Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Caucuses vs Primaries - By the Numbers

Denver lawyer Jeralyn Merritt's summary at Talk Left of Peniel Cronin's compelling report, 2008 Presidential Preference Election, looks at "the math:"

  • By the numbers, in 2008 primaries have averaged 400% greater voter turnout in eligible voters than caucuses.
  • Of the 33.5 million popular votes in the 2008 Democratic Primaries, caucus voters have collectively cast only 3.2% of the total or 1.1 million votes.
  • The 13 caucus states have 23.2 million eligible voters. The average Democratic voter turnout in 2008 caucuses has been 4.5% versus 19.92% in primaries.
  • 42% of Obama’s wins are caucus states, 95% of Clinton’s wins are primary states

  • 42% of Obama’s wins have been in caucus states wherein one-half have not voted Democratic since 1964, 70% voted Republican in 2004, 8 out of the 13 states had only 8,700 to 43,900 voters each and there is a total of 74 electoral votes for all caucus states.

  • Though voters in all 13 caucus states have cast only 3.2% of the total 33.5 million votes so far – those votes control 15.3% of the pledged delegates and 16.4% of the Super delegates sent to the DNC Convention – average 15.5% of the total delegates [626 caucus / 4047 total]. After all remaining primaries the total votes could easily top 36 million, dropping the caucus vote to 2.9% of the total. In that event, 1 out of every 34 votes will determine and control 1 of every 6.5 delegates.
  • Bottom line: caucus voters will have a grossly disproportionate role in determining the 2008 Democratic nominee.
  • 97% of pledged delegate difference between Obama and Clinton is directly related to the caucus victories, caucus delegates’ account for 1 in every 6.5 DNC delegates and nearly 2/3 of those delegates will vote pro-Obama essentially giving them substantially more clout in determining the 2008 Democratic nominee.

  • When the results of all 34 primaries are totaled and averaged there is only a .8% vote differential and .8% difference in total delegates –Obama is ahead by 259,000 votes out of 32.4 million and Clinton is ahead by 24 delegates out of 3,114.
  • When Florida is added in, Clinton leads by 62 delegates and 35,387 votes. These dead-heat Primary results closely parallel national polls in the two candidate match-up since Super Tuesday.
  • If Florida and Michigan are added to all election results, Clinton would gain another 27 and 17 electoral votes respectively and would have a total of 308 – 38 more than the 270 needed to win the Presidency in the General Election. Obama’'s 29 states won have 224 electoral votes which would be 46 short of the 270 needed to win.
  • Finally, if Florida and Michigan are added to the 47 state elections already concluded [34 primaries + 13 caucus states] there are 205.5 million total eligible voters [VEP]. Clinton has won states with 124.7 million eligible voters and Obama has won states with 80.8 million. In this instance, Clinton would have won 19 primaries versus 17 for Obama.

(According to Ms. Merritt, the report's author, Peniel Cronin, is President & CEO of Global Basics and eNameWiz.com)

Sour grapes or astute analysis?

You be the judge.

For more background on Jeralyn Merritt, see LexBlog Q & A: Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft from Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Ms. Merritt previously acted as one of six principal trial lawyers for Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing case

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

Visit our Toronto Law Firm website: www.wiselaw.net

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