Superdelegates Jumping to Obama
Barack Obama has won eleven straight primaries and now the superdelegates are moving his way, too.
The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters — straight to Barack Obama. In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.
The result: He’s narrowing her once-commanding lead among these “superdelegates,” the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.
As Obama has reeled off 11 straight primary victories, some of the superdelegates are having second — or third — thoughts about their public commitments.
Take John Perez, a Californian who first endorsed John Edwards and then backed Clinton. Now, he says, he is undecided. “Given where the race is at right now, I think it’s very important for us to play a role around bringing the party together around the candidate that people have chosen, as opposed to advocating for our own choice,” he said in an interview.
Clinton still leads among superdelegates — 241 to 181, according to the AP survey. But her total is down two in the past two weeks, while Obama’s is up 25. Since the primaries started, at least three Clinton superdelegates have switched to Obama, including Rep. David Scott of Georgia, who changed his endorsement after Obama won 80 percent of the primary vote in Scott’s district. At least two other Clinton backers have switched to undecided.
Alex Knapp has been warning that this scenario could happen for some time (see Kryptoniting Superdelegates and Should Superdelegates be Counted Yet?). It’s not unreasonable, really, that elected politicians are going to start paying attention to what the voters want and hedge their bets.
The irony, though, is that Perez is precisely wrong. The whole point of superdelegates was to give party bigwigs some control over the process in case the regular Joes don’t get it right.