current Status 206 332
Obama Best Case 205 333

A bunch of states were called between 04:00 UTC and 04:15 UTC:

  • Obama: CA, HA, WA, WI, IA NM
  • Romney: ID, MT, NC

Only one of these mattered. Iowa. Iowa was a close state. Romney needed every close state he had left in order to win. Without Iowa, even if Romney swept every other close state (and Maine’s 2nd) he would only get to 264.

When CNN called Iowa at 04:09 UTC, I called the race on twitter in these two tweets. Nine minutes later when some more states came in, CNN called the election for Obama. They were slow. More on those next states in the next update.

Anyway, Obama wins reelection!

2012 Republican Delegate Count: Updates for Alabama and Hawaii

Chart from the 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. Note that these numbers include estimates of the eventual results of multi-stage caucus processes which will be refined as the later stages occur.

Some minor updates today as results get finalized in the last round of states. In Alabama 3 of the 9 non-super delegates that Green Papers still had as TBD have been determined… 2 for Santorum, 1 for Romney. Meanwhile, in Hawaii the Green Papers estimate gets revised from 9 Romney, 5 Santorum, 3 Paul to 10 Romney, 5 Santorum, 2 Paul. So in Hawaii +1 for Romney, -1 for Paul.

Net for the day: +2 Romney, +2 Santorum, -1 Paul

There are still 6 non-super delegates in Alabama in the TBD category, so we haven’t heard the last from Alabama.

Since this is only a very small number of delegates, the effects are very small. In terms of “% of remaining needed to win”:

  • Romney: 49.21% -> 49.17%
  • Santorum: 68.65% -> 68.66%
  • Gingrich: 74.38% -> 74.55%
  • Paul: 80.33% -> 80.59%

Obviously this changes nothing at all about the analysis of the state of the race that was presented yesterday.

2012 Republican Delegate Count: Alabama & Mississippi & Hawaii & American Samoa

Chart from the 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. Rather than the date on the x-axis, we show the “% of Delegates Already Allocated” as this better represents the progress through the race. Note that these numbers include estimates of the eventual results of multi-stage caucus processes which will be refined as the later stages occur.

OK, bottom line here… this is not the big win for Santorum that many people are crowing about this morning. He didn’t come close to the numbers he would need to be able to catch up and get to 1144. He didn’t even get the most delegates today. Romney did. But this was also not a win for Romney. As many anticipated, he did not get the percentages of delegates he needed to stay on pace for 1144 and fell back a bit, keeping the possibility of the non-Romney’s preventing Romney from getting to 1144 alive.

OK, now lets hit the details. The states with updates today:

  • Alabama: +16 Santorum, +12 Gingrich, +10 Romney (9 regular delegates and 2 super delegates still TBD)
  • Mississippi: +13 Santorum, +12 Romney, +12 Gingrich (2 super delegates still TBD)
  • Hawaii: +9 Romney, +5 Santorum, +3 Paul (3 super delegates still TBD)
  • American Samoa: +9 Romney
  • Georgia: +2 Gingrich, -2 Romney (Revision to Georgia results based on updated computations)

So, total for the day: Romney +38, Santorum +34, Gingrich+26, Paul +3

Before anything else, lets just point out again… Romney got the most delegates today. Romney was ahead when this started. So Romney increased his lead today. How is this a win for Santorum? (The answer of course is the spin that gets put on things… which could in turn affect what happens in the next few states… but in the end it will come down to the cold hard numbers… )

So, for Romney going into today, to maintain his pace toward 1144, he needed to get 48.4% of the delegates. Did he manage that? 38/101 = 37.6%. No. He fell short by a significant margin. This WAS a bad day for Romney, no way to disguise it. His “% of remaining needed to win” rises to 49.2%. So far he has 51.2% of the delegates according to the count we use (GreenPapers Soft Count), so if he just continues at that pace he WILL get to 1144… eventually. But this remains in the zone where Romney is vulnerable to be stopped. So far the collective non-Romney’s have managed to get 48.8% of the delegates. They only have to up their game a little bit… such that collectively they are managing 50.8%… to be able to block Romney. This is obviously NOT where Romney would like to be. He wants to be at the point where his “% needed to win” keeps dropping toward zero. But that just isn’t happening yet, and if Santorum gains “momentum” out of his Alabama and Mississippi wins, then it may yet be awhile. If Romney slips under the mark of “50% of the delegates awarded so far” in the next few contests, expect the talk of brokered conventions to accelerate rapidly.

How about Santorum? Well, despite the positive headlines, in terms of actually winning the nomination, despite his wins in two states, today was not good for him. Coming into this round, he needed to be getting 66.2% of the delegates to be on a pace to catch up and win. He got 34/101=33.7% which is nowhere even close. As a result, his “% needed to win” rises dramatically to 68.7%. This is essentially an impossible number as long as all four candidates continue to get support. Even if Gingrich and Paul drop out, this would be an insane winning margin in a two man race. Not going to happen. The only scenarios where Santorum starts to get close are ones where Gingrich and Paul not only drop out, but their delegates en masse and unanimously jump over to Santorum. This would drop Santorum’s “% needed to win” to the 50.8% needed for the non-Romney’s mentioned above. That isn’t going to happen either though.

The situation is of course even worse for Gingrich and Paul. All three of these guys are racing toward mathematical elimination. So the only interesting scenario remains if the three of them collectively can get enough delegates to stop Romney from getting to 1144. The three candidates at this point have all but admitted this. As we have mentioned before, this scenario relies on the three of them being able to continue getting delegates… and getting them at a higher rate than they have so far… even though it is impossible for any of them to individually win. This is still in the realm of the possible though. They have to win the spin war by winning states, even if not by enough delegates to catch up, pushing things explicitly as “Stop Romney”, etc. By all reports the rest of March is still marginal for Romney. If Santorum gains some momentum from states like Alabama and Mississippi and can push hard on the “We must stop Romney” angle, wins some more states in March and then starts driving down Romney support in post-March states, then this remains very much on the table. And then of course the idea is, if it actually goes to the convention undecided, then anything can happen.

Fundamentally the basic analysis of where we are remains the same as it has been since Super Tuesday, and arguably since Florida… or even since Iowa… namely, the non-Romney’s get further away from the nomination with almost every contest (the only exceptions so far being South Carolina and Kansas). Meanwhile Romney continues to hover in the zone where if he continues exactly how he has been going he will win EVENTUALLY, but it will take a long time, and if his opponents collectively improve their performance just a LITTLE BIT, they could block him and force some convention drama.

Edit 2012 Mar 13 18:11 UTC to correct one place where I had incorrectly said Romney when I actually meant Gingrich. Thanks Paolo for pointing it out.

I Hit the Computer with my Fist

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Hawaiian Vacations
  • Upgrades and Backups
  • Silly TSA
  • Windows 1.0
  • Windows Stores
  • Windows Phone

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 21 Nov 2010″]


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Shake and Bake

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Climate Change
  • Health Care Summit
  • Chile Eathquake
  • Impending Computer

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 1 Mar 2010″]


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