Democratic Primary Delegate Count of Terror
February 6, 2008 3:33 PM   Subscribe

The CNN delegate count says Clinton: 818, Obama: 730, including estimated superdelegates. The MSNBC delegate count says Clinton: 834, Obama: 838, seemingly NOT including estimated superdelegates. What's up with that?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 to Law & Government (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The CNN count only includes *pledged* superdelegates, of which there are none currently, so you can take that out of the equation. It also seems to exclude New Mexico, which they haven't called yet but MSNBC has. That would bring Hillary's total to about 831 or so. I don't know what they're missing for Obama.

CNN's election coverage has been horrible. I'm all MSNBC now.
posted by unSane at 3:52 PM on February 6, 2008

Best answer: The on-air count that I just viewed on CNN had Clinton over 1100 and Obama in the 900's. While watching, the count changed putting Obama over 1000 and Clinton below 1100. Not sure if they were including superdelegates or not. I think that perhaps is wary of attributing too many or not enough delegates while vote counts are still coming in from places like New Mexico. That is to say partly that the numbers are still changing and CNN's website isn't up to even their on-air projections.
posted by inconsequentialist at 3:53 PM on February 6, 2008

Response by poster: The CNN count only includes *pledged* superdelegates, of which there are none currently

What do we mean by "pledged" here? I thought that superdelegates were unpledged delegates who just give their opinion to pollsters and can change their mind at any time.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:59 PM on February 6, 2008

Another data point--the AP count at right now is Clinton: 1,000; Obama, 902. They have a short explanation of their methodology.
posted by Prospero at 4:00 PM on February 6, 2008

Also: How the New York Times Counts Delegates.
posted by Prospero at 4:11 PM on February 6, 2008

Best answer: Here's a fine breakdown from Talking Points Memo of how and why the different networks tally the delegates differently.
posted by unSane at 4:26 PM on February 6, 2008

Superdelegates can pledge. They just generally don't.
posted by unSane at 4:27 PM on February 6, 2008

Best answer: The delegate allocation strategies are very arcane, and every news outfit wants to put out the numbers before the official totals are released in each state. Often the party has two weeks to provide the official numbers! News can't wait that long. So, every different count comes up with a different number.

I would suggest to compare specific states. MSNBC in CA is 202 to 163 while has it at 191 to 150, a 20 delegate swing. (CNN only has about 50 delegates allocated in the state breakdown for CA, for some reason.)
posted by smackfu at 4:32 PM on February 6, 2008

From Slate: Learn To Count and Delegate Count Chaos.

I think a big part of the problem has to do with who is including the super delegates.

"The problem with including superdelegates is that they can change their mind whenever they want. Unless the race goes all the way to the DNC—the “brokered convention” scenario Hillary’s camp occasionally floats—the the 800 or so superdelegates will back whoever wins the actual election. If the race is close, however—and especially if the dispute over Florida and Michigan's delegates continues—then the superdelegates could influence who wins the nomination. The division of pledged delegates and superdelegates reflects a tension within the party over how much power to put in the hands of voters vs. how much to vest in party leaders. Historically that balance of power has been adjusted whenever it’s perceived to shift too far in one direction (think 1968) or another (think 1972). If the race comes down to superdelegates this year, the battle could well produce another overhaul of the system."

I believe Obama may not be counting the super delegates and Clinton is.
posted by hazyspring at 4:33 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Democratic Convention Watch has a state by state breakdown (included delegates that they aren't assigning yet), as well as a pledged and unpledged SuperDelegate page. I don't love the design, but there's a lot of information.
posted by OmieWise at 5:31 AM on February 7, 2008

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