Just after the Maine primary, I wondered whether Obama may have been in front all along on the basis that he has been ahead all the way in pledged delegates and the super delegates will probably flock to the leader among pledged delegates in order to build the appearance of unanimity and avoid a floor fight at the convention.
We’ve just had the primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and as expected, Barack Obama appears to have won all three by strong margins. Here are the updated table and graph, although the data for the 12th of February are still very much estimates:
|Date||Barack Obama: running total||Barack Obama: share of pledged delegates||Hillary Clinton: running total||Hillary Clinton: share of pledged delegates|
|3 Jan (IA)||16||51.6%||15||48.4%|
|8 Jan (NH)||25||51.0%||24||49.0%|
|19 Jan (NV)||38||51.4%||36||48.6%|
|26 Jan (SC)||63||56.8%||48||43.2%|
|5 Feb (Super Tuesday)||903||50.1%||898||49.9%|
|9 Feb (LA, NE, WA, Virgin Is.)||998||51.4%||944||48.6%|
|10 Feb (ME)||1013||51.5%||953||48.5%|
|12 Feb (DC, MD, VA)||1111||52.5%||1006||47.5%|
And just as I predicted (well, Chris Bowers predicted and I agreed), we are starting to see twitchy movement in the super delegates. On the one hand, we have people calling for them to vote according to the will of their constituents. Ryan Avent is typical:
[I]t seems that Obama has an excellent chance at winning the District primary tomorrow. Should that be the case, it would be incredibly unfortunate if the District’s superdelegates essentially undid the wishes of the voting public … It is especially galling that D.C. Councilmembers, so familiar with the frustration of disenfranchisement, would contribute to the further erosion of the District’s electoral clout.
… and the super delegates are listening. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives and one of the most influential of currently-neutral super delegates, is “leaning” towards Obama:
A senior adviser to Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has suggested that she – along with other “party elders” – will step into the ring to end this extraordinary contest if it threatens Democratic hopes of winning back the White House or maintaining control over Congress. Ms Pelosi says that she is “torn” and that “the people will speak – that’s the beauty of a democracy,” before adding: “My focus is on re-electing a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.”
Her voice would carry great authority among uncommitted super-delegates on Capitol Hill – and she is said to be “leaning” towards Mr Obama. “The party Establishment is not going to turn its back on a candidate who is generating this tremendous excitement and bringing all these new voters into the political process,” said a source close to her. Mr Obama’s team are pressing the same message, especially to members of Congress in districts where he has already won and who may not wish to alienate their core vote in an election year.