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Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama Extends Lead Sans Primary

Advancing Friday's post, Barack Obama extended his delegate lead again, and this time without even a primary. Explanation?

On Saturday, he won the Iowa Caucus... again... kind of.

For those confused, the best place to start is with one statement: Plainly speaking, the Iowa caucuses held on January 3rd were not binding.

Not plainly speaking, however...

The January 3rd vote was just step one of three. Across Iowa, there are 1,784 precincts (polling areas) for the famous kick-off caucuses. Those results determine the amount of delegates sent to the county caucuses, of which there are 99. That was Saturday - step two. The country conventions, in turn, voted delegates to the state convention, which will be step three, on June 14th. It is at the state convention, in Des Moines, where Iowa finally determines the actual allocation of their 45 pledged delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

To better understand, let's add players to the game. On January 3rd, Barack Obama won 16 delegates to Hillary Clinton's 15 and John Edwards' 14. Therefore, for Saturday's county conventions, Obama was granted the narrow plurality of supporters, with Clinton and Edwards allocated nearly as many. Similar to the first stage in the Iowa process, supporters were allowed to change sides. Since John Edwards is no longer in the race, many of those delegates were free and encouraged to switch to a new, viable candidate.

Many of them did. Obama earned 52% of Iowa delegates at Saturday's county conventions, while Clinton earned 32%. Sixteen percent stuck with Edwards. Therefore, we have new projected delegates for Iowa. Obama got a 9 delegate bump from 16 to 25. Clinton lost a delegate to Obama, thus falling to 14 delegates from her 15 back in January. Eight delegates deserted Edwards (all for Obama), dropping his Iowan total from 14 to 6.

This process will be similarly repeated on June 14th at the state convention in Des Moines, except this time Obama will start with 52% of delegates to Clinton's 32%, and be the favorite to attract Edwards' last 6 Iowan delegates and easily win the Iowa Caucus... this time officially.

Additionally, Obama is gaining elsewhere. California finally completed its vote-counting on Saturday, allowing them to allocate their last seven delegates to the Democratic Primary. Obama, formerly at 161 delegates from California, won five of them to finish at 166. Clinton, formerly at 202, earned the other two to finishes at 204.

Obama's five new California delegates, combined with his nine new Iowa delegates, gave him a fourteen delegate pick-up over the weekend. Clinton picked up two new delegates in California but lost one in Iowa, giving her a one delegate pick-up.

In sum, Obama net thirteen delegates on Saturday, and we didn't even have a primary.

Therefore, barring anything unforeseen between now and Wednesday, we can add a new total to the "Each Wednesday" pledged delegate chart:

January 9 - Obama +1 (25-24)
January 16 - Obama +1 (25-24)
January 23 - Obama +2 (38-36)
January 30 - Obama +15 (63-48)
February 6 - Obama +37 (910-873)
February 13 - Obama +141 (1141-1000)
February 20 - Obama +159 (1197-1038)
February 27 - Obama +159 (1197-1038)
March 5 - Obama +153 (1379-1226)
March 12 - Obama +160 (1405-1245)
March 19? - Obama +173 (1419-1246) (Current pledged delegate count)

And the gap continues to widen...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's time to change your Odds on the nomination?

Hal said...

Hillary loses ground in all states as time goes by, not just Iowa. But Iowa proves it.

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