NC: An Obama Win May Gain Him Few Delegates

Update: The new SUSA poll out today confirms that delegate-wise, North Carolina is pretty meaningless:

There is no foreseeable outcome in North Carolina, regardless of which candidate wins the popular vote, where one candidate collects significantly more convention delegates than the other.

Therefore, the exact final vote totals have much more symbolic importance than real importance.


Congressional Quarterly (CQ Politics) says even if Obama wins North Carolina, he is likely only to gain 3 more delegates than Hillary at the District level. Of North Carolina's 134 delegates to the national convention, 77 are district delegates.

Despite Obama's eight-point advantage in recent North Carolina polls, CQ Politics forecasts a gain of only three district-level delegates in tomorrow's primary.


Based on an extensive analysis of the 13 congressional districts in North Carolina, CQ Politics projects that—out of the pool of district-level delegates that are up for grabs on May 6th—Obama will take home 40 delegates to Clinton's 37. In all, North Carolina will send 134 Democratic delegates to the national convention.

This is because North Carolina has an intricate way of computing district delegates.

Each of the state’s 13 districts is apportioned up to nine district-level delegates according to an intricate formula that takes into account each district’s vote for president and the vote for Democratic Gov. Michael F. Easley in the 2004 election.

CQ gives the breakdown by district. I'm just posting the Districts here as a reference point for following tomorrow night's returns, and bolding the ones they say have demographics most favorable to Hillary:

• 1st District (Northeast — parts of Goldsboro, Rocky Mount and Greenville).
• 2nd District (Central — parts of Raleigh and Fayetteville).
• 3rd District (East — Jacksonville, part of Greenville, Outer Banks).
• 4th District (Central — Durham, Chapel Hill, part of Raleigh).
• 5th District (Northwest — part of Winston-Salem).

The 5th District is the most rural in North Carolina. The largest R.J. Reynolds Tobacco plant is in the district in the town of Tobaccoville but much of the focus on tobacco production has turned other directions. Some tobacco farmers have converted their property to vineyards and wineries, and the Wake Forest University’s medical center has made health care a top industry in the district. Democrats have five district delegates in the 5th which means whichever candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote gets three delegates. Only 7 percent of the population in the district is black, and the sizable rural white population gives the advantage to Clinton. CQ Politics Prediction: Clinton 3, Obama 2.

• 6th District (Central — parts of Greensboro and High Point).
• 7th District (Southeast — Wilmington, part of Fayettevi
• 8th District (South central — parts of Charlotte, Fayetteville, Concord and Kannapolis
• 9th District (South Central — parts of Charlotte and Gastonia).
• 10th District (West — Hickory)
• 11th District (West — Asheville).

• 12th District (Central — parts of Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro
• 13th District (North central — parts of Raleigh and Greensboro).

As for Hillary superdelegates,

In addition to the 77 district-level delegates, 26 at-large delegates will be allocated to Clinton and Obama according to what percentage of the vote they receive statewide in the primary.

North Carolina also has 19 superdelegates. Three of the state’s seven Democratic House members have made endorsements in the race — all for Obama. However, Clinton achieved a major coup when the state’s popular Democratic Gov. Michael F. Easley endorsed her April 29. Both of North Carolina’s senators are Republicans.

< Not Good At Math | SUSA NC Poll: Obama By 5 >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Thsi is the same nonsense (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:28:50 PM EST
    we see in all the states. The nomination process is a travesty. An utter travesty.

    sheesh (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by oldnorthstate on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:37:14 PM EST
    no kidding.  what a mess.  

    maybe one day we'll pick our president by votes. but seriously, as long as we have the electoral college, we might as well have all of this other crap to go with it.


    Remember this? (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by OxyCon on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:36:18 PM EST
    "Obama Calls Out Super Delegates: "Party Insiders" Shouldn't Decide Race"


    Don't hear much about that anymore. I wonder why.

    I think he'd still stick. . . (none / 0) (#11)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:47:55 PM EST
    with that idea.  And his argument (or his supporters' argument) that the supers should simply ratify the pledged delegate result is in line with that statement.

    Well, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Iphie on Mon May 05, 2008 at 05:06:09 PM EST
    he (or his supporters) is trying to have it both ways. If they truly believe that, why haven't we heard them argue that point about the many SDs who live in or represent districts or states that Clinton has won? Senators Kennedy and Kerry come immediately to mind -- and if Clinton wins IN tomorrow, will Joe Andrews* be pressured to switch back?

    *Is that his name? I've forgotten already. I didn't know who he was before he publicly switched allegiances and trashed Hillary, and I'm having a hard time keeping him in mind a couple of days later.


    Do the democrats want to lose in the GE? This (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by FLVoter on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:43:26 PM EST
    system seems to guarantee a loss. In the end nobody will think it is fair.

    because it isnt (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon May 05, 2008 at 05:16:43 PM EST
    Ridiculous (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Steve M on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:50:58 PM EST
    This delegate system may serve many purposes, but picking a nominee is not one of them.

    an intricated way of computing district delegates (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:29:15 PM EST
    oh my aching head.
    even when it benefits my candidate this makes my head hurt.
    winner take all please.

    Amen to that! (none / 0) (#7)
    by angie on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:38:42 PM EST
    Whoever came up with this proportional plan should be drawn & quartered -- it seems designed to ensure just such a fustercluck as we've seen this year. For the love of all that is holy, next time let's have winner take all & primaries only (not caucuses).

    Proportional would be fine (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:41:02 PM EST
    if there were no caucuses or delegates. Get rid of the weighted voting and just count votes. If you really wanted delegates to go to the convention, you could apportion them by popular vote and let the candidates assign by state.

    I thought we didn't care about delegates (none / 0) (#3)
    by independent voter on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:32:49 PM EST
    anymore. Isn't the popular vote the only measure of the real winner???

    Oh, we care about delegates. (none / 0) (#16)
    by ChrisO on Mon May 05, 2008 at 06:17:29 PM EST
    Both Hillary and Obama would love to have won the pledged delegates outright, but unfortunately it looks like neither one will. So we go to Phase 2. Obama has the lead, and may well hold on to it. Meanwhile, his supporters are entirely caught up in the pledged delegate count, and seem unconcerned by the fact that he keeps losing badly in heavily contested elections within his own party.

    CQ is being conservative (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:36:55 PM EST
    I think, for example, that Hillary will get a 5:1 break in the 11th. But BTD is right, this system is absurd.

    Posted on the PPP NC thread (none / 0) (#9)
    by wurman on Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:42:49 PM EST
    My comment (#104) on the earlier thread is not that important, but this link may be useful; it is similar to but with a different take than the CQ comments.

    The key point is that the statewide percentage difference (i.e., the not-so-all-important popular vote total) between Obama & Clinton may not be that important since 77% of the delegates come from the congressional district results.

    primaries and party business (none / 0) (#15)
    by DFLer on Mon May 05, 2008 at 05:51:05 PM EST
    Well the system is certainly all over the place, state to state. hell...didn't even have to be a registered voter in the MN caucuses/ballot. Just needed to affirm: yes I'm old enough, yes I live in this precinct, yes I'm a Democrat. Word give - word taken.

    Problem is that caucuses and delegates systems are/were in place to carry out party business, throughout the year, and for all party candidates at every level. I don't see why non-party members should be part of THAT process. The party is then obligated to put their official resources behind the endorsed candidates and only the endorsed candidates. I don't see why non-party members should be part of THAT process either.

    A national primary...now that's whole different ballgame.

    spin (none / 0) (#17)
    by diogenes on Mon May 05, 2008 at 10:24:47 PM EST
    If both candidates split the delegates, Obama is the winner, whatever primary we're talking about.