Obama vs. Clinton: State-By-State Breakdown of Remaining Democratic Nomination Contests
Posted by Ashish on 04.24.2008
A look at Clinton's best case scenario, the role superdelegates will play, and who will get to the necessary 2024 delegates first, all backed up by numbers...
I did one of these state-by-state breakdowns back in early March before Ohio and Texas voted. Since then, Hillary Clinton won the Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania primaries while Barack Obama has won the Texas and Wyoming caucuses and the Vermont and Mississippi primaries. We've also seen several changes in delegate allocations to states that voted awhile ago and many new superdelegates endorse. We also now have updated poll numbers from upcoming states. So, in short, I figured now would be a good time to take another look at where things stand.
I'm going to go about this two ways. First, I'm going to show a BEST CASE SCENARIO for Hillary Clinton where she does much better than expected. Then I will show a realistic scenario. It takes 2024 delegates to win. Since neither candidate can get to that number without superdelegates, at the end of both, I will show how many of the undecided superdelegates she will need to win the nomination, as well as how many of the undecided superdelegates Barack Obama will need to win the nomination.
CURRENT SITUATION: The current situation, according to NBC (including Pennsylvania):
- Obama has a 157 pledged delegate lead (1493 for Obama, 1336 for Clinton). Since early March, Obama has actually expanded his lead among pledged delegates despite Clinton's primary wins in TX, OH, and PA. How is this possible? Simple. He won by huge margins in Vermont, Mississippi, and Wyoming, he gained several delegates at the Iowa county conventions, he gained a few delegates in the final results for Democrats Aboard, and he gained a few delegates in the final delegate breakdown for New York and California.
- Clinton has a 23 superdelegate lead (262 for Clinton, 239 for Obama). Since early March, Obama has cut Clinton's superdelegate lead from 51 to 23. Since February 5th, Obama has gained a net of 69 superdelegates while Clinton has gained a net of two (she has had some of her superdelegates switch to Obama or switch to undecided). The key number to remember here is that since February 5th, Obama has gotten 96% of the superdelegates who have announced.
- Obama has a 134 total delegate lead (1732 for Obama, 1598 for Clinton).
PLEDGED DELEGATES: Obama - 1493, Clinton - 1336 (Obama +157) SUPERDELEGATES: Obama - 239, Clinton - 262 (Clinton +23) TOTAL DELEGATES: Obama 1732, Clinton 1598 (Obama +134)
It takes 2024 delegates to win the nomination.
CLINTON'S BEST CASE SCENARIO
Now, let's look at the remaining states and show what would happen in a BEST CASE SCENARIO for Clinton and a WORST CASE SCENARIO for Obama.
GUAM (4): Guam is a caucus state which Obama has dominated in. And one of the candidates would have to get over 68% of the vote for the four delegates to not be split 2-2 between them, meaning it is almost a lock that both Clinton and Obama will get two delegates here. However, since this is Clinton's best case scenario, let's say she gets three to Obama's one and thus reducing Obama's pledged delegate lead down to 155.
INDIANA (72): The two most recent polls of Indiana show Obama leading slightly. The state could go either way as Obama should dominate in the Northern half of the state, especially the Northwest corner which is more or less part of Chicago and shares the Chicago media market. Obama dominated in Illinois and much of Indiana is an extension of Illinois. But, Southern Indiana is fertile Clinton country and similar to areas where Clinton has dominated. I doubt either candidate wins Indiana by more than five, but again, since this is Clinton's best case scenario, let's say she wins by eight points, 54% to 46%. Obama will win the delegate rich areas of the Northwest, the big cities, and the black areas, so the delegate split will probably go something like 39 to Clinton, 33 to Obama. That would reduce Obama's pledged delegate lead down to 149.
NORTH CAROLINA (115): This is the largest state left and all polls show Obama leading, though the margin ranges anywhere from 10-25 points. Everyone expects him to win by double digits here. But this being Clinton's best case scenario, let's say she only loses by five points, which would indicate a total Obama collapse in the state. So Obama wins 52.5% to 47.5%. Let's give him 61 pledged delegates and her 54, bumping Obama's pledged delegate lead back up to 156.
WEST VIRGINIA (28): The most recent poll shows Clinton dominating in WV so let's run with that and giving Clinton a massive win here, 70% to 30%. I doubt she will end up winning by that much, but let's say she somehow pulls it off (the only state she has gotten 70% in is Arkansas). So she would get 19 pledged delegates, Obama would get 9, and his lead would go down to 146.
KENTUCKY (51): This is another state where polls show Clinton leading comfortably. The state's demographics favor her and the region is an area she has done very well in. Kentucky does have delegate rich black areas though. Despite that, let's say Clinton wins big, 65% to 35%, and let's have the delegate split go to her 32-19, reducing Obama's lead to 133.
OREGON (52): Oregon is the type of liberal state that Obama should do VERY well in and most polls show him leading by around 10. The demographics of the state favor him and most figure he will win by more than 10 after he spends more time in the state. However, let's say that he collapses in the state like we had him doing in NC and only wins by four, 52% to 48%. Let's give him a 27-25 delegate split, bumping his lead back up to 135.
PUERTO RICO (55): This an area where Obama will likely be better organized. But conventional wisdom has Clinton favored in the territory and with his being her best case scenario, let's have her win big, 62% to 38% and give her 33 pledged delegates to Obama's 22, reducing his lead down to 124.
MONTANA (16): This is another midwest red state and Obama has won similar states by 20-30+ points. But let's say Clinton somehow wins anyway and nets +2 delegates. That takes his pledged delegate lead down to 122.
SOUTH DAKOTA (15): Obama won North Dakota by over 20 points and ND is not very different from SD. But let's again say she manages to win narrowly here and nets +1 delegate, decreasing his lead to 121 pledged delegates.
SO WHAT'S LEFT
So in this BEST CASE SCENARIO for Hillary Clinton, where she wins EVERY STATE except North Carolina and Oregon and eats into his leads there, we're left with this final tally:
PLEDGED DELEGATES: Obama - 1679, Clinton - 1558 (Obama +121) SUPERDELEGATES: Obama - 239, Clinton - 262 (Clinton +23) TOTAL DELEGATES: Obama 1918, Clinton 1820 (Obama +98)
So under Clinton's best case scenario, Obama would end the primaries with a 121 PLEDGED DELEGATE LEAD. When you include the superdelegates that have already stated a preference, his lead is 98 DELEGATES. But let's remember, it takes 2024 delegates to win...
SO HOW DOES CLINTON WIN?
293 superdelegates remain undecided. For Obama to get to 2024, he would need 106 of the remaining 293 undecided superdelegates to endorse him. That works out to 36% of the remaining undecided superdelegates (he has gotten 96% of the superdelegate endorsements since February 5th). For Clinton to get to 2024, she would need 204 of the remaining 293 undecided superdelegates to endorse her. That works out to 70% of the remaining undecided superdelegates. And keep in mind, this is Clinton's BEST CASE SCENARIO and is unlikely to really happen and she'd still have to convince 70% of the superdelegates to overturn the election and not pick the popular vote and pledged delegate winner.
So if that's what Clinton's best case scenario looks like, what does a realistic scenario look like? Something like this...
Guam (4): Clinton - 2, Obama - 2 (Clinton +0)
Indiana (72): Clinton - 38, Obama - 34 (Clinton +4)
North Carolina (115): Obama - 63, Clinton - 52 (Obama +11)
West Virginia (28): Clinton - 17, Obama - 11 (Clinton +6)
Kentucky (51): Clinton - 31, Obama - 20 (Clinton +11)
Oregon (52): Obama - 29, Clinton - 23 (Obama +6)
Puerto Rico (55): Clinton - 31, Obama - 24 (Clinton +7)
Montana (16): Obama - 9, Clinton 7 (Obama +2)
South Dakota (15): Obama - 8, Clinton - 7 (Obama +1)
This scenario would give us these final numbers...
PLEDGED DELEGATES: Obama - 1693, Clinton - 1544 (Obama +149) SUPERDELEGATES: Obama - 239, Clinton - 262 (Clinton +23) TOTAL DELEGATES: Obama 1932, Clinton 1806 (Obama +126)
That means that under this realistic scenario, for Obama to get to 2024, he would need 92 of the remaining 293 undecided superdelegates to endorse him. That works out to 31% of the remaining undecided superdelegates (he has gotten 96% of the superdelegate endorsements since February 5th). For Clinton to get to 2024, she would need 218 of the remaining 293 undecided superdelegates to endorse her. That works out to 74% of the remaining undecided superdelegates.
So keep an eye on Obama's superdelegate announcements over the next few weeks. The voting contests don't really matter now in terms of changing the dynamics of the race. Every superdelegate Obama announces makes it that much harder for Clinton to get the required number she will need to win. Her needing to get 74% of the remaining undecided superdelegates to win when she has only gotten 4% of them since February 5th doesn't seem to bode well for her.