Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Obama Inches Closer To The Nomination

Although Hillary had her expected day in Pennsylvania (with the margin predicted by the Curmudgeon), the inexorable delegate math still points heavily to Obama.

In the all important delegate count, Hillary shaved 15 off Obama's lead, which now stands at 127 (in the count, which we use). But Obama got himself 63 delegates closer to clinching the nomination, reducing his magic number to 312.

As the remaining contests wind down, Obama will need to sway fewer and fewer superdelegates to get himself over the top, whereas Hillary will have to win over something like 75% of those who haven't yet committed.

Here's the math. There are 408 pledged delegates yet to be selected. They will be allocated over the next six weeks in the following order (numbers in parentheses are unpledged delegates available in each remaining contest):

Guam (4)

Indiana (72)

North Carolina (115)

West Virginia (28)


Oregon (52)

Puerto Rico (55)

Montana (16)

South Dakota (15)

So far, neither Hillary nor Obama has been able to produce much of an "upset," i.e., winning a state that demographically favored the other. Furthermore, with the Democratic Party's proportional delegate allocation rules, neither candidate is going to run away with the rest of the delegates.

Obama should win NC, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota; Hillary should win W.Va., Kentucky, and Puerto Rico; and Indiana is a toss-up. So they're likely to roughly split the remaining delegates evenly. If that happens, Obama needs just 108 more of the roughly 300 remaining uncommitted super-D's. But Hillary would need 235 of them. It's not at all clear how she'd persuade that many superdelegates to go her way.

At this point, Hillary really does need a miracle. Money talks, and that's what the money is saying these days as well--Obama is continuing to raise record amounts, while Hillary's campaign is severely flagging on the financial front.

So, while Hillary's Pennsylvania victory earned her the right to continue her quest, the odds become longer every day. We don't think she should quit--let the voters in the remaining states have their say. But she should think twice about going negative. It's one thing to have fought the good fight and lost; it's another to have fought a nasty fight and cost the party the White House in November.

Please Hillary, go out on a high note.

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