Showing posts with label add-on delegates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label add-on delegates. Show all posts

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Delegate Race: Is Obama There Yet?

Editor's Note: The following comes to us from University of Georgia political science professor, Paul Gurian.

In her 2000 article
"The End Game in Post-Reform Presidential Nominations", Barbara Norrander evaluated several indicators of when a nomination campaign is effectively over, specifically, when the frontrunner's last remaining opponent would drop out of the race. Two of these indicators are especially relevant at this point in time: the "gain-deficit ratio" (Collat, Kelley and Rogowski, 1981) and the "bandwagon curve" (Straffin, 1977).
These formulas are not precise predictors of when a candidate will drop out -- that is a decision made by the candidate and her staff. However they do indicate when conditions are such that the frontrunner's nomination seems inevitable -- conditions that figure into the opponent's decision-making.

Before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Obama needed 273 delegates to achieve a majority. To exceed the gain-deficit ratio threshold of .36, he needed to win 98.3 delegates. On Tuesday he won approximately 97 or 98 pledged delegates (estimates vary from 95-100). However, he also won about 10 super-delegates the next day. Whether the super-delegates are counted as part of the same "event" or not, Obama is very close to, or just above the threshold. (These numbers change if one assumes that the Michigan and Florida delegates will be seated.)

The Straffin formula suggests that Obama is still just shy of the "bandwagon" threshold. Considering the delegates won by each candidate, the current delegate margin (Obama's delegate total divided by Clinton's) is 1.09, not quite enough to exceed the current threshold of 1.14 (see below).

Although it is still possible for Clinton to win the nomination, there is an emerging consensus among reporters and politicians that the race is over. This perception coincides with the two mathematical indicators: it's not over yet, but it's very close.

BO 1854; HRC 1696 (as of 5/9)
total BO+HRC = 3550
total all dels = 4049
BO+HRC/totalDels = 0.876759693752
4.596 - 7.28 + 3.824 = 1.14
BO/HRC = 1.09

--posted by Paul-Henri Gurian (Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Georgia)

Related: (from

Everything you always wanted to know about Obama's pledged delegate clinching scenarios

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Obama's Slide Revisited

Unpledged Add-On Delegates

ABC News: Obama Now Leads in Superdelegates

With an additional switch this morning (Rep. Donald Payne, NJ) and a new endorsement (Rep. Peter DeFazio, OR), Obama now leads Clinton 267-266 among the superdelegates.

(via Daily Kos)

Paul has mentioned this several times in our discussion group meetings, but I'll reiterate the point here. It has seemed like only a matter of time before this happened. A new leader in the count has emerged and Clinton has one less thing to lean on in making an argument to the other uncommitted superdelegates.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Unpledged Add-On Delegates

Well, we can thank the lengthy and competitive race for the Democratic nomination for bringing to light any number of rules and political players during this current nomination season. I mean, who among you was talking about the primary/caucus in Texas in 2004? Did Al Gore even care that there were superdelegates in 2000? And what about the timing of nominating contests? That never warranted any discussion before this year. Well, I suppose that has been discussed some (here and elsewhere).

As we glance forward at the race post-North Carolina/Indiana there are a couple of related questions that come readily to mind: 1) What are the numbers? and 2) Is it over? I'll leave the latter to the pundits and Hillary Clinton. The former, however, has been covered and seems to point toward the affirmative on the latter (See, the pundits are already at work.). If you are Hillary Clinton and her campaign, though, you are trying to find a way to cobble together an unlikely coalition of delegates to somehow pull this thing out. We all know the math on the pledged delegates and the superdelegates, but what about these mysterious unpledged, add-on delegates? Could this potentially be a hidden bastion of support that Clinton could use to get her close enough to Obama's tally; close enough that legitimately begin making the electability arguments again?

Possibly, but it's doubtful. There are only 76 add-ons (81 if you count Florida and Michigan's) and this group insn't going to act anymore monolitically than any other group of Democratic delegates. In fact, Obama already has a lead among those add-ons that have been selected. Most are selected at state conventions (others by committees of state party leaders) to represent their states as unpledged delegates to the national convention. Only a hanful have been chosen thus far but more will follow as the process transitions into the state convention phase for both caucus states and primary states.

Want more? If the link to 2008 Democratic Convention Watch isn't enough, NPR ran a story on the add-ons just last week as well.

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