Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who's winning the popular vote - explained with Math!

I crunched my own numbers on the Democratic primary, and Senator Clinton's claim that she's leading in the popular vote. All of my numbers came from CNN's Election Central, tabulated into a nice little spreadsheet I'll be happy to email to anyone with a question about the math.

Senator Clinton has been claiming that she's been leading in the popular vote lately - even though she's clearly behind in every other metric (states won, delegates won, superdelegates one, caucus states one, primary states won). So if Obama has been winning the majority of the delegates and the contests, how does her math that "Clinton has the popular vote" pan out?

If you only count primary states - including Florida and Michican *as
they are now* (aka - give Obama 0 for Michican), you get this:

Clinton: 16,752,577
Obama: 16,311,622

Caucus Votes:
Clinton: 188,065
Obama: 390,245

Oh, noes - he's losing in the primary vote! Somebody, fetch me a
white hanky and my smelling salts!

Except - this excludes the caucus states - you have to disenfranchise
13 states and 3 terrotories (Texas doesn't count). Now, I know that
Senator Clinton is very much against disenfranchisement - she tells us
this all the time.

So, if you add in the "raw" caucus votes - in other words, one caucus
state delegate equals one person voting, then you get this:

Primary Votes:
Clinton: 16,940,642
Obama: 16,701,867

Now, by this, he's still "losing the popular vote" at a much smaller
margin - but this raises an interesting issue. Does one state
delegate equal one person? We have no way of knowing, so we might as
well go home and -

Wait - we *do* know a way? Oh, wait - Texas!

Texas primary results went like this:

Clinton: 1,459,814
Obama: 1,358,785

Texas caucus results:
Clinton: 18620
Obama: 23918

Now we can do some math. If you add up the totals from the primaries,
and divide it by the totals from the caucus, you would get the average
ratio of a how many votes a state delegate represents.

Total Texas Primary Votes: 2,818,599
Total Texas Primary Votes: 42,538
State delegate to popular vote ratio: 66 (really, 66.26, but let's not quibble)

This means that for every *caucus* delegate, that equals 66 people.
Holy delegates, Batman!

So let's crunch those numbers again.

Primary Vote Total
Clinton: 16,752,577
Obama: 16,311,622

Caucus Votes plus delegate to popular vote multiplier:
Obama: 188,065 * 66 = 25,756,170
Clinton: 390,245 * 66 = 12,412,290

Primary Votes with multiplier added in:
Clinton: 29,164,867
Obama: 42,067,792

Woah - I know, that looks insane. And I wouldn't state that "every state delegate in every state equals 66 popular vote people." But, that's the math from Texas. Let's try
something way more conservative (in the good sense of the word, mind

Let's assume a delegate to popular vote ratio in caucus states of only
3 to 1. This is obviously waaaaay low - but let's face it, if you
have 100 people show up at an event, 1 or 2 delegates might be picked.
So a "3 popular votes to every 1 caucus votes" is still giving Clinton
the best benefit she can. Just think of a high school gymnasium full of 100 people, and we're saying that 33 of them are going to become state delegates. Not likely - more like 10, or 5. But - let's just assume that one state delegate represents 3 people who voted in the caucus. Now the math goes to:

Clinton: 17,316,772
Obama: 17,482,357

Huh - and look at that. Even at the most *modest* caucus to popular
vote ratio possible, Obama - without a single vote in Michigan, a
state I actually believe he would have won had he not been honorable,
he still wins this asinine "popular vote" argument. By a slim margin
- but if you put that ratio up to the more realistic 10:1, then it's
not even a contest anymore.

Either way, my bet is that Michican will be split 60/40, Michigan and
Florida will be given half delegates (and no super delegates), and
this looooong race will truly begin against Senator McCain.

Sorry if this is too much math for the morning - pretend it's like
playing "Brain Age" on your DS, only with political leanings.

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