Showing posts with label 1976 election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1976 election. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Revisiting Democratic Delegate Allocation (1976-2008)

A few weeks ago when the Democratic Change Commission was holding its first meeting, FHQ posted a series of graphs the DNC produced to show the frontloading of delegate allocation over time. As I said then, "That, folks, is the impact of frontloading in a nutshell." To see the shift from 1976 to 2008 is somewhat staggering.

...well, if only the graphs were a little better. I wanted to see what those figures would look like if a line was added to account for the cumulative percentage of delegates throughout any given year's primary calendar. Ideally, you'd see a nearly even distribution of contests across primary season and a relatively straight line from 0 to 100% delegates allocated.

And that is essentially what is demonstrated in the recreation of the 1976 figure from the DNC (see below). There is some undulation, but basically there is a fairly even (linear) growth to that cumulative line. The same is true of the 1980 figure (not shown). The blue area, then is the weekly percentage of delegates allocated, while the red area is all the weeks to a given point stacked on top of each other.

[Click to Enlarge]

But in 1984, what starts is what I'll call the "volcano with a wind out of the west" phenomenon. [That's a long way of saying frontloading.] What popped up in 1984 was a burst of delegate allocation activity toward the beginning of the process. And over time that "volcano" has grown from a small hill to the towering mountain of Super Tuesday in 2008 (seen below).

[Click to Enlarge]

These are handy visuals that would fit right in (with a GOP version as well) on the monthly frontloading maps that adorn the left sidebar. Assembled, they basically tell the tale of frontloading since the McGovern-Fraser reforms took effect.

*I mentioned the 1984 figure, and should add that I'll be putting the entire series up at some point (probably in individual posts as time allows). In saying that I should also say that there is a problem with the 1988 and 1992 figures. If you look closely at the originals in the link at this post's outset, you'll see that those two years' patterns (and underlying data) mirror each other exactly. If however, you look at the calendars from 1988 and 1992, you can clearly see that they are similar, but not the same, calendars. At some point I'll have to fix that (I suspect the 1988 figure is the one that is off. Pay close attention to the hump on the left side of the Super Tuesday peak. That's Georgia and Massachusetts and the other states that jumped to the first week in March when the Democratic window expanded to include that week in 1992. There was no similar group of contests -- not in terms of numbers of delegates -- in 1988. Most of those southern contests were on the second Tuesday in March.)

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

1976 Presidential Primary Calendar

Monday, January 19:
Iowa caucuses (both parties)

Saturday, January 24:
Mississippi Democratic caucuses

Friday, January 27:
Hawaii Republican caucuses

February: Maine Democratic caucuses (all month long)

Wednesday, February 4:
Wyoming Republican caucuses (all month through March 5)

Saturday, February 7:
Oklahoma Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, February 10:
Alaska Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, February 24:
Minnesota caucuses (both parties)
New Hampshire primary

Saturday, February 28:
South Carolina Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 2:
Massachusetts primary
Vermont primary (beauty contest--no delegates at stake)
Washington caucuses (both parties)

Tuesday, March 9:
Hawaii Democratic caucuses 
Florida primary

Friday, March 12:
South Carolina Republican caucuses (through March 13)

Sunday, March 14:
Wyoming Democratic caucuses

Tuesday, March 16:
Illinois primary

Friday, March 19:
Kansas Republican caucuses

Tuesday, March 23:
Connecticut Republican caucuses
North Carolina primary

Saturday, March 27:
Mississippi Republican caucuses

Monday, March 29:
Maine Republican caucuses

Saturday, April 3:
Kansas Democratic caucuses 
Virginia Democratic caucuses

Monday, April 5:
Oklahoma Republican caucuses

Tuesday, April 6:
New York primary
Wisconsin primary

Monday, April 19:
Missouri Republican caucuses (through April 24)

Tuesday, April 20:
Missouri Democratic caucuses

Thursday, April 22:
New Mexico Democratic caucuses

Saturday, April 24:
Arizona Democratic caucuses/Republican convention 
Vermont caucuses (both parties)

Sunday, April 25:
New Mexico Republican caucuses (through May 1)

Tuesday, April 27:
North Dakota Democratic caucuses
Pennsylvania primary

Saturday, May 1:
Louisiana Democratic caucuses
North Dakota Republican caucuses (through June 14)
Texas primary

Monday, May 3:
Colorado caucuses (both parties)

Tuesday, May 4:
Alabama primary
Georgia primary
Indiana primary

Saturday, May 8:
Louisiana Republican caucuses (through May 15)

Tuesday, May 11:
Connecticut Democratic caucuses
Nebraska primary
West Virginia primary

Friday, May 14:
Virginia Republican caucuses (through May 15)

Monday, May 17:
Utah caucuses (both parties)

Tuesday, May 18:
Maryland primary
Michigan primary

Saturday, May 22:
Alaska Republican caucuses

Tuesday, May 25:
Arkansas primary
Idaho primary
Kentucky primary
Nevada primary
Oregon primary
Tennessee primary

Tuesday, June 1:
Montana primary (Democrats only, Republican beauty contest--no delegates at stake)
Rhode Island primary
South Dakota primary

Tuesday, June 8:
California primary
New Jersey primary
Ohio primary

Friday, June 11:
Delaware Democratic convention

Saturday, June 19:
Delaware Republican convention

Saturday, June 26:
Montana Republican convention

[Primaries in bold; Caucuses in italics]

[Source: Congressional Quarterly and news accounts from 1976. The latter was used to double-check the dates or discover missing ones.]

A few notes:
1) The number of shared dates between state contests was relatively few in 1976.
2) Relatedly, the closest thing to a Super Tuesday in 1976 was May 25. Six states held primaries on that date. Outside of that, there were several dates with three contests, but that was the most.
3) Barely half of the contests were primaries (28 if you count the Montana primary.). The remaining states held caucuses, and of those caucus states, only 5 held both their Democratic and Republican contests on the same date. That leaves 17 states with separate dates for their major party caucuses. That number climbs to 18 if you count the Montana primary/convention split between the Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

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