Pennsylvania Puts Clinton In the Lead in Popular Vote, Obama leads in Caucuses

††††††††††† Hillary Clinton has won the Pennsylvania Primary 1,259,466 to Barack Obamaís 1,046,120 according to 100% complete unofficial returns.This puts her in the lead by 66,846 votes out of 31,147,324 cast so far.Clinton has 14,965,335 (48.05%) to Obamaís 14,898,489 (47.83%), a margin of 0.22%, with neither candidate commanding a majority.Technically, Clinton leads by 305,014 votes, almost 1%, but that is an overstatement.

††††††††††† Interestingly, the 31,147,324 Democratic primary votes thus far almost equals Hubert Humphreyís 31,274,503 votes in the 1968 General Election and, before it is over in June, will certainly exceed the 34,221,344 votes received by John Fitzgerald Kennedy when he won in 1960.In other words, in any other time, this level of voter turnout would be considered a general election.

††††††††††† The mainstream media puts Obama ahead because Washington, Florida and Michigan are included or not included in the vote tally.Washington, Florida and Michigan violated Democratic party rules on the timing of their primaries, so they are being punished by being denied delegates to the convention.However, the voters who went to the polls have a right to and expect to have their votes counted.The United States is not Zimbabwe, the 2000 selection of Bush notwithstanding.The fact that Bush was selected by not counting all the votes is the major reason the nation sits mired in war borne of external attack and economic difficulties.When the voters speak, it is a good idea to listen.

††††††††††† Here at the Institute of Election Analysis, every vote counts.What about Michigan where Obama withdrew his name from the ballot?Still, there was an election in Michigan.Clinton got 328,309 votes out of 594,408 ballots cast.In addition to Clinton, Senators Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel and Representative Dennis Kucinich were on the ballot.In addition, there was an uncommitted slate of delegates that got 238,168 votes.Those votes were really mostly Obama supporters.So, for the purpose of accurately assessing voter intent, we have awarded Obama the 238,168 votes for the uncommitted slate in Michigan.This is why Clintonís margin is only 66,846.

††††††††††† Is this fair?The uncommitted slate in Michigan received 40.06% of the vote.Michigan abuts and is similar in population to Ohio and Pennsylvania, both won by Clinton.Obama received 44.00% of the vote in Ohio and 45.37% of the vote in Pennsylvania.Even if all the Michigan votes for Kucinich, Dodd and Gravel are added to Obamaís total to give him the 44.77% non-Clinton vote, almost midway between the Pennsylvania and Ohio results, Clinton still leads by a paper thin 38,915 (0.1%).The 2008 presidential election will be close all the way to November and every vote will count.

The Caucus States

†††††††††† Eleven of the 45 contests decided thus far have been caucuses.A caucus attendee is a voter, of course, but they do not vote by secret ballot.Caucusing involves going somewhere at a specific time and declaring, in public, the candidate the caucus attendee supports.This eliminates a lot of people from going to caucuses: people who have to work, people who vote absentee (about 5% to 10% in normal elections), elderly people with mobility problems, people with young children, etc.

††††††††††† The caucus comes from New England and lives on in government as the town meeting.The derivation of the word is obscure but may come from the Algonkin word caucauasu which appears in Captain Smithís Virginia 23, as Caw-cawaassough meaning ďone who advises, urges, encouragesĒ, from a verb meaning primarily ďto talk toĒ, hence ďto give counsel, advise, encourageĒ and ďto urge, promote, incite to action.Ē

††††††††††† The modern meaning is, ďA private meeting of the leaders or representatives of a political party, previous to an election or to a general meeting of the party, to select candidates for office or to concert other measures for the furthering of party interests;Ē [From the Oxford English Dictionary Online Second Edition 1989{Oxford provides a free word of the day service by RSS feed, a great freebee for building vocabulary.}]

Consequently, the turnout in caucuses is far, far lower than that in primaries, and primary turnouts, even ones as high as those in 2008, are significantly lower than the general election turnout.Many voters refuse to vote in primaries because they must publicly reveal their party affiliation.That is why the current primary turnout is about half of what the General Election turnout will be in November.

††††††††††† The eleven caucus states, with 59 electoral votes, were decided by less than one million Democratic voters.California, with 55 electoral votes, was decided by 4,677,788.

††††††††††† Kerry received 5,145,948 votes in the 11 caucus states in 2004, less than half a million more than the primary vote in California this year.He lost 9 and carried 2.The total general election vote in those states was 11,580,609.So, the Democratic caucus turnout was less than 20% of the Democratic general election vote, and less than 9% of the total vote.By comparison, the Democratic primary vote in Pennsylvania was 77.6% of the Democratic general election vote.In other words, primaries, with their secret ballots and easier participation, have a higher participation rate and are a much more accurate assessment of peopleís opinions than caucuses.Caucuses favor highly motivated, younger, wealthier, better educated voters with time on their hands.Caucuses are really an eighteenth century mechanism that was democratic and revolutionary for its time, but that has a distorting effect in the twenty-first centuryís high mobility, instant communication where time and leisure are at a premium, unlike the days before electricity, cars and trains.†† The nominating power of every caucus attendee is four to seven times more than the primary voter.

Seven of the eleven caucus states are solidly Republican rural states and unlikely to vote for either Obama or Clinton in November.Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kansas, Idaho and Alaska, where Obama defeated Clinton by wide margins, havenít voted for a Democratic candidate for president since Lyndon B. Johnsonís landslide in 1964, forty-four years ago.Colorado has voted Democratic only once since then, in 1992.They are all in the West, where John McCain comes from.Obama might carry Kansas for personal reasons.Minnesota and Maine were the only two caucus states carried by Obama that regularly vote Democratic in presidential elections.Iowa is a toss-up and Nevada, a weak Democratic state, was won by Clinton.

The Glass Ceiling

Why did Clinton do so poorly in caucus states, and why does she do better in the polling booth than the last pre-election polls?Hillary Clinton is a controversial figure, widely hated by many people, not just for herself, but because she is a woman.Most of these Hillary haters are men.Some of them are even married to women who admire Hillary.Therefore there are many women who support Hillary who would never say so in public.They certainly would not be able to take time out of their lives to attend a caucus.

Obama, on the other hand, suffers from the opposite.There are plenty of people who say they are for Obama because they want to be seen as liberal, politically correct or color blind who, in their hearts, do not like black people.So, Obamaís poll numbers may be inflated compared to his actual performance in the voting booth.In caucus states like Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho and North Dakota, that have almost no indigenous African-Americans, young people especially can flock to caucuses for Obama as a kind of public political statement expressing their lack of racial bias, in addition to their support for an articulate, attractive, anti-war candidate.

These two factors might explain the fact that Clinton runs at least 1% to 2% better than the highest final poll number while Obama seems to slip by the same percentage.

The Primary States

The story is the same in the primary states.Obama carried South Carolina better than 2 to 1.South Carolina hasnít voted Democratic in a presidential race since John F. Kennedy in 1960, when the South was still solidly Democratic.Utah and Virginia, Obama blowouts, havenít voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1964. Obama won Alabama and Mississippi by wide margins.They havenít voted Democratic since 1976.

Obama did win some solidly Democratic states: Delaware, Illinois, his home state, Washington, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Vermont.

Clinton, on the other hand, won in big, Democratic leaning states essential to a Democratic victory in November: like California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Clinton also won some weak Democratic states like: Arizona and Tennessee.Oklahoma is Clintonís only victory in a state that hasnít voted Democratic for president since 1964.

The Electoral College

It is clear that whether Obama or Clinton wins the nomination, the victor will have to choose the vanquished as Vice-President if he or she has any hope of winning the election.Just as John Kennedy took Lyndon Johnson as his running mate, Obama will have to take Clinton or Clinton will have to take Obama if the Democrats want to win.

If Obama wins the nomination, he will have to win the election in the states where Clinton won the primaries. California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have a total of 161 electoral votes between them.Only 109 more are needed to reach the 270 are needed to win.Now add Obamaís victories in traditional Democratic states like Illinois (21), Hawaii (4), Wisconsin (10), Vermont (3), Minnesota (10), Connecticut (7), Washington (11), Delaware (3) and Maine (4).Thatís 73 electoral votes, still 36 short of victory.Ok, letís throw in some of Clintonís victories: Michigan for another 17, and Rhode Island 4.Now that leaves 15.Either Ohio or Texas would do the trick, both won by Clinton.

Texas hasnít voted for a Democrat for President since 1976, and Ohio has voted for a losing candidate for president only twice since women won the right to vote; in 1960 and 1944.So, if Obama canít carry Ohio or Texas, where do the other 15 come from?

So, itís easy to see right now where the general election is going to be fought.In the small states of New Hampshire (4), Iowa (7), Arkansas (6), Louisiana (9), Kentucky (8), Oregon (7), West Virginia (5), New Mexico (5) and Nevada (5),the perennial swing state of Missouri (11), and the big states of Florida (27) and Ohio (20).

Like economics, the political landscape does not change radically from year to year.Most of the states that voted for Gore and Kerry will vote for Obama and Clinton.Most of the states that voted for Bush will vote for McCain.

The Best Is Yet to Come

If this analysis is correct, on May 6th, Obama can be expected to do well in North Carolina, which hasnít voted for a Democratic candidate for President since 1976, and Indiana, which hasnít voted for a Democrat since 1964.If Clinton wins Indiana, it will be her second state that hasnít voted Democratic since 1964, compared to eight for Obama.They each have a chance to pick up another one in South Dakota on June 3rd.

That will leave the subsequent round of primaries: West Virginia on May 13th, and Kentucky and Oregon on May 20th to determine the Democratic nominee and then, in November, the President of the United States.This is a very close race all around.The voters are playing their cards close to their vests and doing a brilliant job.Stay tuned.

Comparison of Clinton and Obama Primary and Caucus results as of April 30, 2008










NH- Dem

†††††††††††††† 112,215

†††††††††††††† 104,772

††††††††† †††††††67,081


†††††††† 68,576

†††††††††† 86,863

††††††† 1,521,966

†††††††††† 741,898

NH Rep

††††††††††††††††††† 1,743

††††††††††††††††††† 1,800

††††††††††††††††††† 1,080


†††††††††† 5,355

†††††††††††† 4,773


†††††††††† 397,190


†††††††††††††† 328,309

†††††††††††††† 238,168

†††††††††††††††† 27,931


†††††††††† 2,130

†††††††††††† 6,471

†††††††††† 314,502

†††††††††† 111,025


†††††††††††† ††141,128

†††††††††††††† 295,091

†††††††††††††††† 96,008


†††††††† 35,587

†††††††††† 79,344

††††††† 2,148,036

††††††† 1,001,732


†††††††††††††† 226,504

†††††††††††††† 302,814

†††††††††††††††† 10,703


††††††††† 3,655

†††††††††† 16,880

†††††††††† 612,756

†††††††††† 181,098


†††††††††††††† 857,208

†††††††††††††† 569,041

†††††††††††††† 299,015


†††††††††† 9,462

†††††††††† 27,172

††††††† 1,213,108

†††††††††† 434,993


†††††††††††††† 164,831

†††††††††††††† 179,349

††††††††††††††††††† 6,328


†††††††† 68,442

†††††††† 141,527

††††††† 2,842,912

††††††† 1,445,014


†††††††††††††† 229,501

†††††††††††††† 193,126

†††††††††††††††† 29,260


†††††††††† 6,948

†††††††††† 11,625

†††††††††† 316,049

†††††††††† 111,052


†††††††††††††† 217,313

†††††††††††††††† 80,774

††††††††††††††††††† 8,117


†††††††† 12,445

†††††††††† 26,126

†††††††††† 792,906

†††††††††† 254,328


†††††††††† 2,421,995

†††††††††† 1,997,749

†††††††††††††† 258,044


†††††††† 18,400

†††††††††† 27,140

†††††††††† 740,752

†††††††††† 396,842


†††††† ††††††††††40,751

†††††††††††††††† 51,124

††††††††††††††††††† 4,466


†††††††††† 3,312

†††††††††††† 5,378

†††††††††† 245,789

††††††††††††† 70,776


†††††††††††††† 328,129

†††††††††††††† 700,366

†††††††††††††††† 26,336


†††††††††††††† 662,845

†††††††††† 1,301,954

†††††††††††††††† 51,317

†††††† 234,312

†††††††† 433,299

†† 667,612

†††† 11,580,609

††††††† 5,145,948


†††††††††††††† 704,591

†††††††††††††† 511,887

†††††††††††††††† 30,293


†††††††††††††† 395,287

†††††††††††††† 405,284

†††††††††††††††† 19,564




†††††††††††††† 602,576

†††††††††††††† 492,186

†††††††††††††††† 25,006


†††††††††††††††† 73,105

†††††††††††††††† 71,396

††††††††††††††††††† 4,239



†††††††††† 1,003,623

†††††††††††††† 697,914

†††††††††††††††† 47,296


†††††††††††††† 228,425

†††††††††††††† 130,087

†††††††††††††††† 54,682


†††††††††††††† 332,599

†††††††††††††† 250,730

†††††††††††††††† 32,271


†††††††††††††††† 48,719

†††††††††††††††† 70,373

††††††††††††††††††† 5,147


†††††††††††††† 136,959

†††††††††††††† 220,588

†††††††††††††††† 26,801


†††††††††††††† 315,222

†††††††††††††† 353,563

†††††††††††††††† 21,481


†††††††††††††††† 27,326

†††††††††††††††† 85,534

††† †††††††††††††††††††589


†††††††††††††† 285,440

†††††††††††††† 464,474

††††††††††††††††††† 8,869


†††††††††††††† 347,579

†††††††††††††† 623,479

††††††††††††††††††† 8,492


††††††††††††††††††† 8,835

†††††††††††††††† 28,347

†††††††††††††††††††††† 179


†††††††††††††† 452,795

†††††††††††††† 646,007

†††††††††††††††† 11,624


†††††††††† 1,207,806

†††††††††††††† 979,025

†††††††††††††††† 38,076


†††††††††††††† 108,750

†††††††††††††††† 75,115

††††††††††††††††††† 1,132


†††††††††† 1,478,434

†††††††††† 1,382,703

†††††††††††††††† 49,855


†††††††††††††††† 59,640

†††††††††††††††† 91,740

††††††††††††††††††† 2,962


†††††††††††††† 155,686

†††††††††††††† 255,809

††††††††††††††††††† 9,256


†††††††††† 1,259,466

†††††††††† 1,046,120

†††††††††††††††††††††††††† -††

†††† 2,305,586


†††††††† 14,965,335

†††††††† 14,898,489

†††††††††† 1,283,500

†† 31,147,324





†††††††††††††† (66,846)



Return to Institute of Election Analysis Home Page

Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf