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News: Updated Feb. 07

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News from the Votemaster

Late breaking news-- Mitt Romney doesn't want to spend any more of his own money on this campaign and has dropped out. That means John McCain will be the Republican nominee.

Counting delegates is tricky, even the elected ones. For example, in some states delegates are elected by congressional district, either winner-take-all or proportional, but since there are only a handful of delegates per district, the exact rounding of the vote totals matters. To get the exact answer, the absentee ballots must be counted and that can take a few days.

In addition, both parties have PLEOs and various unpledged delegates, bonus delegates and what not. Consquently, there is no definitive count of where we stand yet. Here are two reports.

Washington Post

Clinton 1045 Obama 960     Needed: 2025
McCain 707 Romney 294 Huckabee 195 Paul 14 Needed: 1191


Clinton 823 Obama 741     Needed: 2025
McCain 714 Romney 286 Huckabee 181 Paul 16 Needed: 1191

The Washington Post is apparently a bit more aggressive in making projections; CNN has more delegates in the category of "not yet decided." While the exact totals vary (and will change during the next few days as more final results come in), the general pattern is clear: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are basically tied, with Clinton having a tiny lead. It is likely to be quite a while before one or the other wins this. Obama has more money at the moment. In fact, Clinton had to loan her campaign $5 million to keep up with Obama.

The coming week favors Obama. Here is the schedule.

      Washingon State: Caucus, Saturday, Feb. 9
      Nebraska: Caucus, Saturday, Feb. 9
      Louisiana: Primary, Saturday, Feb. 9
      Maine: Caucus, Sunday, Feb. 10

He has done well at caucuses because they are dominated by (young) activists, as discussed yesterday. Next Tuesday, Virginia, Maryland, and D.C have primaries. No doubt the polling for these will start soon.

Yesterday, a Democratic precinct chair from Colorado reported about being curious as to why Obama did so well in the Colorado caucuses (including hers) but only so-so in the nearby New Mexico caucuses. Some investigation showed that the New Mexico caucuses were in reality primaries: people came in, voted, and went home. There was none of the open discussion of the candidates that characterizes the caucus process as we have described here earlier this year. This tends to confirm the theory that Obama does better when there are small groups discussing the candidates where his cadre of enthusiastic supporters can try to convince other voters that he is the best person for the job. If the caucuses in Washington and Nebraska on Saturday are true caucuses, he will probably also do well there. Louisiana has a primary, but the state still has many black voters, so he is likely to do well there, too. Next Tuesday we are back to primaries, with few recent polls there. Stay tuned.

The Republican side has much more clarity. Especially since Mitt Romney has dropped out. Presumably Huckabee will do so shortly, too, then it's down to a three-man race: McCain, Ron Paul and Alan Keyes. The big question now is how the right wing of the Republican party reacts to McCain's virtually certain nomination.

-- The Votemaster
WWW www.electoral-vote.com