Just so you know, there are 217 pledged delegates left to win in the Democratic nominating process. Let me use the somewhat imprecise Slate Delegate Calculator to give you and idea of how those delegates might break. Clinton has a 55-27 edge in Pollster.com’s poll of polls. Let’s round that up to a nice 64-36 outcome: Clinton 18-10, +8 pledged delegates. Clinton has a 62-28 advantage in Kentucky. Let’s round that up to a 67-33 outcome: Clinton 34-17, +17 Delegates. Recent polls in Oregon give Obama a lead of about 51-42. Let’s round that up to a 55-45 outcome: Obama 29-23, Obama +6. There one ancient poll from March that has Clinton winning Puerto Rico 50-37. Let’s round it up to 57-43: Clinton 31-24, Clinton +7. There’s another ancient poll from South Dakota that has Obama up 46-34. Let’s round it up to 56-44: Obama 8-7, Obama +1. There are no polls for Montana, so let’s just use the same 56-44 number that we used for South Dakota: Obama 9-7, Obama +2. Now let’s put it in an eye-popping chart.
5/13 West Virginia- Clinton +8
5/20 Kentucky- Clinton +17 (cumulative: Clinton +25)
5/20 Oregon- Obama +6 (cumulative: Clinton +19)
6/01 Puerto Rico- Clinton +7 (cumulative: Clinton +26)
6/03 South Dakota- Obama +1 (cumulative: Clinton +25)
6/03 Montana- Obama +2 (cumulative: Clinton +23)
Total of remaining delegates: Clinton 120, Obama 97
Total pledged delegates: Obama 1685, Clinton 1542 (net: Obama +143)
Now, I want you to look at what the Clinton campaign is spinning out today in the Washington Post:
Clinton advisers sketched out a scenario that they said could still deliver the nomination, though they acknowledged privately that the odds are long. It includes winning three of the final six primaries — West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico — and holding down Obama’s margin in Oregon or even winning the state. Obama is favored in Montana and South Dakota.
In the above scenario, I gave Clinton huge blowout wins in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico. (If she were actually to win Oregon she might improve her situation, but the delegate count won’t change much). And, even granting this very favorable scenario, she only nets 23 delegates and loses the overall pledged delegate count by 143 votes. The Clintons know this, which is why there is more to her plan.
Next, Clinton still hopes to win the battle over seating disputed delegations from Florida and Michigan with full voting rights. Keeping alive this fight, at a minimum, gives the Clinton team the opportunity to argue that Obama will need more than 2,025 delegates to win the nomination. The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee plans to meet May 31 to take up the two states’ challenges.
If all the Florida and Michigan delegates were seated and voting, the winning number would be 2,209. Clinton’s campaign wants superdelegates to accept its logic that Obama is further from the magic number than his campaign says.
Before I go on here, I want to point out that Obama’s projected 1685 pledged delegates added to his 260 committed superdelegates equals 1945 total delegates. That is mere 81 short of a majority of 2025.5. There are approximately 287 outstanding uncommitted superdelegates, so Obama only needs 30% of them to win a majority. Even if Clinton wins 200 out of the 287 remaining supers, she still loses by one vote.
But what if we add in Michigan and Florida, exactly the way that Clinton wants to add them: with full voting rights and, say, Obama getting the uncommitted vote in Michigan?
In that case:
In this new scenario, Obama would finish with 2055 delegates to Clinton’s 1995 delegates. With 287 remaining superdelegates, Obama would need 154 (45%) and Clinton would need 214 (55%)to gain the nomination.
Mind you, Clinton would only get these odds if she wins West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico in blowouts and she gets Florida and Michigan seated with no penalty, and she doesn’t lose any more net superdelegates between now and then. And even in this very rosy scenario, she’d still face the challenge of getting 55% of the supers to give her their endorsement. And that would be in spite of losing the pledged delegate count by 71 votes and losing 32 states and, quite likely, losing the popular vote. Although if Clinton wins the remaining contests by these margins (worth an approximate net of about 280,000 votes) and you give Clinton all her votes for Florida (net +295,000) and Michigan (net +328,000) and you deny Obama any votes from Michigan, she might just squeeze out a popular vote win of about 100,000 votes.