The Super Delegate Wiki-Watchdog: Find Out What's Really Happening in '08 Race

A quick tour around the blogs and media sites this morning is confirming that Clinton and Obama are still neck and neck in the pledged delegates race after yesterday's 24 primaries and caucuses. This means the prediction of a "brokered convention of the worst sort" is likely what we've got coming down the pike. And it also brings up that murky business of the super-delegates, those "party professionals" who have the power to legitimize the will of rank-and-file voters, or to flout it.

Chris Bowers warned Monday that unless either Clinton or Obama drop out of the nomination race, it's pretty much a given that super-delegates are going to pick our Democratic nominee.


"With Michigan and Florida removed from the equation, 2,025 delegates are required to win the nomination, and there are 3,253 pledged delegates.
To date, four states with a combined 137 pledged delegates have held nominating contests.
Currently, Barack Obama is projected with 63 pledged delegates, and Hillary Clinton is projected with 48 (source).
On Super Tuesday, 22 states and a couple territories with a combined 1,688 pledged delegates will hold nominating contests.
From this point, quick math shows that after Super Tuesday, only 1,428 pledged delegates will still be available. Now, here is where the problem shows up. According to current polling averages, the largest possible victory for either candidate on Super Tuesday will be Clinton 889 pledged delegates, to 799 pledged delegates for Obama. (In all likelihood, the winning margin will be lower than this, but using these numbers helps emphasize the seriousness of the situation.) As such, the largest possible pledged delegate margin Clinton can have after Super Tuesday is 937 to 862. (While it is possible Obama will lead in pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, it does not currently seem possible for Obama to have a larger lead than 75). That leaves Clinton 1,088 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination, with only 1,428 pledged delegates remaining. Thus, in order to win the nomination without the aid of super delegates, in her best-case scenario after Super Tuesday, Clinton would need to win 76.2% of all remaining pledged delegates. Given our proportional delegate system, there is simply no way that is going to happen unless Obama drops out.

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