Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Primary Day, Part XVI (The IN & NC Edition)

That's right. This is the sixteenth primary or caucus day of 2008 presidential primary season. And it may be the last, best chance for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to make a statement in terms of delegates before this phase of the process concludes on June 3. Of the 492 delegates from the remaining contests, today's contests in Indiana and North Carolina account for nearly half (44%). A split (Indiana to Clinton, North Carolina to Obama) or a sweep of today's two contests by Obama really tightens the screws on Clinton in the delegate count. Once the committed superdelegates from final states are removed from that remaining total there are only 245 delegates available following Indiana and North Carolina. If the current delegate margin holds through today's primaries, for Clinton to make up the 135 delegate deficit she would then have to win almost 78% (190 of 245) of those delegates just to tie Obama in the delegate count. And with just six contests left, that's a steep climb, even with half or two-thirds of them being closed to independents and/or Republicans, respectively. That even accounts for the contests in friendly territory coming up in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Having said that, what will everyone be looking for tonight? There are plenty or scorecards already out there for tonight's returns and most of them cover the bases. Here, though, are a few links that may be of interest to the loyal readers of FHQ:

fivethirtyeight.com: This site popped up in the comments section of my first electoral college map post and is a great resource. On their frontpage today (linked above), they have predictions for North Carolina and Indiana. But the gadget that is getting the most buzz around the web is the North Carolina outcome predictor that allows you to manipulate the white/black vote percentages for both Clinton and Obama and the percentage of the Democratic electorate that is black to see how each affects the results in the state.

Social Science Statistics Blog: I posted a link to this blog in the comments to the R&B Committee post below, but the rest of the site is worth checking out as well. Both the regression analysis here and the analysis on fivethirtyeight have Obama winning by double digits in the Tar Heel state. SSS also shows a six point Clinton win in Indiana.

Finally, Arnie Fleischmann here at UGA, passed along to me this New York Times story this morning dealing with the concerns those running for down-ballot races in states that hold their state and local primaries concurrently with their presidential primaries. See, there is an advantage to having those two sets of primaries split and then frontloading the presidential primary. Sure, turnout would be increased in a competitive environment like 2008, but at what cost? Apparently, a lack of attention to those running down-ballot.

And on that rather apropos note, back to the dissertation.

Recent Posts:
The Rules and Bylaws Committee vs. The Credentials Committee

Obama's Caucus Strategy

7! 7 Votes in Guam!


Robert said...

Zogby, who most accurately projected the PA results, has Obama winning NC by 14% and Indiana by 2%. I think it will be a good night for Obama with him winning bymore than 10% in NC and losing by less than 5% in IN. If that is the case, look for him to pass Clinton in superdelegates by the end of the week.

Robert said...

Have you seen the latest madness? Howard Dean will certainly not like this suggestion. You might have to come up with a new blog called Backloading!


Josh Putnam said...

Here's that link from Rob.

Josh Putnam said...

Sorry, I've been without an internet connection since I got home. Ugh.

Anyway, if you are a Democrat, you really have to be worried about how the national party is being run. Their indecisiveness on this is a killer. "We're not going to seat Florida and Michigan's delegates."

"We will seat Florida and Michigan's delegates."

"We will wrap this up by the end of June."

"Why don't Florida and Michigan hold new primaries in August when their state and local primaries are being held?"

All of this from one man, Howard Dean. Did he learn nothing from his fellow competitor for the 2004 Democratic nomination? Apparently not.

Why wasn't this idea proposed earlier? Was it because of the window rule? Why not change it? The DNC wanted to make an example of Florida and Michigan and ended up making an example of themselves in terms of what not to do. I don't know...

My questions are:
1) How much is it going to cost to print those new ballots?

2) Who is going to be picking up the tab?

I'm willing to wager that Republicans in both states would be willing to go along with this in order to keep the Democratic chaos going until the convention. It just seems like a dangerous scenario for the Democrats.


Robert said...

I think last night's results make FL and MI moot. Obama will probably do a deal to seat enough for Clinton to save face without damaging his nomination. Howard Dean has been a mistake for the Democrats. I suspect that he will be replaced after the convention. Look for a more rapid movement of superdelegates to Obama today.

Josh Putnam said...

The next few days will certainly test the theory that some among the superdelegates were simply waiting for an Obama win to make an announcement. The way the press is going, there's going to be a lot of "Is it over?" talk during that period. You can fend that off when you're winning, but when you lose (NC) and don't meet expectations (IN), it is much tougher. And talk of Florida and Michigan only seems like sour grapes. It's all they've got though.

I'll have more shortly.