Count WHOSE Vote 3: Separate AND Unequal
Why Obama Supporters Want Super-Delegates To Think That One Person In Anchorage Is Worth More Than 36 In Akron
As far as Obama’s supporters are concerned, a voter in Ohio is worth only 1/23 of a voter in Alaska. In Alaska, 8,877 voters chose the state’s 13 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention, or 683 voters per delegate. In Ohio, 2,194,851 voters chose that state’s 141 pledged delegate. That’s 15,566 voters per delegate.
Or perhaps Obama’s supporters really think that a voter in Ohio is worth only 1/37 of an Alaskan voter. Based on the support of 4480 more people, Barack Obama picked up 5 more delegates to the Democratic Convention than Hillary Clinton in Alaska.. That’s 896 Obama supporters per extra delegate. Clinton picked up 7 more delegates than Obama in Ohio, based on her support from 229,873 more Ohioans, or 32,839 Clinton supporters per extra delegate.
In other words, if the Democratic National Committee treated the votes of Alaskans and Ohioans as equal, and gave Clinton an extra delegate for every 893 supporters in Ohio, Clinton would have received not 7, but 257 more delegates than Obama from that state. But thanks to the way in which the DNC allocates delegates, and DNC’s willingness to permit different states to select their Convention delegates in an undemocratic fashion, Clinton gets only 2 more delegates from Ohio than Obama gets from Alaska, despite the fact that Clinton’s combined popular vote advantage from these two states is over 225,000.
This is just one of the absurdities that lies at the foundation of the argument of Obama supporters that the person who wins the most pledged delegates during the primary season has a right to be the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2008.
There is a reason why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are nearly tied in the popular vote, but Obama has a substantial lead in pledged delegates – it has taken on average 657 fewer voters to elect an Obama delegate than a Clinton delegate. But the difference in the average “voters per delegate” (VPD) for Clinton and Obama tells only a small part of the story.
The current system gives far more weight to voters in caucus states than in primary states, and more weight to voters in heavily Republican states than to voters in swing states and heavily Democratic states. And because Obama had dominated caucus states and heavily Republican states, voters in states won by Obama carry far more weight than voters in states carried by Clinton.
(Note: Charts and data used for this piece can be found at http://www.glcq.com/election08/cwv/CWV3_... )
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ONE PERSON = ONE VOTE?
CHART 1 shows how extreme the disproportion in the value of each vote has been.(see Note 1) Table 1 provides a state by state breakdown of how many voters were needed to select each pledged delegate so far this primary season. (For clarity’s sake, states have been broken down into groups of three and their voter per delegate numbers averaged.)
average voters per Voters per delegate by state Group delegate in each group 1st 853 AK- 683, WY- 730, KS- 1147 2nd 1416 ID- 1178, ND- 1463, NE- 1607 3rd 1976 HI- 1863, ME- 1875, CO- 2189 4th 3617 MN- 2973, WA- 3205, NV- 4673 5th 5385 IA- 4735, UT- 5703, NM- 5719 6th 6880 DE- 6409, LA- 6832, CT- 7400 7th 8126 NY- 8023, AZ- 8090, DC- 8264 8th 8998 RI- 8880, AR- 8957, TN- 9157 9th 10431 AL- 10307, VT- 10326, NJ- 10659 10th OK- 10758, SC- 11440, MO- 11452 11th 12094 VA- 11872, GA- 12185, NH- 12224 12th 12989 MD- 12522, MS- 13141, IL- 13306 13th 13877 MA- 13386, CA- 13646, PA- 14599 14th 15153 TX- 14852, WI- 15039, OH- 15566
It is at the extremes of this table that the devaluation of the vote of Democrats in states like Ohio most favors Obama.
· Obama netted 44 more delegates from the states in Groups 1 & 2, based receiving support from 55,840 more voters.
· Clinton received 66 more delegates from Groups 13 & 14, based on the support of 967,256 more voters.
Voters in the most Republicans states are at a decided advantage, and voter in the most Democratic states are at decided disadvantage, thanks to the DNC rules.
· In states where the average GOP margin in the last 3 Presidential elections is over 20%, it took only 3891 voters to elect each delegate.
· In states where the average GOP margin in the last 3 Presidential elections is less than 20%, it took 10961 voters to elect each delegate.
· In states where the average Democratic margin in the last 3 Presidential elections is over 20%, it took 9564 voters to elect each delegate.
“MARGIN” VOTERS AND “MARGIN” DELEGATES – HOW MANY VOTERS DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
The disparities are even more extreme when it comes to the “margin” voters – “margin” delegate relationship, i.e. the difference between the votes for the 2 candidates, and the difference in the number of delegates awarded to each candidate.
CHART 2 shows how extreme the disproportion in the value of each “margin” voter has been.(see Note 2) Table 2 provides a state by state breakdown of how many “extras” voters were needed for each pledged delegate that the winner received above what the loser received.. (For clarity’s sake, states have been broken down into groups of three and their voter per delegate numbers averaged.)
avg "margin" voters per “margin” voters per “margin” delegate Group “margin” del. By state in each group 1st 928 NM- 855, AK- 896, WY- 1034 2nd 1278 ID- 1102, KS- 1265, ME- 1467 3rd 1678 ND- 1559, NE- 1710, IA- 1764 4th 2746 HI- 2439, CO- 2752, MN- 3046 5th 3513 DE- 3463, WA- 3498, CT- 3579 6th 5810 UT- 4641, AZ- 6063, RI- 6727 7th 6942 NY- 6902, TN- 6948, LA- 6976 8th 8061 DC- 7102, AR- 7245, OK- 9835 9th 10661 NJ- 10193, VT- 10698, CA- 11093 10th 11282 VA- 11122, GA- 11340, MA- 11383 11th 12949 IL- 11824, SC- 11839, MS- 15183 12th 18772 MD- 15604, WI- 19290, PA- 21422 13th 32237 TX- 25257, OH- 32839, AL- 38615
Heavily GOP states were also favored when it came to ““margin” delegates”, while voters in heavily Democrat states were at a disadvantage.
· In states where the average GOP margin in the last 3 Presidential elections is over 20%, it took only 2755 “margin” voters to elect each “margin” delegate.
· In states where the average GOP margin in the last 3 Presidential elections is less than 20%, it took 10598 “margin” voters to elect each “margin” delegate.
· In states where the average Democratic margin in the last 3 Presidential elections is over 20%, it took 9028 “margin” voters to elect each “margin” delegate.
HOW CLINTON (AND HER SUPPORTERS) ARE GETTING SCREWED – ALL STATES
Under the current DNC rules, it has taken 657 more Clinton supporters to elect a Clinton delegate ( (10865 Clinton voters per Clinton delegate) than is needed for Obama supporters to elect an Obama delegate (10208 Obama voters per Obama delegate). And Obama’s delegate lead is based on only 4227 more Obama supporters per additional Obama delegate.
But things are far worse for Clinton supporters in states carried by Clinton: a person who supports Clinton in a state carried by Clinton is worth only about 2/3 of that of an Obama supporter in a state carried by Obama. It has taken only 8244 Obama supporters to elect an Obama delegate in states won by Obama, but states carried by Clinton, it takes 12,128 Clinton supporters to elect a Clinton delegate.
VOTERS PER DELEGATE BY STATE POPULAR SUPPORT WINNER Delegates State Obama Clinton Obama Total Winner delegates delegates advantage Obama 781 452 329 1247 HRC 663 849 -186 1585 total 1444 1301 143 2832 Voters State Obama Clinton Obama Total Winner voters voters advantage Obama 6438897 3839290 2599607 10636516 HRC 8301126 10296276 -1995150 19182723 total 14740023 14135566 604457 29819239 Voters per Delegate (VPD) State Obama Clinton Margin Total Winner VPD VPD VPD Obama 8244 8494 7902 8530 HRC 12521 12128 10727 12103 Avg. 10208 10865 4227 10529
· Obama received 781 delegates based on the support of 6.44 million voters in the states he carried, or one delegate for every 8244 supporters.
· Clinton received 849 delegates based on the support of 10.29 million voters in states she carried, or one delegate for every 12,128 supporters.
· In the states carried by Obama, 8530 people voted for each pledged delegated apportioned by the DNC.
· In the states carried by Clinton, 12,103 people voted for each pledged delegate.
· In the states carried by Clinton, it took an additional 10727 supporters for every delegate she won in excess of Obama. In states carried by Obama, only 7902 more Obama supporters per extra delegate was needed. .
CAUCUSES VS PRIMARIES – HOW THE DNC ALLOWS CLINTON SUPPORTERS AND DEMOCRATS IN GENERAL TO BE TREATED AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS
Under the DNC rules, voters in caucus states are worth 4.5 times voters in primary states. And voters in heavily Republican states which hold caucuses are worth 7 times that of primary voters.
The primary states provide the most weight to voters in states that matter most to the Democratic Party – Swing states, and the least weight to voters that are the least important to the Party – states that have voted consistently Republican in the last three elections. But the difference in the influence of individual voters in primary states is relatively small--only 14%, In the caucus states, the situation is reversed, and caucus goers in reliably Republican states have more than three times the influence in selecting delegates than do caucus goers in swing states.
CAUCUS STATES, PRIMARY STATES, AND OVERALL
One delegate was selected for each 2621 voters in caucus states, but in primary states, there were 11,949 voters for each delegate selected, and 10,529 voters per delegate overall..
· Only 97% of the supporters needed to elect an average delegate was needed to elect an Obama delegate.
· It took 103% of the supporters needed to elect an average delegate to elect a Clinton delegate.
· It took 6% fewer Obama supporters than Clinton supporters overall to send a delegate pledged to vote for their candidate to the Convention. .
VOTERS PER DELEGATE IN CAUCUSES PRIMARIES, AND OVERALL Type of DELEGATES Election Obama Clinton All Caucus 280 145 431 Primary 1164 1156 2401 Total 1444 1301 2832 Type of VOTERS Election Obama Clinton All Caucus 682863 380669 1129690 Primary 14057160 13754897 28689548 Total 14740023 14135566 29819239 Type of VOTERS PER DELEGATE Election Obama Clinton All Caucus 2439 2625 2621 Primary 12077 11899 11949 Average 10208 10865 10529
· A single Obama voter had significantly more power than a Clinton voters in caucus states: Only 93% of the supporters that were needed to elect the average caucus delegate, or to elect a Clinton delegate, were needed to elect an Obama delegate.
· In primary states, Clinton supporters were only marginally more powerful (0.004%), and Obama supporters only marginally less powerful (0.011%) than the average voter when it came to selecting delegates. .
REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC, AND SWING STATES – CAUCUS STATES
The DNC uses data from the last three Presidential Elections in allocating pledged delegates from each state. This has resulted in individual caucus goers in Republican dominated states (states that have not voted for a Democrat for President in 1996, 2000, or 2004) having almost twice as much influence as caucus goers in Democratic states (states that supported the Democratic candidate in the last three Presidential elections), and more than three times as much influence as caucus goers in “swing” states (states state voted Democratic once or twice in the last three Presidential Elections.)
VOTERS PER DELEGATE IN CAUCUSES & BY DOMINANT PARTY (wins in last 3 Pres.Elections) Dominant Party Delegates (Elections won) Obama Clinton Total GOP (0) 113 54 167 Swing (1 or 2) 38 26 70 DEM (3) 129 65 194 All caucus 280 145 431 Dominant Party Voters (Elections won) Obama Clinton Total GOP (0) 173968 76854 253524 Swing (1 or 2) 142594 129900 329884 DEM (3) 366301 173915 546282 All caucus 682863 380669 1129690 Dominant Party Voters per Delegate (Elections won) Obama Clinton Total GOP (0) 1540 1423 1518 Swing (1 or 2) 3752 4996 4713 DEM (3) 2840 2676 2816 Average 2439 2625 2621 ·
- For each delegate selected, only 1,518 people in reliably Republican states attended caucuses. In the crucial swing states, there were 4,713 caucus attendees per delegate, and in reliably Democratic states, one delegate was selected for each 2816 caucus attendees.
· Clinton supporters were given a little more weight than Obama supporters in Republican and Democratic state caucuses (GOP states--8% more, Dem states--6% more), but in the crucial swing state caucuses, it took far more supporters (33% more) to elect a Clinton delegate than an Obama delegate. .
REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC, AND SWING STATES – PRIMARY STATES
Unlike in the caucuses, voters in Swing states are given more weight than those in Democratic states, and both are given more weight than voters in heavily Republican states.
· Clinton voters in the swing and Democratic states combined (where Clinton netted 63 more delegates than Obama) were given slightly more weight (2%) than Obama voters.
· But in the GOP dominated states (where Obama received 71 more delegates than Clinton) Obama supporter had 6% more influence than a Clinton supporter. .
VOTERS PER DELEGATE IN PRIMARIES & BY DOMINANT PARTY (wins in last 3 Pres.Elections) Dominant Party Delegates (Elections won) Obama Clinton Total GOP (0) 275 204 554 Swing (1 or 2 219 253 476 DEM (3) 670 699 1371 All Primary 1164 1156 2401 Dominant Party Voters (Elections won) Obama Clinton Total GOP (0) 3756239 2942719 6936420 Swing (1 or 2) 2314725 2715863 5208867 DEM (3) 7986196 8096315 16544261 All Primary 14057160 13754897 28689548 Dominant Party Voters per Delegate (Elections won) Obama Clinton Total GOP (0) 13659 14425 12521 Swing (1 or 2) 10570 10735 10943 DEM (3) 11920 11583 12067 Average 12077 11899 11949
As of right now, Obama’s delegate lead is almost entirely from “caucus” states – states where each voter is provided with far more weight than in the primary states, and gives individual voters in heavily Republican states three times more influence than voters in crucial swing states when it comes to electing delegates.
Obama lead in primary states is only 8 delegates. Obama 8 vote lead in primary states is based on getting 71 more delegates than Clinton from states that haven’t voted for a Democrat for President in the last three elections, and where Democrats have lost by an average margin of over 16 points in the last three years. In terms of the primary vote totals, Obama is only close to Clinton thanks to these heavily Republican primary states, where he has a lead of more than 813,000 in the popular vote.
Clinton has dominated the primaries in crucial “swing states” and “heavily Democratic” states, garnering the support of over 51,000 more voters than Obama in these states, and winning 63 more delegates there.
In Alaska, 8877 people showed up for caucuses in 2008—less than 3% of the 310,000 Alaskans voted in the 2004 Presidential elections. Obama 5 more delegates than Clinton, based on 4440 more caucus attendees in Alaska.
In Ohio, over 2,190,000 people voted in the primary in 2008, representing 39% of the 2004 Ohio Presidential electorate of over 5,620,000 voters. Clinton got a net gain of 7 delegates from Ohio based on getting 229,873 more votes than Obama.
Bush beat Kerry by 79,864 votes in Alaska, or almost 18 times the number of Alaskans who preferred Obama to Clinton. In 2004, Bush won in Ohio by 118,599 votes; Clinton beat Obama by nearly twice that number.
When Obama supporters argue that the delegate count is the only thing that matters, they would have you believe that the outcomes in Ohio and Alaska are not significantly different – only 2 delegates separate the outcome in the two states, and that is all that is important.
It is this kind of thinking that loses Presidential elections.
NOTE 1: Delegates per voter in Texas is based on the total number of “pledged” delegates (192) allotted to Texas, not just those selected in the Primary Election. All Charts and Tables include only data from US States and the District of Columbia, and excludes data from Florida and Michigan. . See http://www.glcq.com/election08/cwv/CWV3_... for a full explanation of the data used in this piece.
NOTE 2: Two states where equal numbers of delegates were awarded (MO, NH) have been excluded from this chart, as has been Nevada, where caucus estimates show Clinton receiving more support from voters than Obama, but receiving fewer DNC delegates.