Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Again, like most of the other primaries, Pennsylvania apportions their delegates by both Congressional district and by state-wide percentages.  There will be 161 delegates determined, in some way, by the primary contest on April 22nd.  The largest group, 103 delegates, will be determined by vote totals in each of the 19 congressional districts of Pennsylvania.  There will be another 35 delegates that will be determined strictly by the state-wide vote on April 22nd.  Finally, there will be 20 pledged elected officials (PLEO's) that will also be determined by the state-wide vote and 3 unpledged add-ons split 2-1 depending on the primary vote.

Obviously, the big portion of the delegates will be determined by the vote breakdown in each of these 19 districts.  Again, much like Texas, the delegate amounts in each district is determined by the Democratic turnout in previous elections.  They range from a low of 3 delegates in the solidly Republican 9th district to a high of 9 delegates in the 2nd district (Chaka Fattah's district).  Here is the list of delegates per Congressional district.

1st    Robert Brady (D)          7   
2nd    Chaka Fattah (D)         9   
3rd    Phil English (R)            5   
4th    Jason Altmire (D)          5   
5th    John Peterson (R)        4   
6th    Jim Gerlach (R)               6   
7th    Joe Sestak (D)                7   
8th    Patrick Murphy (D)         7   
9th    Bill Shuster (R)             3   
10th    Chris Carney (D)        4   
11th    Paul Kanjorski (D)       5   
12th    John Murtha (D)            5   
13th    Allyson Schwartz (D)    7   
14th    Mike Doyle (D)             7   
15th    Charlie Dent (R)         5   
16th    Joe Pitts (R)                4   
17th    Tim Holden (D)             4   
18th    Tim Murphy (R)            5   
19th    Todd Platts (R)            4

Before we get to the Congressional district breakdown, let's tackle the other delegates since they all correspond to the raw popular vote in the primary.  For the sake of argument, let's say that Clinton wins 58% to 42%.  This is not far off her Ohio results and the most recent SUSA poll had it at 55% - 39%  I simply divided the remaining 6% to each evenly.  Now we can argue whether this is her high water mark or not, but I'll go with that split since that is the information we have now.  It is also probably the worst case scenario for Obama.

The delegate split for the 35 at large pledged delegates would be Clinton 20 - Obama 15.  The 20 PLEO's would split 12 - 8 in Clinton's favor.  The 3 unpledged add-ons would be Clinton 2-1.  That's a +10 for Clinton under this scenario.  Remember that if she even gets 1% less (57%), her PLEO split would go down to 11-9.  Also, if it goes down to 55% her at large advantage goes to 19 -16.  So even a couple percentage points could bring her from +10 to +6 very easily.

Now on to the Congressional district breakdowns.  As I mentioned above, the delegates allotted range from a low of 3 to a high of 9.  Let's first figure out what percentages are needed to gain a delegate in each of these instances.  First, the one district that has 3 delegates (9th CD) will be split 2-1 no matter what.  Next, the 4 delegate districts need to have someone get 62.5% or more of the vote to split 3-1.  Otherwise, it is an even split.  The 5 delegate districts will split 3-2 unless someone gets 70% or more.  In order for a 6 delegate district to split 4-2, someone will have to get 58.4% or higher.  To split 5-1, they would have to get 75% or more.  The 7 delegate districts will split 5-2 only if someone gets between 64.4% and 78.5% of the vote.  If they get 78.65 or higher, it is a 6-1 split.  Although Pennsylvania doesn't have an 8 delegate district, the percentages would go this way.  In order to get a 5-3 split, you need 56.25% - 68.74%, 6-2 split will be between 68.75% and 81.24%.  The 7-1 split would need 81.25% or more.  For the one 9 delegate district (2nd CD), the breakdown is as follows:  5-4 unless someone gets between 61.1% to 72.1%.  That would be a 6-3 split.  A 7-2 split is between 72.2% and 83.2%.  A 8-1 split would require 83.3% or more.

1st District - Robert Brady (D):  This is one of only 2 CD's where African-Americans outnumber Whites.  While it is possible that Obama could get to the 64.4% in order to get the 5-2 split, I'm keeping it at 4-3 in Obama's favor.  Obama +1

2nd District - Chaka Fattah (D):  This is the other Congressional district that has more African-Americans than any other group.  It is also the only one with a majority African-American population.  The 61.1% threshold should be easy and the 72.2% is not out of the question.  I'll put it at 6-3 Obama split, but 7-2 is still possible.  Obama +3

3rd District - Phil English (R):  This N.W. Pennsylvania area is much like Ohio.  While it will definitely be Clinton country, I don't see any way she can get to 70% of the vote here.  A comfortable Clinton win, but still only 3-2 Clinton.  Clinton +1

4th District - Jason Altmire (D):  Again, this Pittsburgh suburban district is much like Ohio.  While it will probably be closer than the 3rd district, I'm chalking it up as another Clinton win 3-2.  Clinton +1

5th District - John Peterson (R):  This north central PA district which includes the campus of Penn State may deliver a narrow Obama win, it won't matter in terms of delegates in this 4 delegate district 2-2.  Delegate Split

6th District - Jim Gerlach (R):  This is the first of the Philadelphia suburban districts so far.  While I'm not sure if it favors Clinton or Obama more, it is probably one that will not give either the 58.4% need for a 4-2 split.  Whomever does well here could be a signal of how this race is going in general.  Right now I put it at 3-3, but it could go 4-2 either way.  Delegate split

7th District - Joe Sestak (D):  Another suburban Philadelphia district.  Sestak has endorsed Clinton and I expect that she will win here, but probably narrowly.  Two smaller universities, Widener and Cheyney, which should go for Obama are in this district.  She will not get to the 64.3% necessary for a 5-2 split.  I'll give this to Clinton 4-3.  Clinton +1

8th District - Patrick Murphy (D):  Murphy is one of two Democratic congressmen in Pennsylvania who have endorsed Obama.  I expect that he will work hard for Obama in his district and deliver it for him.  Like the 7th district, however, I don't think he'll get to that 64% mark to get the 5-2 split.  Obama 4-3.  Obama +1

9th District - Bill Shuster (R):  This Republican district in south central PA is part of the infamous Carville saying "Alabama in the middle" part of Pennsylvania.  I think it a fairly safe district for Clinton.  Clinton 2-1.  Clinton +1

10th District - Chris Carney (D):  This N.E. PA district next to New York and New Jersey seems to be a likely Clinton area as many people here work in New York City.  Although it may still be hard to get to that 62.5%, this seems to be the most likely place she could do it.  2-2 split although it could go 3-1 Clinton.  Delegate Split

11th District - Paul Kanjorski (D):  Another N.E. Pennsylvania district.  Kanjorski is one of the 3 Pennsylvania congressmen to endorse Clinton.  This seems to be another district that fits Clinton's demographics.  She will get nowhere near the 70% needed for a 4-1 split.  Clinton 3-2.  Clinton +1

12th District - Jack Murtha (D):  This southwestern PA district is Appalachia country.  It is isolated and the Democrats there are of the conservative variety.  Definitely a Clinton district, probably another 3-2 split, but it is possible she could get over 70% of the vote here so a 4-1 split is possible.  Clinton 3-2.  Clinton +1

13th District - Allyson Schwartz (D):  Back to the Philadelphia suburbs here.  Rep. Schwartz is another representative who has already endorsed Clinton.  This district could go either way, but with Schwartz's support I'm putting it in Clinton's column.  Clinton 4-3.  Clinton +1

14th District - Mike Doyle (D):  This district encompasses all of Pittsburgh and some of its southeast suburbs.  Besides districts 1 and 2, it has the highest percentage (23%) of African-Americans in the state.  This should be an Obama district with the outside possibility of a 5-2 split.  Right now, I'd have to put it at Obama 4-3.  Obama +1

15th District - Charlie Dent (R):  This takes up much of the Lehigh Valley in northeast Pennsylvania.  This will be a battleground area between the two campaigns.  Assuming a 15 point Clinton win statewide, I'd have to give this to Clinton, but if the race gets closer, this could swing to Obama.  Clinton 3-2.  Clinton +1

16th District - Joe Pitts (R):  This is the rural/exurban area of southeast Pennsylvania.  Of the remaining 4 delegate districts, this one along with the 17th and 19th, it is the most likely to give Clinton a 3-1 split.  While it should give her a comfortable win, I'm not sure she'll be able to hit that 62.5% threshold.  Clinton 2-2 with an outside shot at 3-1.  Delegate Split

17th District - Tim Holden (D):  The state capital, Harrisburg, is in this district.  This is probably Obama's best district outside the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas to give him a win.  Unfortunately for him, this is another 4 delegate district so it will be split 2-2.  Delegate Split

18th District - Tim Murphy (R):  This is a suburban Pittsburgh district.  It should be a close race, but the demographics favor Clinton in this district.  There's no way anyone gets close to 70% for the 4-1 split.  Clinton 3-2.  Clinton +1

19th District - Todd Platts (R):  The last congressional district.  This district was a primarily rural district with the exception of York, but with the urban sprawl of Washington and Baltimore, it is now exurban territory.  Along with the 17th, this is another shot for Obama to win, but since it is a 4 delegate district it won't matter.  Delegate Split

The end result of the congressional delegate distribution, Clinton 53 to Obama 50.  Even a best case scenario for Clinton would get her to 57-46 with one more delegate each in CDs 6, 10, 12 and 16.  So even with the best possible scenario, she would gain 21 delegates, but more likely a gain of under 10 delegates.  For instance, a 55% - 45% win would net her all of 9 delegates.

For those of you wondering about the popular vote total and whether a Clinton win would eat into Obama's popular vote lead, it's hard to know.  First, we don't know what the turnout will be.  The past couple presidential primaries in Pennsylvania were done after the nomination was wrapped up and the total turnout was around 800,000.  With the race now, I can see it easily doubling to 1,500,000, maybe even 2,000,000.  Let's say she wins 55 - 45, with 1,500,000 total voters, she would net 150,000 votes.  A turnout of 2,000,000 would net here 200,000.  With Obama's victory in Mississippi netting him nearly 100,000 votes, she would gain from 50,000 to 100,000 votes.

Of course if there are people out there from Pennsylvania that believe I'm wrong in these predictions or turnout numbers, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

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



Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Wow, that's a lot of work but maybe it's too early to make such predictions.  there's about 85 news cycles between now and then...

by inFlorida 2008-03-12 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Agreed.  This is a first pass and to be honest probably the best scenario for Clinton.  It's probably not going to get any better for her than it is now.

by minvis 2008-03-12 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

if the current trend that 70% of white democrats vote for hillary it might even be 60-40 with a pluraty of 350'000 votes

by awayer 2008-03-12 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Great work, thanks! Keep us updated!

by marcotom 2008-03-12 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Wow. I live in the 11th CD and have been working in PA politics for six years and I think you hit the nail right on the head with your analysis. I think the race will tighten up considerably, and the ten or so colleges and universities in the 11th CD could make the Obama vote higher.

If you don't mind, I'm going to cross post this on

by dannybauder 2008-03-12 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

That would be great.  And please let me know if there are places were I am way off.

by minvis 2008-03-12 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Your off by huge margins. Polling estimates say she will gain between 50 and 70 delegates in Pennsylvania. She is leading by huge margins in every area of Pennsylvania. Your 10 delegate estimation is a joke.

by steve468 2008-03-12 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Explain how she could gain 70 delegates out a state with around 150, even if she were to hit 70% she wouldn't gain 70 net.

by Socraticsilence 2008-03-12 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

50 to 70 delegates?  No way.  Even if she cleaned up state-wide winning 2-1, it would probably be no more than a 30 delegate net.

by minvis 2008-03-12 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

Nice Analysis - HRC 91- BHO 69 best case

Hope to revisit this in 6 weeks :)

by indus 2008-03-12 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Pennsylvania Delegate Predictions

my prediction: she will WIN 65-35 % and will gain 30 more delegates than Obama

by engels 2008-03-12 03:47PM | 0 recs


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