Monday, May 12, 2008

Pledged Delegate History

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

A number of readers have asked for a Pledged Delegate History chart, similar to our Superdelegate History Chart. We weren't able to provide this data, but ABC News has now done it for us:

They also have interesting charts of the popular vote totals over time.


Unknown said...

Those charts certainly show a clear picture of the election so far. It looks like Obama would still have a small lead in the popular vote count if all States are included? Thanks for finding guys do a fantastic job!!
Claudia in Canada

Unknown said...

I recall the Obama campaign saying about some time ago that after every contest they had remained ahead in the pledged delegate count. This chart proves it. Even after Super Tuesday on Feb. 5th.

tmess2 said...

There are several different ways to do the count of popular vote, depending upon your assumptions.

Here are the factors:

1) The Florida Popular Vote
2) The Michigan Popular vote count
3) Assumptions about the uncommitted vote in Michigan
4) The vote in the five caucus states that merely report delegates (Iowa, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, and Maine)

The Clinton count (also used by Green Papers)uses the Florida and Michigan vote count, do not use any vote totals from the caucus states, and treats the uncommitted as being uncommitted. In that count, Obama is currently ahead by just over 125,000.

If you discount Florida and Michigan entirely, Obama's margin goes up to 745,000.

If you count Florida and Michigan, but assume that half of the uncommitted in Michigan were Obama supporters -- a conservative estimate based on where the uncommitted votes were, the fact that in other states uncommitted got practically no votes (238,000 in Michigan as opposed to 32,000 in the rest of the country), and that Obama finished ahead of John Edwards in the other states in which both were on the ballot -- Obama's lead would be 344,000.

All of these counts do not include the five caucus states. I know that some media sources have tried to estimate the actual votes out of these states, but I do not think anyone has come up with a reliable count.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the explaination tmess2. In Canada when we vote for our party leader the delegates are named and voted in first, and it is only party members or card holders that vote. Those delegates then attend the convention and we vote for our leader. It can take up to 3, and 4 votes and there is some "politics" that happens on the floor of the convention. We do respect our members and vote based on leadership qualities.

The votes counted determine the outcome...and it is not a general public election...only party members allowed to vote. Popular vote isn't an issue, and no one has to estimate.

I understand that some of the caucus' didn't count the number of people who voted, so that complicated things?

Claudia in Canada

Don said...

Aside from the fact that several caucus states don't keep track of raw popular vote at all, there is another problem with the idea of using total popular vote as any sort of measurement: Voter turnout is much lower in caucus states, because of the much greater time commitment involved in attending a caucus.

In my own state of Washington, party leaders estimated that our caucuses drew upwards of 200,000 voters -- a record high turnout by all accounts. As it happens, this year Washington state also held a Presidential primary. Even though the Democratic primary was strictly a "beauty contest" -- it had NO influence over the state's delegation -- far more people (over 700,000) showed up to vote in the primary.

It is impossible to say which contest, our primary or our caucuses, is a better indicator of real voter preference in my state.

For example, I voted at my caucus, but I didn't bother to vote in our "meaningless" primary. I would venture a guess that there were many thousands of "well-informed" voters who did the same as me. But clearly, many more people (at least a half million) did the opposite, voting in the primary but not their caucus.

Certainly, if the primary actually did influence our convention delegation, even more people would have voted in it. It's probably reasonable to think, based on Washington state's turnout figures, that the raw turnout for a meaningful primary is about 4 times what it is for caucuses.

So if all things were equal, it might be fair to multiply the vote totals from the caucus state by 4, before adding them into a national popular vote total. Of course, adjusting the caucus states' popular votes like this would significantly expand Barack Obama's lead in the "total popular vote", which is why Senator Clinton would find it outrageous that anyone would even suggest such a thing.

And she'd have something of a point. For what it's worth, Clinton did better in our primary than in our caucuses: she lost the primary by roughly 54% - 46%, where she lost the caucuses by about a 2-to-1 margin.

Still, if you include Obama's popular vote margin in our "meaningless" primary (again, the contest that she did better in), it would add about 56,000 votes to Obama's national lead. If instead you used the best estimates of our caucuses' popular vote, Obama's lead would widen by about 66,000 votes, even without adjusting for our much lower caucus turnout.

If you intend to run for the Democratic party's presidential nomination based on your total popular vote, it seems to me it would be upfront to tell the voters in caucus states, such as Iowa, that you intend to use a measuring stick that effectively disenfranchises them.

It's funny -- I don't remember Senator Clinton ever saying anything like this to Iowa's voters.

SEAN said...

Clinton takes Indiana by a razor and Obama wins North Carolina by a huge margin. Nevertheless, Kentucky, Montana and West Virginia are still to come.

The Democratic race for nomination is still very much alive and most likely to be decided by superdelegates If you haven't done so yet, please write a message to each of your state's superdelegates at

If youre tired of waiting around for those super delegates to make a decision already, go to and push them to support Clinton or Obama

JackFord said...
That is really cool