Quick: How Many Delegates Does Hillary Clinton Have?

The views expressed are the author ’ s own and not neces­sar­ily those of the Bren­nan Center for Justice .
It all star­ted inno­cently enough. I wanted to know how many deleg­ates Hillary Clin­ton and Bernie Sanders had won. I was inter­ested in the sum for both the pledged deleg­ates and the “ super­deleg­ates. ” in other words I wanted to know the number of “ pledged ” deleg­ates each candid­ate won in a caucus or in a primary and who are expec­ted to vote for their candid­ate on the first ballot, adenine well as those myster­i­ous “ super­deleg­ates, ” party offi­cials who can leap over a candid­ate in a one jump and vote however they wish in Phil­adelphia .
little did I know you need degrees in polit­ical science, stat­ist­ics, and psycho­logy to in full under­stand the Demo­cratic nomin­a­tion march and the passion­ate argu­ment that has broken out about it .
even the experts are confused :

Differ­ent Sources, Differ­ent Counts*

Turns out the “ author­it­at­ive ” sources such as the Asso­ci­ated Press, CNN, Real­Clear­Polit­ics and FiveThirtyEight disagree about how many deleg­ates the candid­ates have won in primar­ies or caucuses or their support among super­deleg­ates. The numbers can change daily. In the two weeks I ’ ve been watch­ing them, the tallies have changed regu­larly, even though there haven ’ metric ton been any raw primar­ies or caucuses. Nor has there been a stam­pede of super­deleg­ates to one candid­ate or another. At one point, The Wash­ing­ton Post and FiveThirtyEight ’ s pledged deleg­ate counts differed by 21. They have since scrubbed their numbers and brought them closer together. In addi­tion, on a few sites, the numbers used in stor­ies don ’ triiodothyronine jibe with the numbers they use in their detail deleg­ate charts .
The author­it­at­ive sources even disagree about how many deleg­ates it takes to win the nomin­a­tion. Real­Clear­Polit­ics says 2,382, while A.P. and CNN say 2,383. FiveThirtyEight good ignores the super­del­gates ( whose support either Sanders or Clin­ton will need to win ) and says noth­ing about how many votes are needed to clinch the nomin­a­tion .
You might hope that the Demo­cratic National Commit­tee, nomin­ally over­see­ing the solid nomin­a­tion process, might provide some clear data. But no .
sol I opened up Excel and star­ted pulling some numbers .
Be warned : This is a fairly exhaust­ive expression at votes and deleg­ates that some may find exhaust­ing. You can barely skip to the subhead­ings of pastime .
The Popu­lar Vote
As of May 31, Hillary Clin­ton has 13,221,091 votes to Bernie Sanders ’ 10,340,549. Those numbers include the natural vote counts from the caucus states with the excep­tion of Wyom­ing and respective territ­or­ies which have not released natural vote counts. They do include Wash­ing­ton caucus numbers but not its elementary vote counts. Wash­ing­ton ’ south deleg­ate alloc­a­tion process is druidic, with candid­ate pref­er­ences calcu­lated to the third gear decimal item .
Popu­lar Vote Count by Caucuses and Open and Closed Primar­ies

The Deleg­ate Count
By my analysis, Clin­ton has 1,770 pledged deleg­ates to Sanders ’ 1,500. We ’ ll discourse super­deleg­ates late. See meth­od­o­logy below to learn how I resolved the conflict­ing numbers .
Deleg­ate Count by Caucuses and Primar­ies

now it gets despicable. If you ’ ve been on Face­book or Twit­ter recently you know that these numbers are not regarded as legit­im­ate by either side, espe­cially Sanders partis­ans .
The prin­cipal Sanders argu­ments are :

  • Sanders does better in open primar­ies because inde­pend­ents support him. If the closed primary states that Clin­ton won had been open to inde­pend­ents, Sanders would have the lead.
  • Caucus states are under­coun­ted or not coun­ted in the popu­lar vote. Even if we count the raw vote in caucuses (which was done in the Popu­lar Vote table above), there is still an under­count because turnout is low in caucus states. If caucus turnout had matched turnout in open primary states, and if Sanders had won those votes (in propor­tion to his win of the closed vote), he would be ahead.
  • Clin­ton will only win because of the support of super­del­gates, which is funda­ment­ally undemo­cratic.

And Clin­ton support­ers have their griev­ances :

  • Caucuses suppress voter parti­cip­a­tion and there­fore deleg­ates won through the caucus system are not repres­ent­at­ive of the will of the popu­la­tion-at-large.
  • Clin­ton needs more voters per deleg­ate than Sanders. He is actu­ally “over­per­form­ing” in the deleg­ate count given his propor­tional share of the vote.
  • Why should Sanders complain about super­deleg­ates when each candid­ate is pursu­ing their support regard­less of how each surper­deleg­ate’s state voted?

Let ’ s see if we can throw some facts at these conten­tions .
Open Primar­ies vs. Closed Primar­ies
The argu­ment about open versus closed primar­ies took off after New York ’ s April primary .
“ Three million people in the state of matter of New York who are inde­pend­ents have lost their justly to vote in the Demo­cratic or Repub­lican elementary, ” Sanders wailed at the time. “ That ’ s wrong. ” ( Sanders was kind of right. There are about 500,000 cross-file inde­pend­ents in New York and about 2.5 million voters whose affil­i­ation is blank. )
And boy, New York ’ s rigidly closed primary arrangement looks horrid. entirely cross-file Demo­crats or registered Repub­lic­ans can vote in each party ’ mho primary. And the dead­line to change party affil­i­ation is six months before the elec­tion. That dead­line monetary value Donald Trump his own chil­dren ’ south votes .
But many have ques­tioned whether Sanders sincerely has enjoyed an advant­age in open chief states. The data valid­ates the skep­ti­cism. Clin­ton has won 13 of the 19 open primar­ies. furthermore, her margin of victory in those open primary states has been higher than in close primary states. ( Sanders ’ winning margins in afford primar­ies have been slightly higher excessively. ) FiveThirtyEight has come to a alike conclu­sion using a differ­ent meth­od­o­logy .
output and Victory Margins in Caucuses and Open and Closed Primar­ies

On balance, Clin­ton does well in either type of primary. But caucuses ? It falls apart for her there.

Read more: Events Timeline

Sanders has performed very well in caucuses. He has won big and much in caucus states. Clin­ton has squeaked by in two. still, Sanders ’ support­ers complain that the 2.8 million popu­lar vote lead enjoyed by Clin­ton is distor­ted because caucus votes are under­val­ued or in some cases not coun­ted at all. For example, Real­Clear­Polit­ics ’ Popu­lar Vote score­board does not include caucus raw votes. As note, I included the caucus raw vote in my popu­lar vote run .
But some Sanders support­ers take the argu­ment far. They point out that caucuses have low siding. They argue that if caucus turnout matched that of primary states ( open or closed ), Sanders would garner more votes and Clin­ton ’ second lead would dimin­ish. They ’ ra correct, but it ’ s not enough to make differ­ence. While it ’ s true Sanders ’ vote sum surges about 20 percentage, from 10.1 million to 12 million, Clin­ton ’ south vote totals besides increase, from 13.2 million to 14.3 million. In the end, Clin­ton is still ahead by more than 2 million votes .
Projec­ted Vote Totals If Caucus States Had Open Primar­ies

Sanders support­ers ’ argu­ment is cock­eyed. ( I ’ ve indulged it anyhow ). It ’ s plainly unreal­istic to assume that caucus submit results would be the same had a caucus state used a primary system alternatively. Just take a expect at the haggle over Wash­ing­ton country ’ sulfur deleg­ates stopping point calendar month, which has immediately held both a primary and a caucus, if you want a screen of the propos­i­tion .
In any event, caucus voter turnout is stag­ger­ingly first gear. Aver­age turnout in a caucus state is 3.6 % of eligible voters compared to 15 % in primary states. Caucuses are the least demo­cratic method acting to gauge popu­lar will. With their require­ments that voters arrive at a specific time and then devote at least an hour to the process, caucuses exclude those with inflex­ible job sched­ules, kin respons­ib­il­it­ies or even those who just don ’ t have the time .
There ’ s no indic­a­tion from polling data that Sanders would do any better in a basal than in a caucus. Despite Sanders ’ popular­ity among millen­ni­als, over­all, his voters are less ener­gized than Clin­ton ’ south. Accord­ing to a March Gallup view, 54 % of Clin­ton support­ers were enthu­si­astic about their choice, compared with 44 % for Sanders. Wash­ing­ton ’ s exper­i­ment in both elementary and caucus vote demon­strates that Sanders might have even lost caucus states if they had used primar­ies rather. In fact, Clin­ton ’ s stand­ing with Demo­crats and “ Demo­cratic-Lean­ing Inde­pend­ents ” remains relat­ively senior high school at 66 %, accord­ing to late May Gallup data, with Sanders at 70 % .
Voters Needed Per Deleg­ate
Clin­ton support­ers complain that she has had to get more votes per deleg­ate than Sanders. They contend that because of vari­ous deleg­ate selec­tion rules, espe­cially in caucuses, Sanders is garner­ing more deleg­ates that he would be entitled to just based on his partake of the vote. In other words, Sanders is “ over­per­form­ing ” his vote totals. In consequence, Clin­ton support­ers are rais­ing the ghost of “ One Person, One Vote. ” They ’ re right. But not for the reas­ons they think .
Votes Received Per Deleg­ate Awar­ded

Yes, so army for the liberation of rwanda, Clin­ton has had to win more votes for each deleg­ate. While she has 56.1 % of the popu­lar vote, she only has 54.1 % of the deleg­ates. On aver­age, Clin­ton has 576 more indi­vidual votes per deleg­ate than Sanders. But compar­ing caucuses-to-caucuses or primar­ies-to-primar­ies, the differ­ence between the candid­ates in votes per deleg­ate does not exceed 10 %. If this were a “ one person, one vote ” case, that 10 % differ­en­tial would be regarded as de minimis .
This partic­u­lar Clin­ton complaint does, however, high­light how dispro­por­tion­ately caucus voters are rewar­ded. If the caucus system were ever chal­lenged in the Supreme Court on a “ one person, one vote ” basis ( not actu­ally a possib­il­ity ), it would about surely be struck down .
never even mind determ­in­ing how many “ unengaged ” or super­deleg­ates each candid­ate has ; there is no agree­ment on how many super­deleg­ates are out there. Accord­ing to a Janu­ary docu­ment from the Demo­cratic National Commit­tee, there are 716 super­deleg­ates. But two of the super­deleg­ate slots are vacant, leav­ing a sum of 714. That ’ s the phone number used by the A.P. But that does not mean that there are 714 super­deleg­ate votes. The 8 super­deleg­ates from Demo­crats Abroad each pay back ½ vote, or a total of four votes. That brings the super­deleg­ate vote sum to 712, which is the phone number used by Real­Clear­Polit­ics .
But the real issue with super­deleg­ates is not how you count them, it ’ randomness whether they should exist at all. Super­deleg­ates are an diss to a hard-and-fast demo­cratic candid­ate selec­tion march flush if they don ’ thymine ulti­mately over­turn the popu­lar will .
What would the count look like if super­deleg­ates were alloc­ated on the basis of the popu­lar vote ? I awar­ded Clin­ton or Sanders super­deleg­ates based on the propor­tional vote totals in the home department of state of each super­deleg­ate. then I did a separ­ate calcu­la­tion award­ing super­deleg­ates on a winner-take-all basis. hera ’ s the resultant role :
Super­deleg­ates Awar­ded on Basis of Popu­lar Vote

Under this system, Clin­ton would still come out ahead in the over­all deleg­ate count, but her lead would shrink notably. Currently, Clin­ton ostens­ibly has 500 more super­deleg­ate votes than Sanders. On a propor­tional alloc­a­tion footing, her super­deleg­ate lead would shrink to 31. And her over­all deleg­ate lead ( pledged and super­deleg­ate combined ) would narrow from 813 to 301 .
Unfor­tu­nately for Sanders, no matter how many plaus­ible – or implaus­ible – assump­tions you place into the mathematics, it seems closely impossible for him to win the Demo­cratic nomin­a­tion. And gener­ally, parties don ’ t take a hard look at their nomin­at­ing rules unless they lose a pres­id­en­tial elec­tion or two. The last meter the Demo­crats seri­ously examined their nomin­at­ing rules was in 1982, in a commis­sion led by Jim Hunt, Jr., the erstwhile governor of North Caro­lina. And that soundbox ’ s major innov­a­tion was the “ super­deleg­ates ” who are so frequently criti­cized today .
possibly the Demo­crats would be wise to re-exam­ine their nomin­at­ing rules regard­less whether the letters T-R-U-M-P ever hang from the lamp in the North Portico .
Meth­od­o­logy and Defin­i­tions:
How Did I Resolve Data Differ­ences Between the Sources : I compared the sites to determ­ine where they diverged. I then cross-checked and resolved those dispar­it­ies against the source data offered at the web site Green­Pa­pers. I obtained bare-assed caucus vote totals from The Wash­ing­ton Post .
Closed vs. Open Primary : I defined an open primary as any contest where unaf­fili­ated voters could vote in a party primary without chan­ging their affil­i­ation status. Data from Fair­Vote was used to assess each primary .
outfit : Data is from the United States Elec­tions Project. I calcu­lated Demo­cratic turnout for each submit, not combined Demo­cratic and Repub­lican turnout. To project the “ Full Turnout Caucus Vote, ” I assumed turnout in caucus states would equal the aver­age of turnout in Open Primary states ( 15.1 % ). I multi­plied this with the Voting Eligible Popu­la­tion and then alloc­ated those “ votes ” propor­tion­ately based on the caucus results in each state.

Super­deleg­ates : Super­deleg­ate calcu­la­tions were based on their beginning states. There are 716 super­deleg­ates in total. Of them, 561 are from states that have had a caucus or primary to date .
Territ­orial Caucuses : Raw vote counts were not released for three out of four of them. consequently, I did not do more detail psychoanalysis ( e.g. votes per deleg­ate ) for those contests .
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