Friday, February 29, 2008

Candidates give their superdelegate numbers

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

In an overview piece from the NY Times on Obama cutting Clinton's superdelegate lead, we do have one useful nugget:

The Clinton campaign said Thursday that it had the support of 258 of the 795 superdelegates (not counting those from Florida or Michigan, whose delegations are the focus of a dispute), while the Obama campaign said it had the support of more than 200.
Those numbers are about 15 higher for both candidates than we have them, a not unreasonable number.

17 comments:

Dave said...

The Wall Street Journal and Politico superdelegate tracking sites list the following SD endorsements that this site still classifies as uncommitted. Their info comes in part directly from the campaigns, so they're probably what the figures in the NY Times article are based on. All are DNCers.

For Clinton: Aleita Hugeurin/Keith Umemoto (CA), Mona Mohib (DC), Cecilia Mafnas/Taling Taitano (Guam), Moretta Bosley (KY), Mary Lou Winters (LA), Herman "Denny" Farrell/Roberto Ramirez (NY), Ronald Malone/Patricia Moss (OH), Ronald Donatucci (PA), Robert Martinez (TX), Bob Strauss (TX DPL), Carol Burke/Kevin Rodriguez/Marilyn Stapleton (Virg. Is.)

For Obama: Steven Alari (CA), Carol Ronen/Edward Smith/Darlena Williams-Burnett/Margie Woods (IL), Connie Thurman (IN), Sam Spencer (ME), Janice Griffin/Mary Jo Neville (MD), Everett Sanders (MS), William George (PA), Yvonne Davis/Denise Johnson (TX), Joe Johnson (VA).

Taking these additional endorsements into account gets you almost precisely to the numbers claimed by the campaigns.

Matt said...

Dave - Thanks. We'll look for public references on these folks.

SB said...

The chair and associate chair of the DFL will vote for Obama.

http://mnpublius.com/2008/02/melendez-and-cassutt-will-vote-for-obama/

Oreo said...

Thanks SB
Added both

Yamaka said...

With all the additions, I see still Hillary is leading in total delegates including FL, MI, SD by about 20.

TX, OH and later PA will expand her delegate lead, I expect. She could very well be the Nominee.

Texans support her very enthusiastically. I am in Houston. Current local polls give her 10 plus lead. Cheers.

craig said...

Yamaka,

I'm not sure how to read the polls in Texas, especially given the fact that delegates are apportioned based on the previous election's voter turnout for each district. The latest polls are all over the place, but some of the factors at play that will determine the number of delegates to be awarded each candidate suggest that Obama may win by delegates even if he loses by popular vote--keep in mind, he has an excellent chance of winning the popular vote as well. This is especially true when the caucuses weigh in (which may, by the way, be the rationale for the Clinton camp's current saber rattling to the Texas Dem. committee about suing to stop the caucuses).

My read is that Clinton may have a chance in Ohio and Rhode Island, but not Texas and definitely not Vermont.

KCinDC said...

Note that "delegates are apportioned based on the previous election's voter turnout for each district" is not some weird Texas thing. It's the way it works in every state.

dngrp001 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KAP said...

I've been keeping track of your site for a while now, and have published a spreadsheet with daily totals and graphs, here:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pT_z8d3gptJ8U9nBteEAWXg&hl=en#

Markus said...

This race is so exciting, I wish somebody who knows how to do something like that would create a little computer desktop gadget that would show the current DCW count and make some noise as soon as it changes. Good job, guys!

craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
craig said...

Kcindc,

Actually, Texas is different--not just because it has what is known as the "Texas Two-Step." Of course, there may also be other states that allocate delegates using a method similar to Texas', but the real point is that neither the total population of a district nor the number of actual voters--in this election--for a district are the sole factors in determining how many delegates it will have. The number of delegates allocated to a particular district is directly related to the voter turnout in previous elections--not this election. This is not the way many other states do it.

These are some of the reasons why some eastern and northern sectors of Texas will have more influence than other, equally populated sectors, and is also one of the reasons why the delegate count south of Rt. 10 (El Paso east to San Antonio and beyond) will be much less than other areas of equal population. The election turnouts in previous elections among the Hispanic communities have historically been much lower than other areas. In particular, areas with a heavy African-American presence have turned out in large numbers in past elections, and as a result, their communities have more delegates--even though the total population, and possibly, the total number of votes cast this primary may be equal or higher for the Hispanic community. Note, the areas south of Rt. 10 are primarily Hispanic.

"Unlike other states that allocate delegates by congressional districts, Texas distributes 126 of its delegates among its 31 state Senate districts using a formula based on Democratic voter turnout in the 2004 and 2006 general elections." (Pickler & Fouhy, Texas' Complicated Rules May Favor Obama, AP, Feb 20, 2008).

KCinDC said...

Craig, isn't the difference that quote is talking about that Texas uses state senate districts where most other states use congressional districts? In most states, the number of delegates for a congressional district is similarly based on Democratic turnout in previous elections, so districts that have a high African-American population tend to have more delegates.

You're saying that "neither the total population of a district nor the number of actual voters--in this election--for a district are the sole factors in determining how many delegates it will have", but what states is that *not* true for? Since for any state the number of delegates a district gets is determined before the primary or caucus, obviously it can't depend on the number of votes in *this* election. And since congressional districts are supposed to have approximately equal populations, the fact that the number of delegates varies from district to district shows that the population doesn't determine the number.

Texas's system is different in a lot of ways, but I don't see how rewarding areas that have historically had high Democratic voter turnout (including heavily African-American areas) is one of them. That seems to be normal DNC rules.

craig said...

Kcindc,

I understand what you are saying, and quite frankly, the complexity of the method Texas uses for allocating delegates surprised me. However, the real difference isn't with congressional vs. state senate. It is more nuanced.

For example, in Maryland we use congressional districts--and it is based on the population--not the voting patterns of previous elections.

The Washington Post has a great article on the Texas method. Written by Matthew Mosk, "System Worries Clinton Backers", Feb. 18, 2008, pg. A06.

In this article he says, "Texas Democratic Party officials said there is a good reason that some senatorial districts yield two or three delegates while others yield seven or, in one Austin district, eight. The numbers are determined by a formula that is based on the number of voters in each district who cast ballots for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) in the 2004 presidential campaign and for Chris Bell, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2006." In other words, the number of voters who cast a vote for a democrat in both the 2004 and 2006 elections.

He further states, "The higher the turnout in each district in those years, the more delegates the district will get to select this year, explained Boyd Richie, the state party chairman." The problem with this method of apportioning delegates is highlighted by what Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., a Clinton supporter who represents the heavily Hispanic southern tip of Texas, says: "the party's formula fails to account for areas where general-election turnout may have been low but turnout for competitive primaries was much higher." In other words, when there is a failure of the voter to turn-out repeatedly and consistently then the delegates apportioned to their home district is negatively affected. The key here is consistent voter turnout for all the elections--that is the only way to assure your vote carries weight.

Rules are rules, but unfortunately, these rules were designed with something other than fair elections in mind. I think what was intended was to encourage people to vote, to formulate rules that would promote voter participation. This is what Boyd Richie meant when he says, "It's not that anyone's trying to penalize anyone... That's the last thing I want to do. What I want to do is encourage people to come back and vote. We want to have everybody participate."

The bottom line is that there is a complex formula that determines how many delegates are awarded each district. It isn't based just on population or voter turnout. It is based on voter turnout and votes cast for democrats over an extended period of time--for both the 2004 and the 2006 elections.

craig said...

Kcindc,

You know, my interpretation may be way off base. If it is, tell me... Help me to understand what you are thinking.

KCinDC said...

Craig, I think you just aren't aware of the details of the process in Maryland (and most other states). The number of delegates a congressional district gets isn't just based on population -- otherwise you wouldn't have 7 delegates for MD District 4 but only 4 for MD District 6.

The Maryland rules say (like those for most other states, I believe):

Maryland’s district-level delegates and alternates are apportioned among the districts

a. based on a formula giving one-third (1/3) weight to each of the following formulas: (Rule 8.A.; Regs. 4.11., 4.12. & Appendix A)

(1) Equal weight to total population and to the average vote for the Democratic candidates in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections

(2) Equal weight to the vote for the Democratic candidates in the 2004 presidential and the most recent gubernatorial elections.

(3) Equal weight to the average of the vote for the Democratic candidates in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and to Democratic Party registration or enrollment as of January 1, 2008.


I agree that the Texas system is different, but I think people are exaggerating the differences.

craig said...

Kcindc,

You are absolutely right. Your earlier remarks got me thinking about my thinking, so I did some research. The DNC rules for allocating delegates is uniform for all states (and DC), an d is based on the voting of the past three presidential elections (1996, 2000, 2004). It is the result of a formula based on the state's democratic vote (SDV), the total popular vote for the democratic candidate (TDV), the state's electoral vote (SEV) and the total electoral vote (TEV)(538). The allocation factor (AF) is:

AF=1/2((SDV/TDV)+(SEV/538))

I stand corrected. Thanks!

I still have a question. Based on the uniformity of delegate allocation indicated by the above formula, why would there be any difficulties with the apportionment of delegates in the state of Texas (or any other)? I think, if there is indeed a real issue, then it would have to do with local rules for allocation of delegates. In Texas' case, is the issue based on some peoples desire for an equitable distribution based on something other than voter participation, for example--total population? And if so, doesn't this mean that the so-called problems the Clinton camp is pointing to are borne from their anxiety of maybe not getting as many delegates as they want to get? Or is there something to the argument?