Hillary Clinton's "Red phone ad" is still getting a lot of publicity, probably
because everything else anyone can say about the primaries Tuesday in Texas, Ohio,
Rhode Island, and Vermont has already been said.
Whether this ad will make a difference remains to be seen. At this moment Barack Obama
has a small lead in Texas and a big lead in Vermont. Hillary Clinton has a medium-sized
lead in Ohio and a big lead in Rhode Island. But many voters are undecided and some
decideds could undecide. This has been an extremely unstable electorate that changes
opinions on a dime. Two weeks ago Clinton had a lock on Texas. Now if a landslide
happens in Texas it is more likely to be an Obama landslide than a Clinton landslide.
And once again, while the media tend to follow the popular vote and declare winners
and losers on that basis, the thing to watch is the delegate count. Due to the rules
in all the primary states, it is hard to win the lion's share of the delegates unless
you win 65% of the vote. Getting 55% of the vote gets you closer to 50% of the delegates
than to 55% of the delegates. The reason, as discussed here last week is that the Texas
primary is by state senate district and the Ohio primary is by congressional district.
Many of these districts have 4 delegates, so unless a candidate gets 62.5% of the
vote in the district, the delegates are split 2-2.
A number of others have 6 or 8 delegates, requiring a large victory to get more
delegates than the loser.
Texas also has a caucus on Tuesday
and victories in caucuses require a strong on-the-ground operation, something Obama
has demonstrated time and time again in other Western caucus states. If the Texas
caucuses go for Obama in a big way and he wins the primary by a little bit, Clinton
will need a huge win in Ohio to offset that. Vermont and Rhode Island may balance
each other roughly.
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.