Yeah, yeah, Barack Obama has swept the past 9 consecutive democratic primaries by my count, has grabbed the spotlight and has the edge in charisma. As a result, you’d think that he was ahead by a McCain-country mile.
Well, after his 9-state sweep, Obama is ahead by only 98 delegates with the March 4th democratic primary elections upcoming. (On March 4th, Democratic state primaries are held in Rhode Island, Vermont, Texas, and Ohio.) Because the Democratic primaries were not winner take all primaries, Hillary Clinton was apportioned delegates based on her percentage of votes, thus keeping the 2nd place finisher in the race. But, it is getting tight now.
What does Obama’s 98 delegate lead mean? Is he ahead by a McCain country-mile or is the Democratic race basically tied?
If you look at the number of state primaries remaining (14) as well as the number of delegates up for grabs (922), you’d think the race was about tied and that no matter the results of March 4th, Hillary Clinton would still live to fight another day.
But, on closer look, it appears Hillary Clinton has to win either Ohio or Texas to remain in the race.
Given the past 9 primaries, Obama has won by an average of 64%. Let’s say he sweeps the March 4th primaries (TX, OH, VT, RI) with the same vote percentage and let’s say Clinton takes the remaining 36%. Obama would win 237 out of 370 pledged delegates available while Clinton would capture 133, leaving them with 1,609 and 1,407 delegates, respectively. The math says that Obama would be ahead by 202 delegates, not counting superdelegates. A lead of 202 delegates with momentum could prove insurmountable given that the state primaries that follow, even though they represent the remaining 720 delegates, really do not have many delegates to give separately, other than Pennsylvania and Indiana.
If Clinton loses Texas and Ohio, she would have to literally shut out Obama in Pennsylvania and Indiana to come back which in all likelihood won’t happen given Obama’s would-be momentum and that we’d be in the homestretch of the primary race.
Remaining Democratic State Primaries:
|March 8th||Wyoming||12 (Caucus)|
|May 13th||West Virginia||28|