Friday, May 23, 2008

Colorado Final Tally: Clinton Gains 1 Delegate

From the precinct level to the state convention, Hillary Clinton (ever so) slightly improved her standing in the Centennial state. The initial vote percentages (67%-32 in favor of Obama with 1% opting for "uncommitted") would have yielded a 37-18 delegate edge in a purely proportional system. With the process being filtered through both congressional district caucuses and Colorado Democrats' state convention last weekend, there were opportunities for each candidate to tweak those numbers. Granted, the movement that was witnessed from early February to last weekend could be due simply to the rounding of delegates during each step of the process. As I mentioned in the congressional district caucus post earlier in the week, there had been reports of the Clinton camp making efforts in the state following the initial defeat there. But as the good folks at Enik Rising point out, it all seems too little, too late for Clinton, especially when the alternate delegates are included in the equation (all are Obama supporters).

In the end, Colorado will send 36 Obama delegates and 19 Clinton delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. And while this is a "victory" for Clinton in the delegate count, it is certainly outweighed by the much more skewed numbers (favoring Obama) coming out of Nevada last weekend as well. Skewed as Nevada may have been (in the translation from vote totals to actual delegates), the gain Obama got from the beginning of the process in the Silver state to the state convention was the same 1 delegate that Clinton got in Colorado. The result? A wash.

Of course, we're still awaiting word out of Kansas and Washington from last weekend. One blogger posted the results of the 8th district meeting in Washington and another has revealed the breakdown in the 3rd and an Obama slate of delegates to the convention from an Obama site (unconfirmed by the Washington state Democratic Party). By my count, that's 34 Obama delegates and 9 Obama alternates. That 34 is roughly equivalent to the percentage of the vote Obama received in the the state's February 9 caucus. That's 2/3rds of the delegates that were on the line in last weekend's congressional district caucuses. Obama got nearly 68% of the vote in the precinct level meetings.

Recent Posts:
Clinton in 2012: The Caucus Quandary

Rules Matter...but Luck Does Too

The Electoral College Maps (5/21/08)


Robert said...

There was an interesting take on how the schedule worked against Clinton at

It's not just frontloading, but when the contests happen. The point that Paul made earlier, however, that a different schedule would have elicited a different strategy, particularly from Obama, is also relevant.

Robert said...

Also, it looks like Hillary is ready to support the regional primary concept. Seems like the superdelegates have too much power!

Anonymous said...

Here's the Clinton calendar link from Rob.

...and the regional primary link.

Anonymous said...

A few things on the calendar counterfactual:

1) There's no mention of superdelegates. If Pennsylvania had replaced Wisconsin in February, and the Obama streak had become a post-Super Tuesday draw between the two, I suspect the rate at which the superdelegates broke toward Obama would have been much less. I'd argue that they would have buttressed Clinton's fortunes then, giving her the edge down the stretch.

2) Money isn't everything, but it would be interesting to see how Obama's fundraising numbers would have changed in the event that there were more Clinton states during the latter half of February. Would his campaign have had enough cash on hand to withstand what likely would have been a less than favorable media climate. And let's not forget Wright emerged around then. He survived that period as it was, but Wright likely would have served as the death knell for Obama in that case.

3) Yes, there seem to be Clinton states and Obama states, but Kornacki glosses over the caucuses. The difference in delegates from the caucus states so far (when estimated as a reflection of the precinct level vote) is roughly equivalent to the 157 delegate difference mentioned. Sure those caucuses were scheduled early, but that seems the better indicator of the difference than the delegate difference in the post-Super Tuesday February states.

My one question, in closing, is why "Clinton states" are less likely to move (into this intermediate area)? Some of these states attempted to move (Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island) but didn't. But I guess I answered that above. It was the caucus states, stupid. And as I've shown (toot my own horn alert), caucus states have an easier time moving than primary states. The latter have to go through the legislature and the governor to get a move passed. And that's where partisanship emerges.

So it wasn't the alignment of states, it was the caucuses. Obama's campaign pulled a fast one on a veteran team too dependent on the Super Tuesday approach of the past.

Anonymous said...

On the other link:
Is that an endorsement of a regional primary system? If no one is at the tail end, then that sounds like a national primary to me. Yeah, I don't doubt that she would have liked to have had a national primary day for this cycle.

And who are these people that have her at 300 electoral votes? If you round up to the nearest 100 then, yes, I guess she would have around 300. There's been a ton of new polling since Tuesday. I'll crunch those numbers and post how close that gets her to 300.

Robert said...


Points well taken on the caucuses. I missed that. Thanks for catching it. I also agree that some earlier Clinton primaries plus the Wright episode would have been destabilizing to his chances. As you stated earlier it is good to be lucky as well as smart. All of this analysis certainly emphasizes the effect of frontloading and timing.

There is little doubt that she would have won a national primary, and that she would be the nominee if that were the rule. It might not be her best path next time, however. I've heard that 300 electoral votes before, and it usually involves winning some states in November that she won in the primaries plus the others that a Democrat would be expected to win. Central to her argument after you strip away all the garbage is that she has a better chance of winning at least 2 of the 3 key battleground states -- PA, OH and FL.

Anonymous said...

The kicker is that she is ahead in all three (FL, OH, PA) and still barely wins (272-266) by my count. Obama is looking more comfortably ahead in Pennsylvania and is getting closer and closer in Ohio (It is nearly a tie in my analysis now.). Florida is almost inconsequential if he takes those two. Without Ohio, Obama would win 274-264 today. If your slide Ohio over to his side, he would win 294-244. A little closer to that 300 mark than she is.

That guy totally glossed over the caucuses to make his argument look better. That 80% figure is nice, but when you aggregate by the caucus data, that adds up to ~100%.