Several of the super delegates give as their reason for making their decision that their Congressional district or state went for one of the candidates. That’s probably as good as any other reason for a super delegate to decide whom to vote for. I suppose whether they thought Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator Barack Obama would make a better president would be another. (OK, that would be an even better reason.) Or they could determine their vote based on who comes to the convention with the most delegates earned in primaries and caucuses. Or who got the most total votes in those primaries and caucuses.
Back on February 16th, a reader named Nick P. asked an interesting question: “If all superdelegates of a state were added to the column of the candidate who won that state, what would be the count for Obama and Hillary today?”
That struck me as an interesting question. So I put together a spreadsheet showing what the results would be if superdelegates voted for whomever won their state. (Superdelegates Voting by State Winner). Before we get to the results, there’s some significant caveats.
First, the super delegate count by state came from the Washington Post’s web site. Yet their total doesn’t add up to the 796 that is always cited — or at least they don’t add up based on how I copied them into the spreadsheet. I come up with 771. Second, some of the superdelegates split a vote. For example, American Somoa has six superdelegates, but those six only have three votes between them. The spreadsheet reflects this, but I’m not sure I caught all the required adjustments. Third, I may have made some typos when entering the results, misidentifying the winner.
You’ll also notice I haven’t given anyone votes from Florida or Michigan. Unless there’s a do-over, my belief is those delegates should not be seated — or they should be required to split their votes 50-50 between Senators Clinton and Obama. In any event, it is ridiculous to suggest that the Democratic primaries held in those states should count. They shouldn’t.
Finally, I gave all of Texas’ superdelegates to Senator Clinton based on her victory in the primary and completely discounted the caucus results.
So, enough of the caveats, what’s the results? Based on the results through March 6th, Senator Obama would have 317 super delegate votes and Senator Clinton 272. This compares to the 199 superdelegates the CNN web site reports as committed to Senator Obama and the 238 the site has determined are committed to Senator Clinton.
When added to the delegates pledged to the candidates as a result of the primaries and caucuses, Senator Obama would have 1,638 delegates (compared to the 1,520 credited to him by CNN) and Senator Clinton would have 1,458 (as opposed to CNN’s estimate of 1,424).
The answer to Nick’s question then is, Senator Obama would greatly benefit from allocating superdelegates in this manner. Of course, it will never happen. Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry have both committed to Senator Obama. They’re not about to switch their votes because Senator Clinton carried their state.
Which makes this analysis meaningless. Interesting, but meaningless. I hope you enjoyed it anyway.