Friday, April 11, 2008

The Re-Vote Idea is Still Alive

No, not in Florida or Michigan. [But I got your attention, didn't I?] Nevada, however, has had a hold-up in the second step in its three-tiered caucus process. The county convention phase (February 23) on the Democratic side following the Silver state's January 19 caucuses went off without a hitch in 15 of the state's 16 counties. That one county though, is Clark County, home to Las Vegas and a majority of Nevada's Democratic delegates to the state convention. So while Obama has taken 512 of the 900 delegates at stake in those 15 counties, the results from Clark County hold the key to which candidate will gain the most delegates to next month's Democratic state convention.

What went wrong on February 23 in Las Vegas? Yes, there were crowds of delegates, but the extra 13,000 to 18,000 people beyond the seven thousand delegates that were to attend the county convention were primarily folks who were prospective alternate delegates. Those alternates are out for Saturday's do over, so the rush of people heading into the Thomas and Mack Center (home to UNLV Runnin' Rebel basketball) should decrease. Should being the operative word there.

The issue that arises out of this though (ah, unintended consequences), is that Clark County is voting seven weeks after the other 15 counties. Well, what does that matter? These delegates from the precinct caucuses are pledged, right? No, as a matter of fact, they aren't. Delegates from Clark County have the benefit of having more (negative) information on both Clinton and Obama than their counterparts in the other counties had. Both the Wright and Bosnia revelations appeared after February 23. Does that cause a shift? Who knows? But what we do know is that those delegates not being pledged adds another layer to the caucus question that has been a topic here since mid-March (or here for a discussion of the caucus question as it applied to the second step in Texas). Will one candidate gain delegate support on the other in these subsequent steps? Obama has gained in proportion to his statewide numbers in the non-Clark counties, but he won nine of those 15 counties anyway. Clinton took Clark by ten points (with Edwards only winning two percent) and that is the line to keep our eye on coming out of Saturday's contest. Can Obama emerge from the do over Saturday with a smaller gap (less than ten) in the percentage of Clark delegates than after the precinct caucuses?

The stakes are high in Nevada on Saturday, and as such, it is interesting that this story has not received any more attention than it has on the national level. Sure, Pennsylvania is coming up and that is perceived to be a big swing state in the general election (That has been echoed in the state head-to-head polls.), but Nevada is shaping up to be similarly competitive in the fall as well. And in a close contest, every delega...uh, electoral vote counts.

[Big thanks to Paul Gurian for the heads up on the information and the CQ article.]


Robert said...


Very interesting. I will be looking for these results. Remember a few postings back that your placing Massachusetts as a possible McCain win over Obama. You might want to look at this article to boost your claim:

See you Wednesday.

Josh Putnam said...

Here's that link.

Josh Putnam said...

That is an interesting article on MA. And it basically says the only thing I've been able to come up as an explanation for the McCain-Obama polls there: McCain appeals to independent voters there in the same way he does to voters in NH.