Karl-Thomas Musselman analyzes polling out of Texas on a Senate District by Senate District basis (which is a little imprecise) and comes to a startling conclusion. Even with a 49%-41% state-wide lead, Hillary Clinton is poised to come out of Texas with a net loss of six delegates. At least, she stands to lose six delegates in the primary portion of the Texas contest. Texas will also conduct a caucus on the same day as the primary, and that will be factored into the final allocation of delegates. Musselman’s conclusion is based on delegate splits. In regions where Clinton is polling ahead, there are very few districts with an odd number of delegates available, and the opposite is true in regions where Obama is leading.

Musselman makes a few other interesting observations. There is an interesting split between voters that are planning to vote early (Obama 46% Clinton 42%) and those that plan to wait until election day to cast their vote (Clinton 51% Obama 40%). This odd distinction can probably be explained by differential enthusiasm. Obama voters are more motivated, even if there are less of them. Yet, that greater motivation that has served Obama so well in caucus states could wind up hurting Obama in Texas’ caucus. Why?

The caucuses begin at 7:15pm, after the primary vote is over. People that voted early may be less inclined to show up than people that voted the same day. (To learn more about the complex system in Texas, go here and here).

Overall, Clinton’s problem is that she needs to get 62.5% of the vote in her areas to get extra delegates, while Obama has a lot of opportunities to pick up delegates with a bare plurality of the vote in his areas (primarily Austin, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Houston). I don’t know if Clinton can do better in the caucus portion, but there are some troubling signs. The Obama campaign is more motivated and has a better ground game.

Obama is going to build an initial lead in early voting, unlike in California where early voting strongly favored Clinton. And as long as he can keep it close in Hillary’s areas, he will come away with a delegate lead in the primary portion. Recent history suggests that he’ll do better in the caucus portion, too. Since this is the lay of the land with Obama polling behind by 8 points, imagine the situation if he narrows the gap?

Hillary might win Texas, but her chances of significantly narrowing Obama’s lead in pledged delegates is not good. Perhaps Ohio will offer more fertile ground.

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