Is Democratic Race ‘Close’?
Mathew Shugart examines often-heard claims that the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is “close.” He looks at the pledge delegate counts and sees Obama leading Clinton 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent and concludes, “I will grant that this lead is not a ‘landslide’ by any means. But, quite independent of any realism (or lack thereof) of catch-up scenarios, is a difference of almost 5 percentage points ‘close’?”
Actually, I’d say it is, at least when the races isn’t (technically) over yet. Further, part of the game has been trying to figure out the baselines. That is, percentage of what?
RealClearPolitics has added nearly 100 pledged delegates to the count since Shugart’s calculations yesterday. That brings it to 50.8 to 46.0 (1654/3253 to 1498/3253). That closes the gap slightly. And RCP assigns 9 pledged delegates from John Edwards to Obama. If those are excluded, which seems reasonable in terms of a first ballot if “pledged” means anything, then it’s even narrower (50.7 to 46.2).
If you add in the unpledged “superdelegates,” though, you get another set of numbers. RCP shows Obama with 307 and Clinton with 279. If you add them in and keep the Edwards delegates out, then it gets even closer, 51.6 to 47.7, a gap of 4 points.
Another way of looking at the same data is that Clinton has 90.9 percent the delegates Obama has. That’s pretty close, no? Especially in context of a race that so many have been saying she had a duty to withdraw from weeks ago.
Now, if we add in Florida and Michigan . . . .
Ultimately, though, it’s not the actual closeness of the race that matters but the perception of it. A month ago, the press played along with the idea that Clinton could overtake Obama, despite it being unlikely. She’s closed the gap substantially since then but, alas, not enough. Even though neither is likely to have enough delegates wrapped up to win going into the convention, the near-universal sentiment is that he is the winner and is owed the nomination. Absent a scandal of monumental proportions, I can’t see how Clinton overturns that.
via Steven Taylor