Monday, March 10, 2008

Barack Obama won the Texas Primary, Right?

Like many of you, we've been closely following the trials and tribulations of the US Presidential Election, namely the Democratic contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Barack was on the verge of a knockout last week after 13 straight victories, but Hillary stayed in it by winning Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. But the conclusions were based without having the final Texas Democratic Primary results, including caucuses. Let us explain...

Ohio and Rhode Island were impressive victories, no doubt, both by healthy margins. But it is Texas that provides the most curious results, and by any reasonable math, Obama actually WON Texas yet received no popular credit for it. Here's how it looks:

From the Texas Secretary of State, and with 100% of ballots counted, here are the results:

Hillary Clinton 1,459,814 50.89%
Barack Obama 1,358,785 47.36%

This gives Hillary a popular vote win by ~101,000 voters, and 65 delegates, to Barack Obama's 61 delegates. All well and good.

BUT Texas has, by all accounts, a different type of primary than most any other state. Called the "Texas Two-Step", one is the popular vote in a statewide election, while the second part is a caucus system where voters actually gather and decide who to support en masse. Obama tends to do very well in caucus states, most likely because of his mobilization of the youth.

In Texas, this was no different. The state, to complicate matters, stopped providing results about halfway through the counting process, but here were the latest official results from the Texas Democratic Caucus:

23,918 OBAMA 56%
18,620 CLINTON 45%

with 41% (or 3377/8224) precints reporting.

If this trend holds up, and there's no reason to think it won't, then Obama gets 38 delegates to Hillary's 30, yielding a total result from Texas of:

Hillary Clinton: 65+30 = 95 Delegates
Barack Obama: 61+38 = 99 Delegates

With plenty of margin for error on the caucus side, this means Barack Obama wins Texas in the technical sense of the word (just as George W. Bush won the US Election in 2000 versus Al Gore despite losing the popular vote), which for better or for worse, is all that matters in the Democratic primary process.

To corroborate, Obama's own campaign website shows their side winning Texas, 99 to 94. Hillary is not showing a score on her website (at least that we found).

The caveat: "Although delegates generally do not switch presidential preferences, party rules do not formally bind delegates to support the same candidate at every step in the convention process, and the allocation of delegates to the national convention is not finally determined until the June 6-7 State Convention. Therefore, these results may not reflect the final allocation of 67 delegates determined by the TDP convention/caucus process."

If you support Barack Obama, click here
If you support Hillary Clinton, click here
If you support John McCain, click here



Barry said...

Hillary won the popular vote. The consequences of this are left as an exercise for the reader...

Nathan said...

Clinton won the primary.
Obama will win the caucus - so Clinton still won the primary.

Leo Bayer said...

I am from Texas and I would like to point out that the primary is not the same as a "popular vote" and the comparison to the 2000 Gore/Bush election is not correct. Everyone is allowed one vote in the primaries and everyone is allowed one vote in the caucuses; No one is excluded. The caucuses are just as much a popular vote as the primaries are. The only difference is that more people vote in the primaries and this is probably because the caucuses are at a fixed time in the evening.

I've found that the typical people who vote in both are those that are more passionate about their choice of candidate.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama’s recent March 18 speech on race relations in America was one of the boldest and most relevant things to come from an American politician in years. Take a listen to my satire, in which I condensed a 40 minute speech down to 2. Mr. Obama urges a revolution on Washington and says the current administration should be taken to prison. Check it out Ah, the magic of simple audio editing software!