News from the Votemaster
Well, today is the big day (of course, everyone said that on Feb. 5 and may still be saying it April 22 when Pennsylvania votes). If Barack Obama can win either Texas or Ohio, there will be immense pressure on Hillary Clinton to end her campaign. On the other hand, if she can pull off big victories in both of those states, she will have stopped the momentum of his 11 straight victories and be back on track. Let's look Texas first. It has 228 delegates allocated by both a primary and a caucus today (plus a fair number of delegates allocated at the state convention on June 6). The primary allocates 128 delegates by 31 separate elections in the state's 31 state senate districts. Many of the senate districts have an even number of delegates, so unless one candidate really breaks out, the delegates will split 2-2 or 3-3. The districts that have the most delegates are SD-13 (Houston), SD-14 (Austin), SD-23 (Dallas), Dallas, all of which are likely to go heavily for Obama. The Texas races were discussed in detail in the Feb. 26 posting. Here are the Texas polls for all of 2008.
So what's the conclusion for Texas? Clinton's once huge lead has vanished. The state is now a statistical tie. However, because so many districts have 4 or 6 delegates and the districts where Obama is strong have the most, in a close election, he is likely to walk away with more delegates. Also, Obama has done extremely well in Western caucuses all year and there is no reason to doubt that he will do well in the Texas caucus as well. Thus even in a close election today, he may end up with more Texas delegates than she.
Now on to Ohio. The picture there is much brighter for Clinton. Her once double digit lead has been reduced, but most polls show her ahead by single digits. Ohio has fewer delegates than Texas, but it's 161 is still a large number. Ohio has a very different electorate than Texas. With oil at $100 a barrel, there is still quite a bit of swagger in Texas. Rust-belt Ohio has been hit hard economically with many plant closings. The state has far more older blue collar workers who are barely hanging on and they mostly support Clinton, so she is expected to do better here than in Texas. However, Ohio also elects delegates by district, albeit by its 18 congressional districts. Here, too, a close vote in any district with an even number of delegates (which 12 of them have) will give each candidate the same number of delegates. However, the statewide vote does affect the allocation of at-large and PLEO delegates, so a decisive win here by Clinton could give her a substantial number of extra delegates. Ohio is the make-or-break state for her. She must do very well here to stay in the game. A slight loss in Texas and a slight win in Ohio won't change the delegate totals much. She has to win big in Ohio. A full discussion of the Ohio election process was given here Feb 28. Here are all the polls for 2008 for Ohio.
A factor that is hard to take account of is that in both Texas and Ohio independents can vote in either primary, albeit with some paperwork, but that can be done at the polling place. Since the Republican race is a done deal, some independents may decide to vote in the Democratic race and so far independents support Obama by a large margin. However, Rush Limbaugh has urged everyone to vote for Hillary Clinton to throw a monkey wrench in the Democratic nomination. Also, he would probably greatly enjoy having her to kick around for the rest of the year.
Vermont and Rhode Island also have primaries today. Obama is favored in Vermont (23 delegates) and Clinton is favored in Rhode Island (32 delegates).
On the Republican side, John McCain could finish off Mike Huckabee today and get the 1191 delegates he needs to end the contest. Huckabee will then undoubtedly graciously concede and support McCain, hoping for the Vice Presidential nod. If he doesn't get it and Democrats win in 2008, Huckabee will be considered the front runner for 2012.
Here are the charts for Intrade for the past 90 days. If you invest $77 in shares of Obama now and he wins the nominatiion, you get $100. If he loses the nomination, yoy get 0. Conversely, if you invest $21 in Clinton and she wins, you get $100 and if she loses you get $0. In other words, the market is betting almost 4 to 1 that Obama wins.
Besides the Presidential primaries, there are primaries for Congress in Texas an Ohio today as well. CQ Politics has a story on that.
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 22 delegates, each with 1/2 vote). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, all sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.
Needed to win: Democrats 2025, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster