Some notes on Pennsylvania

"My poll is better than your poll".

"No, you loser, everyone knows that the poll you're citing is conducted by having rodents run in a maze."

"Oh yeah? Well, you're a poopiehead!"

Such is the state of discussion about polls in the Pennsylvania primary, and, by and large, the primary itself.

Some observations. >>>

Far be it from me to get in the way, especially, of Clinton followers, still clinging to the belief that "Bittergate" will somehow drop a bomb on Obama's campaign, leaving them the victors by default. There have been a number of comparable incidents, all of which have failed to deliver the silver bullet the Clinton campaign seems to be praying for nightly. The available evidence suggests that this newest scandal, if one can call it that, is not the game-changer so ardently desired by some. Personally, I think this episode and Clinton's somewhat overwrought response will actually hurt her, but the evidence for that remains inconclusive.

So let's put that to the side for a moment and focus on polls and outcomes.

In terms of polls one week from balloting, Pollster.com has the race at Clinton 46.8%, Obama 42.7%. Notably, this trend average includes a time lag of two days, given that the last poll they include in their average is the ARG poll from the 13th, two days ago.

Here, take a look.

The available evidence presently suggests that Obama's momentum - see chart - has slowed or become flat in Pennsylvania. That's a conclusion underlined also by Pollster.com's discussion of the sensitivity of its trend estimator, well worth a read especially for non-professionals.

CQ Politics takes a look at the likely outcome by delegates, and that's where it gets really interesting.

One doesn't need great predictive powers to estimate how many delegates Clinton and Obama will win in most of Pennsylvania's 19 congressional districts. That's because the district delegates are awarded on a proportional basis, and each candidate's delegate allocation is rounded to the nearest whole number. That means the delegate allotments can be the same for a wide range of popular vote percentages.

Consider Pennsylvania's 5th District, which has four district delegates. The popular vote tally between Clinton and Obama should be close. But for the purposes of awarding district delegates, it doesn't really matter who wins a tight race because the winner would need to take more than 62.5 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania's 5th -- or in any other four-delegate district -- to earn a 3-1 delegate split. (Multiplying four by .625 equals 2.5, so a candidate who receives, say, 65 percent of the vote would receive a delegate share that would be subsequently rounded up to three). So if Clinton defeats Obama, 60 percent to 40 percent, the district delegates would split 2-2; if Obama defeats Clinton, 60 percent to 40 percent, a 2-2 split would also ensue.

In a five-delegate district, a narrow win would yield a 3-2 delegate advantage. A 70 percent super-majority would be needed to win four out of five. For this reason, it's highly likely that each of the five Pennsylvania districts that award five district delegates will yield 3-2 splits.

The end result?

Clinton will, under a 55%-45% win, gain a net of ten delegates, a deficit that Obama will likely make up in North Carolina, where he runs stronger than she does in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania, for all the heat and little light expended on it, will not save Hillary Clinton.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania Primary (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

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by MBNYC 2008-04-15 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Some notes on Pennsylvania

It will also not "save" Barack Obama.

SD's will be watching the exit polls from PA and if he does poorly with white males, he will have a problem.

At no point in history has a democrat won the nomination, but not won any of the large states (in BO's case he only won IL). He will have lost NY, CA, OH, TX, MA, NJ, FL, PA.

The SD's will need to see the final numbers of the popular vote to help make a decision.

At the end of the primary season if it shows that BO hasn't won a state since Feb (with primarily white voters) then there will be a problem for him among the SD's.

by nikkid 2008-04-15 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Some notes on Pennsylvania

Ah, it's the superdelegates are going to turn on Obama meme.

Well, listen to these superdelegates:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2008/04/14/AR2008041403057. html

Rep. Mike Doyle (D), an undecided superdelegate who represents Pittsburgh and surrounding towns in the Monongahela Valley, said yesterday that he was not particularly troubled by Obama's comments.

"I don't disagree with a lot of what he said. My dad was a mill worker. My grandfather was a steel mill worker, and when the steel industry collapsed, nobody's family was hurt more than mine," Doyle said. "It's not inaccurate to say a lot of politicians have come through these towns, made a lot of promises and failed to deliver. I thought he was spot-on when he said how people feel."

He added that Obama's unexpected endorsement yesterday by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney "carries a hell of a lot more weight" than the blowup over his comments about small-town residents.

Rep. David E. Price, an uncommitted Democrat from North Carolina, which holds its primary May 6, said his frustrations are with Clinton, for the potential damage she has inflicted.

"Senator Obama could have chosen better words, but it seems to me that he's stating the obvious," Price said. "People are feeling a great deal of economic stress, anxiety, and there is a certain amount of anger out there. . . . I think it's most unfortunate that opponents simply pounce, particularly opponents in his own party."

by politicsmatters 2008-04-15 06:38AM | 0 recs
In no case

has anyone who lost thirty plus states secured the nomination, either.

And Obama doesn't need saving. He's winning.

by MBNYC 2008-04-15 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Some notes on Pennsylvania

"It will also not "save" Barack Obama"

He has done himself in. It's interesting that despite the incredible media saturation, with him outspending Clinton by 3 to 4:1, he couldn't sell more voters on his candidacy. Maybe that constant assault of bad, empty of any meaning campaign commercials eventually piss off so many tv viewers that they vote against him just because he bored them so much, inflicting silly commercials on them nonstop...

by 07rescue 2008-04-15 06:50AM | 0 recs
Yeah, he's doomed.

See you at his inauguration next January.

by MBNYC 2008-04-15 07:05AM | 0 recs
yes, yes

he is horrible. he can not win votes.

And yet Hillary still can not close theat pledged delegates lead.

by kindthoughts 2008-04-15 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Some notes on Pennsylvania

she has lost the black vote by 80%+. If she is seen as stealing the election by overturning legal and law abiding delegates we will lose the black vote and at best have a very low turnout in November. We cannot win the White House with that scenario, period.

by IowaMike 2008-04-15 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Some notes on Pennsylvania

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahahahahha... ......take logic classes? Wow, what a bunch of twisted bad logic.

I will leave you to your Kool-Aid.

by IowaMike 2008-04-15 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Some notes on Pennsylvania

But.. but he said "cling"!!!!

by rhetoricus 2008-04-15 06:30AM | 0 recs

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