February 4, 2008
Guide to Über Tuesday for the Perplexed
I'll deal in depth only with the Republicans; the Democrats can go hang. I'm tired of looking up stuff, and I want to get this up before Über Tuesday's dead-dog party.
The Republican candidates each need at least 1,191 delegates to win the nomination. Currently (post-Maine):
- John McCain has 97, needs 1,094
- Mitt Romney has 92, needs 1,099
- Mike Huckabee has 29, needs 1,162
- Ron Paul has 6, needs a reality check
At stake on Über Tuesday for Republicans -- according to CNN -- are 1,020 delegates; but for me, the numbers don't quite add up (see below). I'll have to take their word for it. That means that no GOP candidate can end up with a majority of the delegates tomorrow, even if he were to win every possible delegate in every state. In theory, all four campaigns can stagger forward after tomorrow.
But in reality, unless Romney remains within striking distance of McCain, he will likely drop out within a week after Über Tuesday. (Rich Galen of Mullings fame predicts both Romney and Huckabee will drop out on Thursday.) Joke candidate Ron Paul has no intention of dropping out; he'll stay in the race until the cows come home to roost. Even after the convention, when the GOP nominee (who will not be Paul) is chosen, he'll probably find a friendly third party to nominate him, à la Ralph Nader.
There are 21 states participating in the Republican Über Tuesday contests (sayeth CNN and RCP); states in blue are caucuses; the rest (except for West Virginia) are primaries. West Virginia holds a "convention"... go figure:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticutt, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia (convention).
States where McCain leads:
(Name in parenthesis is currently in second place; number is the number of delegates at stake; number in parenthesis is the number of state delegates not decided by tomorrow's elections; boldface means a "winner take all" contest.)
- Alabama (Huckabee) 48 (-3);
- Arizona (Romney) 53 (-3);
- Connecticutt (Romney) 30 (-3);
- Illinois (Romney) 70 (-3, -10);
- Minnesota (Huckabee) 41 (-3);
- Missouri (Huckabee) 58;
- New Jersey (Romney) 52;
- New York (Romney) 101.
Total at stake: 453 - 25 = 428 delegates.
Most of these are big leads (double-digit); a couple of the leads are on the order of 5-6 points.
States where Romney leads:
(Name in parenthesis is currently in second place; number is the number of delegates at stake; number in parenthesis is the number of state delegates not decided by tomorrow's elections.)
- Colorado (McCain) 46 (-3);
- Massachusetts (McCain) 43 (-3).
Total at stake: 89 - 6 = 83 delegates.
States where McCain and Romney are tied within the margin of error:
(Number is the number of delegates at stake; number in parenthesis is the number of state delegates not decided by tomorrow's elections.)
- California 173 (-3);
- Georgia 72 (-3) (actually, Georgia is pretty much a three-way tie, as Huckabee is right on Romney's heels).
Total at stake: 245 - 6 = 239 delegates.
State where McCain and Huckabee are tied within the margin of error:
(Number is the number of delegates at stake.)
- Tennessee 55 (-3).
Total at stake: 55 - 3 = 52 delegates.
States where no polling is available through Real Clear Politics:
(See if you can guess what the numbers after each state represent...)
- Alaska 29 (-3);
- Arkansas 34 (-3);
- Delaware 18 (-3);
- Montana 25;
- North Dakota 26 (-3);
- Oklahoma 41 (-3);
- Utah 36;
- West Virginia 30 (-3, -9).
Total at stake: 239 - 27 = 212 delegates.
Total delegates = 1,081 - 67 = 1,014
As noted, something is funny about the delegate count: I get 1081 total delegates, minus 48 "unpledged GOP" (16 states each have 3 unpledged GOP delegate slots that are not determined by the primary or caucus), minus 10 unpledged statewide in Illinois, minus 9 delegates tied instead to a May 13 primary in West Virgina, actually seems to equal 1014 delegates at stake tomorrow. But CNN insists it's really 1020. I have no idea how to resolve this discrepency.
John Hinderaker over at Power Line predicts that John McCain will win between 201 and 360 delegates from the winner-take-all states; Romney is assured only Utah for 36 in this scenario. But I don't know where he gets those numbers: McCain is ahead by about 2-1 in Connecticutt, New York, and New Jersey; add in Arizona, and McCain already has 236 (230, not counting the unpledgeds), a lot more than John's floor of 201. I'm not sure what combination of states yields John's lowball prediction. (And according to RCP, all the winner-take-alls added together except for Utah yields a total of 337 for McCain -- or 328, not counting undeclareds not decided by tomorrow's contests -- not 360.)
In the proportionally allocated states, he predicts McCain takes 219, with 169 for Romney; and in the weirdo states that have caucuses, conventions (hello, West Virginia!), or for which there is inadequate polling data, he predicts McCain racks up 127 to Romney's 60. I'm not going to go through those individually, because some will go to Huckabee (John predicts 77), and it's impossible for me to guess how John allocated the states. I will note that he assumes a total of 1,048 delegates will be decided tomorrow, whereas CNN says only 1,020; if this be treason, then make the most of it.
Thus, John Hinderaker predicts a worst-case scenario on Wednesday of John McCain with 803 delegates, compared to Romney's 357.
(Actually, John says 339 for Romney; but he's taking his current delegate count from Hugh Hewitt's chart at the top of his blog, which shows Mitt Romney with 74 delegates. John hasn't yet noticed that a disspirited Hewitt has neglected to update the chart to include delegates from the Maine caucuses, which Romney won; Romney actually has 92 delegates, according to CNN.)
If we also correct for the total number of winner-take-all delegates according to RCP, I get a worst case here of 771 for McCain, 357 for Romney.
The best-case scenario, where the leaners among the winner-take-all states (Delaware, Missouri, and Montana -- should be 98 delegates, not 159) go to Romney, would have the Wednesday totals at 673 for McCain, 455 for Romney. Bear in mind that Romney is actually number three in Missouri; Huckabee is number two.
Realistically, the actual delegate count will probably be in between worst and best, somewhat weighted towards McCain.
There are 22 states participating in the Democratic Über Tuesday contests; states in blue are caucuses; the rest are primaries:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticutt, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah.
I'm not going to go through who's ahead in each state; it's far too much work, and they're much closer than the GOP candidates... so any prediction for the Democrats is more likely to explode on election day.
Expect John McCain to come out of Über Tuesday anywhere from a high of 771 to 357 ahead of Mitt Romney to a low of 673 to 455 ahead, with Mike Huckabee bringing up a very distant and dismal third. Note that, if John's macro prediction comes true, then even if Huckabee won absolutely no delegates tomorrow, and all 77 that John assigns him went to Romney instead -- then McCain would still be ahead of Romney, this time by anywhere from a high of 771 to 434 to a low of 673 to 532. So Huckabee or no Huckabee, McCain is going to have a strong lead in the delegate count after tomorrow's spate of 21 primary and caucus contests.
The only thing that might turn this around in the future is if Huckabee actually gets out of the race, and if his voters then mostly switch to Romney... which proposition is itself doubtful, unless Romney can find a way to appeal to the evangelical vote -- which so far he hasn't done.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 4, 2008, at the time of 5:28 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/2779
The following hissed in response by: Watchman
Hewitt probably is right not to count Maine for Romney yet, at least according to Geraghty. By the Maine GOP rules he cites, all of the delegates must go to the convention as unpledged, regardless of who wins the state.
The above hissed in response by: Watchman at February 4, 2008 10:02 PM
The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael
After looking at all the confusion of the various state with a convention, states with primaries and states with caucuses... I end up looking upon them wistfully, yearning for the simplicity of their systems. For lo, I live in Washington State.
We have a Republican Caucus on February 9th. AND... we then have a Republican Primary on the 19th! Half of our delegates get chosen at each.
I intend on voting legally both early AND as often as I can. Granted, that's only twice... but if our 'leaders' here are going to get weird, I'll be weird with them.
My basic message: Don't complain about your system until you understand exactly how stupid it has gotten elsewhere. *sigh*
The following hissed in response by: hunter
Thank you for your rational approach on this.
The real question is:
after the well poisoning by Hugh, et al, can whoever becomes the nominee rally the party in time to build the coalition to win in November?
The nihilism of talk radio and many in the blogosphere makes me very doubtful on this.
There are people who claim to be Conservative who would rather the nation suffer defeat in a serious war than elect someone they do not like. The have the hubris to think that we can just skip through 4 years of radical lefties like Hillary or Obama and then pick up where we started with America properly chastened to become the proper "Conservatives" we now define as acceptable.
I find this sort of magical thinking ignorant, unpatriotic and ineffective.
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
Huck will be out by Thursday. Romney may soldier on for a bit (looking for that VP slot, as it Huck), but McCain has it wrapped up.
The Dems will fight on till the convention. So will Ron Paul, but no one will care.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
Romney will use his CPAC speech to retire from the race, endorse McCain, and do what McCain has not been able to do: unite the party. Hucklebuck's speech on the last day will be to an empty room.
My bet is that McCain is trying to choose between Pawlenty and Crist for Veep, but that's a decision for some time down the road.
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