Going to Be in June?: A Purely Speculative Exercise

This is all pure conjecture, so take it as that. But in trying to figure out where the Democrats might be in June, this is some speculative math.Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Barack Obama, D-Illinois, need to win 2,204 delegates to secure the nomination.Right now, in the ABC News count, Obama has 1,634 delegates (1,416 pledged and 218 superdelegates) and Clinton has 1,498 delegates (1,251 pledged and 247 superdelegates).Here are the contests going forward:April 22  Pennsylvania primary (158 pledged delegates, 29 superdelegates)May 3   Guam caucuses (4 pledged delegates, 5 superdelegates)May 6    Indiana primary (72 pledged delegates, 13 superdelegates)          NC primary (115 pledged delegates, 19 superdelegates)May 13   WV primary (28 pledged delegates, 11 superdelegates)May 20   Kentucky primary (51 pledged delegates, 9 superdelegates)          Oregon primary (52 pledged delegates, 13 superdelegates)June 1   Puerto Rico primary (55 pledged delegates, 8 superdelegates)June 3   Montana primary (16 pledged delegates, 9 superdelegates)          South Dakota primary (15 pledged delegates, 8 superdelegates)**Based on poll numbers and conversations with both campaigns as well as the big brains in the ABC News Political Unit (David Chalian, Teddy Davis, Karen Travers), I will assume for the sake of argument that Clinton wins five states and territories and Obama wins five states and territories in the 10 contests remaining.The guesses: Clinton wins Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Puerto Rico. And Obama wins Guam, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota.In this purely speculative exercise, the total pledged delegate count of those Clinton states is 364 and the Obama states is 202.But this is not a Republican-style winner-take-all system.It's proportional, because they're Democrats.Again, for the sake of argument, let's assume each candidate wins pretty handily (that will not be the case in real life), 55%-45%.55% of Clinton states = 200 pledged delegates55% of Obama states = 111 pledged delegates45% of Clinton states = 164 pledged delegates45% of Obama states = 91 pledged delegatesThat would mean:Clinton pledged delegates (55% of Clinton states + 45% of Obama states) = 291 pledged delegatesObama pledged delegates (55% of Obama states + 45% of Clinton states) = 275 pledged delegatesA net gain for Clinton of 16 pledged delegates.**Again, this is just speculation -- doodling on the back of a napkin since I don't have the ability to see the future.Obama currently leads Clinton by 165 pledged delegates.  Clinton leads among superdelegates, 247 to 218, with 29 more.Meaning Obama overall has 136 more delegates.With my hypothetical scenario, in June, after the final contest, neither candidate would have 2,204 delegates.Obama would have 1,909, Clinton would have 1,789.Obama in June would still lead Clinton with 120 delegates.Almost two more months, millions of dollars, hundreds of attacks and counter-attacks between the two campaigns later.**But that doesn't include superdelegates, right?Here's the issue with that.Since Feb. 5, the Obama campaign has gained 69 superdelegates. Conversely, the Clinton campaign has had a net loss of five (she gained six but lost 11).That trend clearly doesn't bode well for Sen. Clinton.This is why even though Clinton could have a very strong next few weeks, with folks like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and even some Clinton supporters saying they don't think superdelegates should "override" what the pledged delegates decide, Clinton's fiercest opponent is the math.And it all means that come June we could be essentially exactly where we are today, short of some serious movement by superdelegates or Democratic voters one way or another.- jpt

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