News from the Votemaster
The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meets Saturday to deal with seating the delegates from Florida and Michigan. The DNC lawyers have written a 38-page memo stating that restoring all the delegates and counting the elections would violate party rules. The committee is authorized to restore half the delegates, however. An additional problem is that Barack Obama's name wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and "uncommitted" won 40% of the vote. Will Hillary Clinton try to get a substantial fraction of those? Will she concede all of them to Obama? If either candidate is unhappy with the RBC decision, they can appeal it to the credentials committee and if they want to, force a floor fight at the convention. It could get messy. On the other hand, the RBC decision might cause all the remaining supers to get off the fence and endorse a candidate right after the final primaries on June 3. Obama has instructed his supporters not to go to the meeting to demonstrate. Taegan Goddard has some "pre-game" analysis of the meeting. He thinks seating all the delegates, each with half a vote (like Democrats Abroad) is a likely outcome. He also thinks that the DNC would never let the rules committee decide the nominee. The meeting will be held at the Marriot Wardman Park hotel in D.C.
What are the possible outcomes? Since this is politics, not high school math, all kinds of strange results are possible. One that seems very unlikely though is the seating of both delegations in full. Florida has 210 delegates. If they are seated in full, Clinton gets 105, Obama gets 67 and Edwards gets 13, but Edwards has endorsed Obama so his delegates might (but don't have to) support Obama, making it 105 to 80. If the full delegation is seated, but each with half a vote, Clinton will pick up 17.5 delegates from Florida. Obama might consider this an acceptable compromise.
Michigan is trickier since Obama's name wasn't on the ballot. A total of 156 delegates are at stake here. Clinton's position is to seat the full delegation; Obama's position is to split it 50-50. Some kind of compromise will probably be worked out here. It is to Obama's advantage to have Florida and Michigan seated because Clinton's main rallying cry now is "Seat Florida and Michigan." Once that is done, she will be faced with the consequences: she will still be behind by something like 150 delegates.
The Hill has a piece the Senate races. It discusses the polls showing Republican senators in trouble in many states. Republican spokesmen say that many of the polls were automated, somehow implying they are less accurate than polls conducted by human beings. Rasmussen and SurveyUSA use automated polling and their track record on the whole doesn't seem to be so different from the companies using human callers, so this is a red herring. In fact, one study shows Selzer as the most accurate pollster, followed by SurveyUSA and Rasmussen. Selzer only polls Iowa and adjacent states so the most accurate large pollsters are the two automated ones. Traditionally, this approach has been called: "shoot the messenger."
There is a new version of the electoral-vote status bar that works with Firefox 3. Here is the link. It is listed on the Welcome page if you want to get it later.
Political Wire found a poll in Puerto Rico showing Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama 51% to 38% there. We also have two general election polls. Obama has a good chance to win Iowa, a state Bush won in 2004. But losing Michigan could be disastrous for him. In principle, in a state as badly hit by the economic downturn as Michigan, any Democrat should be able to win easily, but Obama has some work to do there.
Needed to win: 2026
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster