Thursday, May 22, 2008

Obama's Magic Number v. Clinton's Math

OK, neither Kentucky nor Oregon was any real surprise- except that Clinton was significantly stronger than I expected in Kentucky, and Obama significantly stronger than I expected in Oregon. By my count Clinton netted ten pledged delegates on the night... but that, of course, wasn't nearly enough.

I've updated my spreadsheet in certain ways this morning. First, I've gone back to the pre-Feb. 5th numbers and given Obama ten more delegates- the Edwards pledged delegates who, thus far, have openly endorsed Obama. Second- and more important- I've taken away the presumption that Clinton and Obama would evenly split the post-Pennsylvania delegates, and put my running total in place instead. Finally, I've brought my estimate of the superdelegate endorsements as much up to date as I can.

Here's the breakdown:

PUERTO RICO - Obama 25, Clinton 38 (60-40 Clinton win)
SOUTH DAKOTA - Obama 8, Clinton 7 (Obama 55-45 win)
MONTANA - Obama 9, Clinton 7 (Obama 55-45 win)



TOTAL: Obama 2,006.5, Clinton 1829.5.

DELEGATES NEEDED TO WIN: Obama 19.5, Clinton 196.5

SUPERDELEGATES OUTSTANDING (including add-ons not yet named): 212

So now the countdown begins: twenty superdelegates, and Obama claims victory- without Florida and Michigan.

And, for Obama supporters like myself who worry about worst case scenarios, what if Clinton manages to get Florida and Michigan counted fully- an eventuality which no pundit, not even the most pro-Clinton, believes will happen?

Well, take the total above: Obama 2006.5, Clinton 1829.5 to start.

PLEDGED DELEGATES MI/FL - Obama 67 (not counting 55 "uncommitted"), Clinton 178
SUPERDELEGATES MI/FL - Obama 10, Clinton 15
TOTAL MI/FL - Obama 77, Clinton 193 (Clinton net +116)

TOTAL DELEGATES W/MI/FL - Obama 2083.5, Clinton 2022.5

SUPERDELEGATES NEEDED TO WIN - Obama 126.5, Clinton 187.5

And if you give Obama three-quarters of the Uncommitted delegates from Michigan (41) and half of John Edwards' pledged delegates from Florida (6):

ADJUSTED NEEDED TO WIN - Obama 79.5, Clinton 187.5

But this scenario- the absolute best Clinton can hope for, and it's still a loser- isn't going to happen. Michigan's Democrats have voted to split their delegates Clinton 69, Obama 59. Terry McAuliffe, one of Clinton's campaign handlers, has already said they'd be happy with half-representation from Florida and Michigan. And the Clinton campaign can claim, at best, only 13 supporters in the 30-person Rules Committee which will meet May 31 to decide the fate of those two states' delegates.

So- the actual magic number for Obama is somewhere between 80 on the highest end, and 20 on the lowest end.

I prefer the low end, so let's start counting down, shall we?

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