The Iowa Delegate Allotment

Barack Obama got more of the vote in Iowa, but he didn't get much of a delegate bump. The delegate numbers work out to be:

  • Obama 16
  • Hillary 15
  • Edwards 14

By contrast, Huckabee's Iowa vote win also translated into a big delegate win:

  • Huckabee 30
  • Romney 7

John Edwards has been touting his victory over Hillary today. The actual vote tally, with 100% of Iowa precincts reporting, shows he got more votes than her but by percentages:

  • Edwards 29.7%
  • Clinton 29.5%

I thought anything over .5% got rounded to the next number. Why aren't both Edwards and Hillary at 30%?

Comparing the Iowa county vote maps (same link as above, scroll down) it looks to me like both Hillary and Edwards had deep pockets of support in geographic areas -- they each won a lot of counties -- while Obama's support,although he won more counties than the other two individually, was more scattered around the state and included the more largely populated areas around Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport. (Alphabetical county list with vote tally here.) The Republican map on the other hand shows Huckabee decimated Romney all over the state, with the exception of a pocket on the east and west side of the state.

I don't think Obama ran away with Iowa. Hillary and Edwards did really well and if you put their numbers together, they surpass Obama's. Obama won, to be sure, but it's far from a mandate or a landslide like Huckabee got. And he did it without second choice voters like the Dems allowed.

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    This is the first report I've seen of the (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:04:09 PM EST
    delegate allotment, which I read is based on turnout of Dem.s in the precinct for the past two Presidential elections.  

    the Times is being sloppy (none / 0) (#2)
    by along on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:11:38 PM EST
    they are rounding up (or down) from the hundredth place.

    737 is actually 29.468... % of 2501

    744 is actually 29.74... % of 2501


    and it's far from a mandate, like Huckabee got, because it was a 3-leader race.

    I still don't understand the (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:23:20 PM EST
    737 vs. 744. I thought it was a reference to the number of thousands of votes, but obviously that can't be because that would mean 1.5 million voted for the two. What do those numbers mean?

    Also, I disagree Huckabee was in a two leader race. What about Thompson and McCain? They didn't do well but they were top tier candidates the same as Huckabee and Romney.


    It's a reference to # of delegates (nt) (none / 0) (#6)
    by Addison on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:28:18 PM EST
    oh, those numbers (none / 0) (#7)
    by along on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:29:31 PM EST
    are the county delegates, or actually the estimation of county delegates.

    I don't agree that Thompson and McCain were top tier at all. I considered them solidily second-tier.


    they are not county delegate numbers (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:38:48 PM EST
    the NY Times clearly says

    The vote totals for the Iowa Democratic Party are State Delegate Equivalents, which represent the estimated number of state convention delegates that the candidates would have, based on the caucus results.

    State convention delegates are different than county convention delegates -- the process is caucus, then county convention, then state conventions.

    See this link.


    Oh I'm sorry (none / 0) (#10)
    by along on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:49:19 PM EST
    I got it mixed up. there are so many levels.
    yes, those are state delegates, which numbers will be used to determine the NATIONAL delegates, beginning in April. Those are the 16 15 14 numbers you have. I'm pretty sure those are still just estimates.

    no problem (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:57:39 PM EST
    the caucus-convention system is incredibly confusing. I just spent over an hour reading Colorado's to compare it to Iowa and I may as well have been reading Greek. And but for the little I learned in that hour, I wouldn't have known the difference -- despite the fact that I once was a county delegate here -- in 2000 I think. The county convention was such a bureaucratic nightmare that I left early and didn't even think about trying to go further.

    Jeralyn, will you be contributing (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:15:17 PM EST
    to BTD's "defense of Hillary" post below?

    not tonight (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:58:33 PM EST
    I'm immersed in this topic, sorry.

    a, b, c. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Addison on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:20:45 PM EST
    (a) The final delegate count for Iowa, w/ all delegates and superdelegates estimated and counted is actually:

    Obama 18
    Edwards 17
    Clinton 16

    Superdelegates can change their mind anytime they want, so Clinton's early (completely illusion and projected) superdelegate lead, should her implosion continue, would evaporate completely and probably go to Obama.

    (b) Clinton got something like 29.4% and someone must've rounded that up to 29.5%. And so you can't then round that up, again, to 30%. Edwards got something like 29.8%, so his got rounded up to 30%.

    (c) Obama beat Hillary by 8.5 points and Edwards by 8 points, and you don't think he ran away with it? Ok. Even if you feel like the "combine everyone else and this Frankenstein anti-Obama (D) would win!" argument is valid (it's not), the numbers polled in rinky-dink Iowa aren't the most important consequence of Iowa by a long shot. The momentum is. And try telling us he didn't run away with it there...

    he ran away with it (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:31:16 PM EST
    in the eyes of the media that's for sure.  And he got a big win in the vote numbers. But it doesn't seem to translate into delegate numbers that make much of a difference. And as to the non-committed delegates, there's no reason to count them for Obama. That's speculation.

    Your numbers are different than the New York Times which were updated tonight. You may be right, but those are the ones I went by.  If her number was 29.48, then you are right, she's at 29% and you wouldn't bump her twice. I guess I'll go search for a link to results showing in the hundredths -- but if we're down to that, my point still seems valid that there's almost no difference between Edwards and HIllary.

    Momentum can change in a heartbeat. One gaffe or false move by any candidate, if played 24/7 by the media and broadcast on you tube, could do him or her in. Hillary's less likely in my opinion to make that gaffe because she's the more experienced public speaker.


    According to MSNBC (none / 0) (#11)
    by andreww on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 10:53:41 PM EST
    when you break the delegate numbers down to actual voters, obama's win was more like 15% over clinton.  I haven't been able to find these numbers and will keep looking.  But this spin job you are trying to pull by bringing everything up to the national level is crazy.  Obama's win last night was huge by any measure.  Those delegate counts change anyway because it's likely someone will drop out.  Is it possible that Edwards' delegates could go to Hillary if he drops out?  Sure.  But that doesn't mean she won Iowa.  However, it's this exact reason that no matter how many primaries and caucuses Obama wins, I won't believe he has the nomination until the convention is over.  I wouldn't put it past the clintons at all to try and get edwards out of it and then strong arm the party faithful to vote for hillary at the convention in an attempt to steal the election.

    listening to Edwards on Countdown tonight (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 11:01:40 PM EST
    I wouldn't be surprised if he threw his support to Obama. He had nothing but praise for him as the "only other change candidate" while he blasted Hillary a few times as "status quo." Of course, I don't agree.  They are all centrists and none of them will bring about the kind of change I want. That said, I want the Democrat who can win in November, so yes, I'm looking at what Iowa means nationally and it seems to me, not much -- except for the ephemeral "momentum" which as I said above, can change on a dime.

    For what it's worth... (none / 0) (#15)
    by andreww on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 11:16:37 PM EST
    ...while it drives me a little crazy that you seem to support hillary no matter what; I'm a new member and thoroughly enjoy the banter - so thanks.  Back to the subject - in all seriousness - what would have had to happen for you to think Obama's win was convincing?  I ask this considering that he won the "popular vote" by 15% and the county delegate vote (i think that's right) by 9%.  What would have been a convincing margin to you?

    it's not the size of the win (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:38:32 AM EST
    I'm questioning, it's the effect.

    As for supporting Hillary, since you are new here, you should know that while I've made no secret that I favor her and Edwards over Obama, I haven't endorsed either. I don't think Obama is experienced or tested and I don't trust his vague promises of "hope, change and optimism."  I'm so sick of those words, what do they mean specifically... what agendas does it means he supports or will introduce the other two won't? I'm also not particularly concerned about corporations and lobbyists -- they aren't my issues or particularly relevant to this blog. I've read all his policy papers that he puts out at campaign events. There's nothing new in them that Hillary and Edwards aren't also advocating. And Obama stresses compromise with Republicans too much for my taste. I don't want a united red-blue state America. There's important differences between the parties and I want Democratic policies and values to prevail -- I have no interest in seeing them diluted so we can all get along.

    If Obama's the nominee, I'll support him because I want a Democrat to win. But he's not my first choice -- he's my third choice.

    I'm also not a Hillary cheerleader. See my newest post I just spent the last two hours researching and writing  about how the breakdown of results in Iowa could spell real trouble for Hillary in South Carolina.


    This is a real test of instant runoff voting (none / 0) (#16)
    by jerry on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 11:31:05 PM EST
    I've never paid too much attention to the caucus process before, what strikes me as most interesting Jeralyn, is precisely the "second choice" vote.

    In fact, we heard Obama explicitly calling for people to feel free to vote their commitments on the first choice, but to give him the second choice.  It seems a pretty wise statement on his part now.

    After 2000 and Florida and again in 2004 and electronic voting, many people started discussing other ways to choose candidates using instant runoff voting and similar techniques.

    The past few days a lot of people have made fun of the complexity of the caucus, but I actually have a much deeper respect for it since it does seem to embody what people have been talking about with regards to instant runoff voting.

    It would be nice (I encourage you to) to raise this issue up in the blogosphere.  Perhaps in 2012 and 2016 we can have instant runoff voting used in other states in one form or another.

    interesting point (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:45:22 AM EST
    I was reading earlier that the caucus convention system is so bad only 7 or so states still have it (one of them being my state, Colorado.) The others abandoned in droves during the past few decades (or years, I can't remember which now.)

    So I don't think states are close to moving towards more caucusing. I can't find the link now, but it was a long article reprinted on about.com. Maybe there's another way to do run-off voting, I haven't looked at that yet, but I'll try to soon.


    here's the link (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:56:09 AM EST
    Not like Huckabee? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ramo on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:35:22 AM EST
    Huckabee and Obama won by nearly identical margins (9% and 8%, respectively), and Obama won by a similar margin in the entrance poll (without second place voters).  Your attempt at diminishing Obama's victory is completely absurd.

    If this had been Clinton (none / 0) (#20)
    by katiekat489 on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:49:23 AM EST
    we would be hearing how she ran away with it and how she just beat the pants off the other candidates.There would be such a huge hurrah for her---but instead it is an analysis of how he really did not get almost nine points.Got it he is not the one of choice but at least spend one day giving him some credit.Who needs the repugs?It will be fed to them if it is any Dem but the annoited inevitable one- so here we have a whine-a-thon about how Obama is just not really a winner just lucky-

    We did showcase his win (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 01:01:49 AM EST
    yesterday. I even asked Talkleft's graphic artist, CL, to make a specially nice graphic for Obama last night while I was still in Iowa and I added it to Big Tent's post announcing his win.

    yes, you did (none / 0) (#26)
    by Judith on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 06:21:06 PM EST
    but people who want to whine will always find a way to do it.

    It's the "if you arent for us you are against us" mentality that is so unattractive.

    I appreciate that both you and Bug Tent are pretty fair and I never feel strong armed here to go in any particular direction - not be the hosts of the site, anyway.


    Bug Tent? (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 06:35:50 PM EST
    Nice, and I thought he was the king of typos.

    Signing off now (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 01:03:36 AM EST
    It's late and I'm pretty exhausted from the trip to Iowa. I'm going to unpack finally and get some sleep. Thanks for all your comments, including you Obama supporters.

    The Huckster Report (none / 0) (#24)
    by MSimon on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 06:48:50 AM EST
    Just to make things perfectly clear. I'm a libertarian leaning neocon Republican. However, I thought you might like to hear the rumblings from my side.

    If the Huckster gets the nod he is not going to get the Mormon vote. Or the Republican Jewish vote (me). Or Republican Jewish money.

    About 2/3s of Republicans are not happy with the Huckster and it looks like the Republican coalition is in trouble this year. The only guy with appeal to the fisc-cons, the federalists, the neocons, and the socons - Fred (my guy) - is stumbling badly and is on his last legs. I'm hoping for a surprise, but I doubt I'll get it.


    On your side I saw here that Obama got the a Prison Guard Union endorsement.


    We are so screwed. The American Gulag will be kept full and enlarged. So what else is new?

    Just Back From Iowa (none / 0) (#25)
    by sethblink on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 08:51:26 AM EST
    I just got home from Iowa, where I campaigned (for Obama) and got to sit in and observe a caucus (bizarre, and in the case of the one I saw, very poorly run).

    A few comments about delegate count vs. vote count; the use of 2nd choices; whether Obama's victory was as impressive as Huckabee's; and whether the margin of victory was significant.

    1) The Iowa caucus structure is very confusing, for Iowans as well as others. I wondered going in, what would be considered the most important numbers... state delegates, projected national delegates or individual voters. Clearly the answer is and has always been individual voters. Total votes is the way the media, the public and the candidates themselves gauge the effectiveness of the campaigns. So, while the respective campaigns do consider delagate count, total number of votes is THE number and everybody knew that going in.

    By the way, even though it seems the difference in national delegates is small, the first thing they have to do is send delegates to a state convention and there, the difference is pretty much consistant with the voter count.

    2) The use of second choices is unusual, but considering that they are the only caucus or primary where all the candidates will be running, it kind of makes sense. Five days after Iowa, New Hampshire voters will not get to vote for Biden and Dodd, or if they do, they know their votes "don't count." So, Biden and Dodd supporters in New Hampshire will be, in effect, voting for their second choices. By the time we get to Super Tuesday, so too might Richardson supporters.

    Conjecturing how candidates would have done had this not been allowed is beside the point, because had it not been allowed, candidates would have campaigned differently and some voters might have voted differently. If you want to consider "what ifs," consider what the impact would have been on Huckabee's victory if Iowa insisted that caucusers register and declare their allegiance prior to January 3. How many Republicans and Independents, finding themselves in the Republican caucus instead of the democratic one, might have changed their vote to Ron Paul, who opposed the war, or Mitt Romney, who is less socially conservative than Huckabee?

    1. Huckabee had a bigger lead over his field, by percentage than Obama did. But Democratic turnout was nearly twice the size of Republican turnout. And since all voters in Iowa have right up until caucus hour to determine which caucus they wish to participate in, it would be fair to compare the numerical totals of each candidate, in which case Huckabee finished a distant fourth, with about half the total votes of Obama. The Huckabee story is newsworthy, because he is a quirky candidate who staged a late charge spending almost no money. But it's not as significant as the Obama story. Not nearly.

    2. How big is the the Obama margin of victory? Enormous. 38 may not sound like so much more than 30, but it's a quarter again larger. If you're 5'8" stand next to somebody who is 7' tall and tell me if he seems much taller than you. That (as a percentage) is how much more 38 is than 30.

    A month or more ago, stories came out that Obama was engaging in the "risky" strategy of wooing traditionally unreliable young voters, and those who had never caucused before, including independents and cross-over Republicans. That this unorthodox strategy worked perfectly should reflect well on a candidate whose experience and electability has been questioned.

    The numbers roughly matched the Des Moines Register poll, both in percentages and voter turnout, and all the campaigns (including Obama's) were declaring those numbers unlikely. One campaign said a turnout of 200,000 would be revolutionary and another said it would defy historical precedent. The actual turnout was nearly 230,000.

    6) Take these numbers and shuffle the names and they are still significant. Had Edwards been the 38, everybody would have declared his strategy of frontloading everything for Iowa to be brilliant, money would be pouring in now for the rest of the campaign, and people would be whispering that perhaps America ISN'T ready for a female and/or minority President.

    Had Hillary been the 38, pundits would be declaring the race over. She's been the favorite since she declared and she went into Iowa with leads projected for NH, Nevada, NY and California. 38% for Hillary would have been a first round knock out.

    This margin of victory for Obama is not just news, it's history. The county I was in was largely conservative, largely Republican, and 100% white. The caucus I attended had an average age well over 40, was 50% female and 100% white and an overflow crowd went for Obama.

    Because Obama has been a strong contender from the start and because he was projected to do well in Iowa, the importance of this event might not seem as significant as it is, but two weeks ago, Chris Matthews called a potential Obama victory in Iowa the biggest political story in America and that's exactly what it is.

    Our next President will be a man of mixed parentage; whose grandfather was a Kenyan goat herder and who lived some of his formative years in Indonesia; whose middle name and last name not only sound Muslim but are almost identical to those of two of our sworn enemies.  For a country that has had such a lack of diversity in the White House, and whose lack of understanding of the rest of the world has had a profound negative impact on world events, this is a story of enormous proportions.

    Those of us who believe in Obama have known for a while that he not only should win, but that he will win. On January 3, that became clear (if not as a certainty, then certainly as a possibility) to the rest of the country. It's a day that will be talked about in history books.