Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Electoral Math Fun

What if, the Democrats ran their primaries and caucuses in similar fashion to the Republicans? Most of the Republican contests were winner take all, which provides a much more neat process, similar to the system employed in the general election. I thought this was an interesting way to breakdown this race, using the Electoral College formula for state designation. I've calculated all the states, won by Obama and Clinton, with the winner take all Electoral College approach. If you exclude Florida and Michigan entirely, you get these results:

Clinton 244 electoral votes

Obama 203 electoral votes

If you include Florida and Michigan, which no one disputes would have been Clinton victories, you get the following:

Clinton 288 electoral votes

Obama 203 electoral votes

If the Democrats had employed the Electoral College math, with winner take all states, the race would already be over, Clinton the clear victor. I post this out of curiousity, rather than a realistic argument. However, it is noteworthy, given that it employs the same system used to elect a president, and has the same breakdowns, similar to how the Republicans conduct their primaries and caucuses. If only Hillary was running for the GOP ;)


Anonymous said...

"If only Hilary was running for the GOP"

How true, that way she would spending all of her money and time tearing apart the Republicans and stirring up internal civil war. Instead, she is running for the Dems, and seems determined to ensure that if she's not the winner, then no one will be.

Steve V said...

"Instead, she is running for the Dems, and seems determined to ensure that if she's not the winner, then no one will be."

I blame those pesky voters.

Anonymous said...

"If only Hillary was running for the GOP ;)"

Duncan Hunter in a Yves St. Laurent pant suit. Woo-hoo!!!!

Then if Mike Huckabee was a Democrat, then he would have been running neck and neck with McCain trying to be the William Jennings Bryan of the 21st century.

Joffré said...

I'll go ahead and dispute that Hillary would've won Michigan: Rasmussen found them tied at 41% in early March in the event of a redo.

Of course, the whole discussion is moot since the Obama campaign didn't lay out its plans to fight a winner-take-all primary (the Clinton campaign seems to have done just that, letting Obama run away with 20+ point leads in 8 of the 22 states while winning most of their states by small margins).

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

And if wishes were horses...

The other problem with all this "electoral college" math and "big states" math is that it assumes that all these big states will somehow go Republican in the election if Clinton doesn't win the nomination. Like New York and California are going to vote Republican rather than vote for Obama. Like Massachusetts suddenly become a conservative heartland the day after Hillary Clinton finally concedes the inevitable.

The Clinton campaign wants everyone to think that Obama can't beat McCain in Pennsylvania or Ohio, and to ignore the many places where Obama can win and she probably can't (Colorado, Nebraska, Alaska, Kansas, Idaho...).

Obama's received over 60% support in 16 of the primary contests held so far (and over 70% in 5 of those contests). Clinton's received over 60% of support in one lonely contest - Arkansas - at 70% (and where she served as first lady for eight years). Obama has a basically mathematically unassailable delegate count lead, and a virtually unassailable popular vote lead. After Clinton's "big" win in Pennsylvania (the single largest state left) Obama's 150 delegate lead was reduced by what? 16? MAYBE 20. The biggest state left, and her "big" win led to a 10 point drop in his lead. I guess if there were 10 more Pennsylvanias, and she won all of them by 10 points maybe she could eek out a tie.


Clinton's one and only chance is to convince super delegates to give the nomination to her, despite her being behind in BOTH the popular vote and the delegate count.

It's so much fun to see Clinton spin continuing despite all of that. Good to see that some, like the NYT, aren't buying it anymore (sounds to me like they're warming up to calling for her to withdraw... and they ENDORSED her...).

As one blogger said, at this rate Clinton will still be running for the nomination the day after Obama moves in to the White House.

Steve V said...

"I'll go ahead and dispute that Hillary would've won Michigan: Rasmussen found them tied at 41% in early March in the event of a redo."

Even people in the Obama camp have conceded that Michigan is a good state for her, if you choose to dispute, that's your perogative. I have no trouble assuming a victory for her there.


"The other problem with all this "electoral college" math and "big states" math is that it assumes that all these big states will somehow go Republican in the election if Clinton doesn't win the nomination"

Actually, what I'm presenting has nothing to do with what happens in the fall, it's just a measure, used in the presidential race, to see how the two stack up. If, these were winner take all primaries, Clinton is ahead, based on the calculations used for the Electoral College. Nothing more, nothing less, but just an exercise to show that "democracy" isn't a constant, it is expressed in different ways, ways that can bring different outcomes.

Anonymous said...

Obama won in states where Republicans could vote in the Democratic primary. Obama is presenting it as crossover appeal. With McCain safe, Republicans were voting in the Democratic primary to tilt the results.
Also, if Florida and Michigan had been factored in, Clinton would surely be ahead.

Claude said...

This argument does not make any sense at all. The race would not have been over if the democrats had winner take all system. If the dems had a winner take all system Obama would have modified his strategy accordingly, for example if it was a winner take all system the margin would not have mattered and Obama would not have spent money or resources in states like Mississippi, Georgia and pretty much most of the mountain west states which he would have won anyways but under the proportional system Obama spent a lot of money and resources in these states trying to drive up the margins. He would not have spent as much time or money in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas which he had no chance of winning, instead he would have taken this money and resources and put them at work in states like Texas, Nevada and New Mexico where the race in the end was so close that a little bit of more spending and better organizing could have swung the state his way.

Steve V said...


That works both ways. Besides, did he really spend much money in Miss?

Dame said...

cziurdxpNobody seems to get Your point Steve... the "System "of Democratic process is quite a Confused and horrific as it is now.. I am especially Stunned about how many different ways different statest "interpret ' and declare the winners and produce the number of delegates.. not to mention two huge states were simply ineligible for putting in their votes... the whole thing is near absurd and gives some snaky ways / coucuses/ to alter the Numbers.. this is what makes the democrats now plain silly overall.

Clinton wins in spite the whole media is franatically spinning against her,,.

I see the public seems to had enough of that now.. Obama is rapidly fading as he is getting some exposures ... he is very vulnerable if the general elections will put more light on him... he is not as snowhite political figure as some starry eyed funs think he is..

Steve V said...


Anybody who has watched what goes in these caucuses should be horrified, if it is really all about true democracy. Every state has different rules, different measurements for delegate selection, different eligibility for who votes, open, closed, caucus, second-choice viability. It's all a mess, that borders on absurdity, which is why I put little stock in the entire process.

Anonymous said...

One of the many reasons why the Republicans win the white house so often.

By any reasonable, relevent method, which includes all states and is not full of convoluted b.s. Hillary should be the nominee.

The Democrats are cutting off their nose despite their face again.

And it's not Hillary's fault.