The New Hampshire Primaries: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

There’s a lot of huffing and puffing about surges, comebacks, and so on but looking at the actual results of the primaries and caucuses to date tells a somewhat different story than the one you may be reading.


State Clinton Edwards Obama
Iowa 15 14 16
New Hampshire 9 4 9
Sub-total 24 18 25
Superdelegates 177 40 68
Total 201 58 93


State Huckabee McCain Romney
Iowa 0 0 0
Wyoming 0 0 8
New Hampshire 1 7 4
Total 1 7 12

I’ve only included the top three candidates from either party.

On the Democratic side in terms of actual elected delegates as things currently stand it’s a virtual tie between Sens. Obama and Clinton with Sen. Edwards trailing. It’s hard for me to see which state Edwards wins between now and Feb 5 to pick up the head of steam he desperately needs to secure the nomination. Now look at the “Totals” line. That’s elected delegates plus “superdelegates”. The superdelegate system is what the DNC put into place in 1972 to prevent that from ever happening again. It’s had the desired effect, that of blunting insurgency candidacies while providing an appearance of democracy, but it’s also had the undesireable secondary effect of convincing Democrats that establishment candidates are a lot more popular than they actually are. The hazards of the superdelegate strategy for Hillary Clinton are analyzed here at RealClearPolitics.

According to the exit polls none of Edwards’s presumed constituencies e.g. labor unions, the poor, turned out for him—they voted for Hillary Clinton instead. The long and short is that Edwards is out as an effective force, the wind is at Obama’s back, and the candidacy is still Hillary Clinton’s to lose but I think she’ll miss those Michigan and Florida delegates. I expect both Obama and Clinton to keep doing what’s worked for them so far. Expect more sincere expressions of feelings from Sen. Clinton.

On the Republican side note first that the Iowa caucuses elected no delegates. That will be done later at a party convention. Although he’s still nominally the frontrunner, Iowa and now New Hampshire have damaged Mitt Romney. He’s spent an enormous amount of time and money in those two states without coming up with a win in either state let alone the decisive victories he needed to propel his candidacy forward to Feb 5. He’s unlikely to get that decisive win in South Carolina where it will probably be a contest between Gov. Huckabee and Sen. McCain.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Democracy, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. James Joyner says:

    Good stuff, Dave.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    We aims to please.

  3. Tlaloc says:

    Bugger, now I have to look up this superdelegate business.

    Staying informed in a democracy is a pain in the %$#. Can’t we just have an all powerful benevolent mouse overlord?

    Hail Brain! Praise Brain!

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Can’t we just have an all powerful benevolent mouse overlord?

    What makes you think we don’t? If you scratch the “benevolent”, that is. Every four years when presidential primary season rolls around I begin to wonder if They Saved Hitler’s Brain isn’t a documentary.