Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vote Counting, Superdelegate Odds and Ends

Slate Trailhead has an excellent post on how the Clinton campaign is counting when they say that they are "winning the popular vote."

The caveats the Clintons apply to their count are:
  1. The votes from the Florida primary, where no one campaigned are counted as-is, netting Senator Clinton 294,772 votes.
  2. The 328,309 people who voted for Senator Clinton in Michigan, where she was the only major candidate on the ballot, are counted.
  3. The 238,168 people in Michigan who voted "Uncommitted" are not counted.

The author, Christopher Beam, believes that the fairest way to count the votes is to count Florida and Michigan but give the uncommitted voters to Obama.  To support this, Beam gives us Clinton spokesman Harold Wolfson's statement that he would be willing to give Obama the uncommitted delegates to get the rest of the delegates counted.  Giving the uncommitted votes to Obama, Beam concludes that Obama leads by about 57,000 votes.

However, Beam's 57,000 number does not include the estimates of people who caucused in Iowa, Maine, Washington and Nevada.  The AP includes estimates for these caucuses since they do not report popular vote numbers, but they have been omitted from the Clinton campaign's count.  If you count these estimates, Obama gains another 110,000 votes, putting his advantage at about 167,000.  Clinton may still find a way to take the popular vote lead, but she will need a lopsided victory in Puerto Rico to do it.

The Superdelegate Roundup Spreadsheet has been updated with the primary results from Kentucky and Oregon as well as superdelgate endorsements through today.  The percentage breakdowns remain the same as Monday, so I won't publish the numbers again here.  Only 3 superdelegates endorsed today (2 for Obama, 1 for Clinton), which is a slowdown from the pace we've seen for the past two weeks.

Huffington Post has reported that four independent sources from the Young Democrats of America (YDA) say that Haim Saban, a billionaire entertainment magnet and Clinton supporter, offered the group $1 million in exchange for the endorsements of their two uncommitted superdelegates.  Saban denied the report.  YDA says they declined the offer.  One of their superdelegates has endorsed Senator Obama while the other remains uncommitted.

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