The Pennsylvania New MathHillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary yesterday by 10 points, 55-45%. It wasn't the 12-15 point victory that I had predicted here a few days ago, but the overall vote totals show a difference of nearly 216,000 raw votes between the candidates-and in a primary that can be termed as a very sizable victory.
The real question is this: What does the Pennsylvania victory mean for the Clinton campaign? Barack Obama did manage to win another chunk of delegates yesterday to add to his total, and that means that his overall pledged delegate lead has increased to a total that is insurmountable without superdelegates. The Associated Press estimates that Obama's pledged delegate total stands at 1,481 along with 233 superdelegates for a total of 1,714. Hillary Clinton's AP estimate, including superdelegates is 1,589. The New York Times estimates the overall totals as Obama 1,636, Clinton 1,481. NBC News has their own delegate count going on the Democratic side:
Obama leads in pledged delegates per the NBC hard count (1482 to
1326), overall delegates (1720 to 1588), the popular vote (14,447,568 to
13,964,439), and total number of contests won (29 to 15). Note: We’re not
including Texas in this last total, given that Clinton won the primary but Obama
won the caucus and netted the most delegates. That new popular vote total (not
counting FL or MI) has Obama leading Clinton, 49%-47%. For those keeping score,
that's a difference of 483,129.
It is clear that Barack Obama will now enter the Democratic National Convention with the lead in pledged delegates because the remaining primary calendar favors him. However, the popular vote nationally between these two has Obama leading by less than half-a-million votes. Clinton will not win North Carolina, but if she does better than expected there and in Indiana (A "stop Obama" movement in Southern Indiana via GOP cross-voters, perhaps?), it is possible that higher-than-expected vote total for Clinton in those two States coupled with her win in Pennsylvania and expected victories in West Virginia and Kentucky could give her the lead in popular votes nationally-and we all know how big Democrats are on national popular votes. Further, if either Florida or Michigan are included in the delegate mix in any way, Hillary Clinton will have a popular vote lead.
While the latter scenario of including Florida and Michigan is less likely at this point, Hillary could overtake Obama in popular votes by getting large Republican crossovers in Western North Carolina and Southern Indiana. There was a great commotion in the press over the number of registered Republicans in Pennsylvania switching their registration to Democratic to vote in the Democratic Primary, largely because it was presumed that this would be an Obama demographic-but a majority of the crossovers went for Clinton. If we see similar crossovers in Indiana and North Carolina, those numbers could favor Hillary Clinton.
I still believe that Obama will win the Democratic nomination at their convention in Denver, but he will limp his way "to the nomination battered and bruised" to quote Domenico Montanaro. If he survives the Democratic National Debauchery Festival in Denver, he will then be beaten like a rag doll in November.