Sunday, June 8, 2008

Texas Caucus Final Tally: ?% of the Caucus Vote, 57% of the Caucus Delegates

Fine, if you want to go with the 41% of precincts reporting total from the first step (Obviously, I don't want to given the title.), then it should read "Texas Caucus Final Tally: 56% of the Caucus Vote, 57% of the Caucus Delegates." But don't say I didn't warn you.

Even though FHQ doesn't have access to the true nature of those initial numbers, all is not lost in pursuit of an answer to the caucus question in Texas. Texas Democrats may have stopped publicly counting the March 4 caucus numbers at the 41% mark, but we do know from reports of the senate district convention results that Obama gained support over Clinton compared to the March 4 results. What we know is that Obama improved upon his initial level of support in the senate district conventions to 58%. That total would have netted the Illinois senator 39 delegates in the caucus portion of the Texas delegate selection plan. The state convention seems to have knocked that number down a tad though. In the presidential preference vote held among the 7300 delegates at the Texas Democratic state convention, this weekend, Obama received 57% of the vote which equated to 38 delegates in the caucus process.

Well, la-di-da. What does that matter now anyway? Obama's already the nominee, right? A valid point, to be sure. But this also happens to help test the caucus question hypothesis (that throughout the caucus process momentum will build behind the front-runner/winner/presumptive nominee). Texas held the first state convention to close a caucus process after Obama clinched the nomination. As such, Texas offered the first opportunity to see any wholesale defections toward Obama. We didn't see any. Next weekend offers three further opportunities to discover evidence in support of the caucus question. Idaho, Iowa and Washington all close down their delegate selection shops for the 2008 season with state conventions next weekend. The following weekend, Nebraska will officially bring an end to the delegate selection phase of the 2008 campaign (source: The Greenpapers).

Of those, Iowa will be the most interesting because, well, it's Iowa. Also, Iowa was an early, three way, competitive caucus. The result is that there is a lot of room for a shake up from the original results to the final results. Many of the Edwards delegates from Iowa have already committed to Obama and that certainly factors into this. The big question is whether Clinton delegates, now that the New York senator has dropped her bid for the nomination and endorsed Obama, will move over to support the Illinois senator in Iowa or any of the remaining three caucus states. In Texas the answer was a resounding no.

Elsewhere, it may be a different story. Idaho, Nebraska and Washington all handed Obama decisive victories over Clinton in official caucuses, but also held later beauty contest primaries that served advisory roles. In all three cases the primaries were closer contests.

Idaho caucus: Obama - 79.5, Clinton - 17.2
Idaho primary (scroll down): Obama - 56, Clinton - 38

Nebraska caucus: Obama - 67.6, Clinton - 32.2
Nebraska primary: Obama - 49, Clinton - 47

Washington caucus: Obama - 67.5, Clinton - 31.2
Washington primary (scroll down): Obama - 51.2, Clinton - 45.7

Those differences are noteworthy heading into the next two weekends in terms of the caucus question.

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