Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Super Tuesday

This is possibly the biggest event in the races to decide the GOP and Democrat nominations for the presidency. Twenty four states have been holding primaries or caucuses (a lot have had these for both parties).

The table below shows the winners and the delegates they gained:
New JerseyClinton(51)McCain(52)
New Mexicorp**n/a
New YorkClinton(127)McCain(101)
North DakotaObama(8)Romney(8)
West Virginian/aHuckabee(18)
* - This means that the primary/caucus hasn't happened yet in that state for that party.
** - This means that the results were still being processed while this blog post was being typed.

I didn't include the voting percentages this time because it would make the table too cumbersome. If you're interested in those details, you can go here.

The Delegates
I noticed a few strange things when looking at the results. The first is the amount of delegates that New York got from both parties (the Democrats had 214, the GOP had 101). Those are - by far - the biggest numbers in a state. It's strange because California has a larger population, larger voter turnout and is physically bigger (in terms of square miles). Under the current US system, I would have thought there'd be more delegates for the bigger states. Clinton won New York with 57% of the vote (Barack Obama got 40%), which was to be expected as it was her home state. You could almost say the large number of NY delegates gave Clinton an unfair advantage.

Alabama and Missouri also had strange results. Despite finishing second in Alabama, Hillary Clinton got one more delegate (she was 14% behind Obama too). I thought the Democrats distributed delegates based on vote percentages. In Missouri, both Clinton and Obama got 30 delegates, even though Obama won by 1%. Those two results make no sense at all!

In other non-standard news, California, Illinois, Georgia and Massachusetts were the only states where the Republicans didn't operate a winner-takes-all-the-delegates system. I think it would be better if all states used the same system and it would be even better if that system was used by both parties. It would make the results much easier to analyse.

The candidates - Democrats
While it's true that Hillary Clinton got more delegates than Barack Obama on Super Tuesday (just under 60 more - this doesn't include New Mexico as the final results haven't been processed), there are still many states left and her overall total could be overtaken. Obama has to be pleased with the fact that he won more states.

The candidates - Republicans
John McCain is getting further ahead of the competition after winning nine states. Even though Mike Huckabee won five, his chances of getting the GOP nomination are getting even more distant. Mitt Romney did well winning seven. However, as we all should know by now, it's delegates that are the most important thing and John McCain managed to win in the states where there were the most delegates. It's not impossible for Romney to win, but it's unlikely that it'll happen.

Vice-presidential choices
Ever since John Edwards dropped out, I felt that he would be the VP pick for either Clinton or Obama. In my previous post about the CNN debate, I noted that they both constantly mentioned the former Senator's policies and congratulated him on agood campaign.

There are many people who think that Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton would be the best for the Democrats. It's true that some of their policies are similar and their combined support would be tremendous, but could they ever work together? There have been a number of occasions where they have had lengthy arguments. Obama did recently say that Clinton would be an asset for anyone and Clinton replied with a similar statement, but that could just be for the media and may not be what they actually think.

It's even more dificult to think who the pick would be for the Republicans. If John McCain was the GOP pick, I can see him choosing Rudy Giuliani because the former Mayor of New York dropped out of the race, he gave McCain a glowing reference. The Arizona Senator could also choose Mike Huckabee because it would mean he's more likely to attract the large evangelical section of the US population.

One certainty is that he wouldn't pick Mitt Romney, even though for former Massechusetts governor is currently in second place overall. This is because McCain has accused him of changing his stance on a number of issues and has also been critical of Romney's negative ad campaigns (he should be critical - Romney should be focusing on his own policies).

If Romney, made a late surge and won the nomination, I can see him picking Mike Huckabee to attract the religious vote.

Ron Paul
It's certain that he won't be the GOP nomination for the presidency. It's also unlikely he'll be the VP pick for any of the top three because only has 16 delegates and has a comparitively minimal number of votes. He also hasn't won a state yet. So, what is he going to do? Will he drop out before the GOP convention? It's becoming more likely, although I can't be 100% certain.

According to this article, 29% of US voters believe that he will run as an independent candidate. It's theoretically possible because some of his views don't match with the majority of the Republican party. The same article states the 15% of those voters would vote for either him or Michael Bloomberg (another independent possiblity). With a percentage like that, Paul wouldn't become President, but he could influence the result (something that Ralph Nader did in 2000). However, Paul has said in the past it's either the GOP nomination or nothing at all.

Mike Gravel
Remember him? When the Florida primary results were announced, I noticed Gravel wasn't mentioned on CNN, however he was still on the results page on a Florida local government site (remember that candidates can still be on ballot papers after they withdraw because of reprinting costs). Apparently he's still going and there's a possiblity of him being an independent candidate. However, if he did go down that route I doubt he'd make an impact - have a look at his results in the primaries and caucuses so far.

It was a big day in the US and for the Democrats, it didn't really make it any easier to predict who would finish with the most delegates. For the Republicans, things became a lot clearer and McCain's momentum has grown substantially.

So, what do you think?

Technorati tags: USA, Election, Super Tuesday, Democrats, Republicans