Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When a win is really a tie

By Edward Copeland

Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton beat Barack Obama in the New Hampshire primary, but lost in most of the media blather is something everyone should remember, particularly after the 2000 general election: popular vote totals don't always mean a win. In fact, Obama and Hillary both got 9 delegates out of New Hampshire:

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. But this is no more relevant to the outcome of the contest than Al Gore taking the national popular vote in the 2000 elections. The Democratic nominee will be decided on the basis of who can claim the most delegates at the national party convention, not by the popular vote. By that measure, primary elections in New Hampshire resulted in a tie between Clinton and Barack Obama.

Clinton's popular-vote margin over Obama was razor-thin -- fewer than 8,000 votes, or 3%, with 96% of precincts reporting. As a result, each will come away from New Hampshire with the pledges of 9 delegates. John Edwards, finishing in a distant third place, will take the remaining 4. A look at the national scorecard finds Obama barely in the lead with 25 delegates to Clinton's 24.

Of course, as has been mentioned in other posts here, this a long process and we've got a long way to go, not even factoring the wishy-washy votes that will be cast by "superdelegates," the modern version of the old smoke-filled backrooms that decided a party's nominee:

There's more. The real winner in New Hampshire can't be declared until you factor in superdelegates. These are party leaders who are allowed to vote at the convention, but may make their own choices at any time, and without regard to the popular vote results. New Hampshire has 8 superdelegates; of these, 2 have declared their support for Clinton, 3 for Obama, and 3 are undeclared. When all of the declared superdelegates in the nation are tallied, Clinton roars into
the lead with 183 total delegates to Obama's 78.

Stay tuned. This ain't over yet.

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