Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Superdelegate Roundup Update

State and district level results from Virginia, Maryland and DC are in and have been added to the spreadsheet.  I also added district level results from Maine and all but one district in Washington State.  While statewide results for New Mexico are still undetermined, I was able to get results for district 3 where Tom Udall is a superdelegate.  These, along with updates from Democratic Convetion Watch, have been added to the Superdelegate Roundup Spreadsheet.

Our Affirmer/Defector/Undecider Totals are now:

Clinton Area Superdelegates:  199
Clinton Affirmers:  96 (48.2%)
Clinton Defectors: 26 (13.1%)
Clinton Undeciders:  77 (38.7%)

Obama Area Superdelegates:  279
Obama Affirmers:  85 (30.5%)
Obama Defectors:  76 (27.2%)
Obama Undeciders:  118 (42.3%)

Pre-Vote Area Superdelegates:  241
Early Clinton Commiters:  55 (22.8%)
Early Obama Committers:  31 (12.9%)
Early Undeciders:  155 (64.3%)

Despite Senator Obama's victories over the weekend and last night, he appears to be losing ground with superdelegates as his Affirmer percentage dropped from 33% to 30.5% and his defector percentage increased from 22.9% to 27.2%.  I believe this is explained by the inclusion of DC, Virginia and Maryland as Obama areas.  Many political operatives live in these states (Harold Ickes, Terry McAuliffe, for example) who are part of the Clinton machine and who are contributing to the increased number of Obama defectors.  It will be interesting if the numbers change over the coming days as the impact of last night's primaries is felt nationwide.


Ron said...

If rounding up Super Delegates in advance is all important, why bother even having political conventions anymore?

Matt C said...

Good question, ron.

There are good arguments for allowing superdelegates to vote without regard to popular opinion. By giving officials a say in the nomination process, it strengthes the party apparatus and forces candidates to engage their collegues throughout their careers instead of just pandering to voters. It also allows politicians to have extra support during the nomination process, and allows the party itself to build core values, rather than accepting the values that the most successful candidate imposes on it.

While I think these goals are admirable, I don't think using superdelegates is a good way to achieve them. We live in an age of mass democratization; the days when we trusted "party elders" to make decisions for us are long gone. Many times we don't even allow elected officials to make laws anymore, have you seen the number of ballot initiatives in California?

Perhaps parties should be allowed to give financial support to candidates before the nomination. To increase the leverage of such a program, they could impose limits on spending by candidates during primaries. Parties could also force candidates to participate in real debates where elected officials ask questions of the aspirants who want to lead them. All of these measures (and countless others that I haven't thought of) would increase the power of the party organization, without disregarding the expressed will of the voters.

I believe it is important to roundup the superdelegates so that they know that they will be held accountable by the public for the actions they take at the convention. While important issues should be discussed at the convention, achieving unity should be everyone's goal. If 1968 is any indication, handing control of the nomination to the superdelegates is not a way to do this.

Katrina said...

Very cool. I hope the politicians know that we're watching them carefully.