News from the Votemaster
How do you win a knife fight? Karl Rove (of all people) has a brilliant piece on how to win the Democratic nomination. This guy didn't get to be called Bush's brain for nothing. He understands the nuts and bolts of running a convention like few others, and running the Democratic convention is no different from running the Republican convention. Worth reading--even by Democrats. If it comes down to a brokered convention, you want to know where the levers of power are, don't you? Machiavelli would be proud of his pupil.
Hillary Clinton has vowed to stay in the race, despite Sen. Patrick Leahy's call for her to drop out. This is not the first time a candidate has vowed to stay in the race. The Daily Irrelevant has collected links to similar statements by Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and and John Edwards, along with the dates they made the statements and the dates they dropped out.
Starting today, the general-election polls (but not the primary polls) are available graphically. On the Obama-McCain or Clinton-McCain maps, just click on a state to see a graph of the polls.
The next primary is Pennsylvania's on April 22. Here's the scoop. Pennsylvania is allocated 187 delegates, as follows:103 pledged district-level delegates elected April 22
35 At-large pledged delegates
20 Pledged PLEOS
The 103 district-level delegates will be elected by congressional district, with a certain number per district. Below is a map of Pennsylvania showing the congressional districts. Wikipedia has a page showing all the individual district maps.
Here is a list of the districts, the number of delegates each has, the major cities, the PVI, and the Representative.
Now let us look at how the delegates might be divided up between Clinton and Obama, as illustrated in the table below. Suppose Clinton gets 55% of the vote, as she did in Ohio. Then she gets 55% of the delegates in each CD. For example, in CD PA-01, which has seven delegates, she is entitled to 3.85 delegates, as shown in column 3 below. However, since Democrats do not slice up delegates, she gets 4 delegates in PA-01 and Obama gets 3, as shown in columns 4 and 5. Now suppose she does really well and clobbers him in PA-01, 60% to 40%. Now she is entitled to 4.2 delegates, but that rounds to the same 4 she got with 55% of the vote. In CD PA-02 same thing happens: she gets 5 delegates with 55% of the vote and also 5 delegates with 60% of the vote. The result of this exercise is that if Clinton gets 55% of the vote in every CD, she wins a net 13 delegates. With 60% she gets a net of 15 delegates. In short, even with a landslide win of 20%, she picks up only 15 district-level delegates.
What about the other delegates? The 35 pledged at-large delegates are chosen by the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. They are allocated in proportion to the statewide primary vote. So, for example, if Clinton gets 55% of the vote statewide, she gets 19 at-large delegates vs. Obama's 16, for a net of 3. With 60% of the vote, she gets a net of 7 delegates.
The 20 PLEO slots are reserved for big-city mayors, state legislators, county officials, and so on. However, they have to run for election pledged to a candidate. The Democratic State Committee selects them, with slots allocated to candidates based on the statewide primary results. So, for example, if Clinton gets 55% of the vote statewide, she gets 11 PLEOs to Obama's 9.
Finally, the superdelegates are not elected. These are members of Congress, members of the DNC, Gov. Ed Rendell, etc.
All in all, if Clinton gets 55% of the vote statewide, she might pick up a net of 20 odd delegates. This will not put much of a dent in Obama's current lead of 120-140 delegates. Furthermore, he is likely to win back most of these two weeks later in North Carolina. Indiana, of all places, then suddenly becomes a crucial state.
If you have gotten this far, congratulations. You are a real political junkie. For dessert, go read the complete Pennsylvania Delegate Selection Plan
No new primary polls today. In the general election, McCain leads both Democrats in Wisconsin and Arizona.
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 so there is some guesswork involved. Furthermore, some of the unpledged delegates are elected at state conventions in May or June. Finally, the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) sometimes waver and may tell different reporters slightly different stories that they interpret differently.
Needed to win: Democrats 2024, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster