Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's the Delegates, Stupid!

In my blog yesterday, I pointed out how Mitt Romney leads among all Republican Presidential candidates for total votes, delegates, states won, and money raised. When I wrote my blog, however, it was before all the votes had fully been counted and the delegate estimates were still in flux. At that time, I reported that Romeny had won 12 delegates and McCain 9. However, now that the dust has settled and the estimates more firmed up, it turns out that Romney's blow out win in Michigan is a lot more sizable. As it stands now, Romney won 24 delegates, McCain only won 5, and Huckabee 1. (I went back and updated the count in yesterday's blog.)

Given this new data, here is the delegate count currently:

This is HUGE and gives Romney a massive lead in delegates. Romney now has more delegates than all the other candidates combined!

Let's see what this means for Romney, going into Super Tuesday, EVEN IF HE LOSES Nevada, South Carolina, and/or Florida.

Let's look at the current polls (most of which have not yet taken into account any "bump" from Romney's MI win), as well as the delegates up for grab in these three states before Super Tuesday:

Nevada - 34 delegates

If you take the last four polls as of today, average them together, it looks like this:

Romney - 32%, Giuliani - 25%, Huckabee - 23%, McCain - 20%

If we allocate delegates accordingly: Romney gets 11, Giuliani gets 9, Huckabee gets 8, and McCain gets 7.

South Carolina - 24 delegates

Using a similar approach for South Carolina, it breaks down like this: McCain gets 8, Huckabee gets 7, Romney gets 5, and Thompson gets 3.

Florida - 57 (winner takes all)

Florida is a winner-take-all state, so, let's assume the current leader there, Giuliani, wins and gets all 57 delegates.

If we assume the above, the total delegate count would look like this, after taking where we are today and adding these three states:

Romney - 70
Giuliani - 67
Huckabee - 37
McCain - 30
Thompson - 9
Paul - 2

Now, these assumptions will certainly be in flux. As I mentioned, most of the poll numbers I used were taken before Romney's strong win in Michigan. It's likely he'll do much better in all three of these sates. (I predict Romney will win Nevada and come in first or second in SC and FL.) Also, many of the other candidates are running low on funds and some could certainly bow out along the way, which would shift votes and effect things. However, under ANY scenario, come Super Tuesday, Romney will have a bucket full of delegates and a pocket full of funds. If we go into Super Tuesday with only two or three candidates remaining, it's quite clear Romney will be one of them.

My message to the mainstream media: It's the delegates, stupid!



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Your article makes a good point but is bad in its math.

Aside from McCain's win in Florida's winner-take-all primary—thanks to his Pork-barrel Politics (I endorsed you, now you endorse me), Mitt's strategy is still being underestimated. Caucuses generally are attended be the more conservative Republicans, where Mitt wins best.

Caucuses, like those in Nevada, don’t decide the National delegates but just the county delegates. And most caucus states follow this general pattern.

These are not proportional representation states because by the time that state delegates are selected at county or congressional district conventions, as the case may be, there will not be many, if any, McCain supporters left.

This is because at the most local meeting (caucuses), if a clear majority supports one candidate, only those delegates will emerge to the district or county level. This prevents any other candidate from getting delegates and turns it basically into a winner-take-all state.

In Nevada, for example, the county conventions make it even more remote that any other candidate can win because they select delegates to the state convention at the county level.

Since Mitt already holds solid majorities in every county but one, virtually all the state delegates will be Mitt supporters. So at the state convention, these state delegates will overwhelmingly elect Nevada’s national delegates from Mitt supporters.

In other words, Mitt won all but 3 of Nevada’s delegates (the three being automatic delegates that go to party officials). If most caucus states follow some form of this process, it becomes very easy to see how Mitt could win it all. Ironically, the press has no clue.