By The Numbers: 50, 43 and 24

Well, this is interesting.

From today’s Washington Post:

And despite widespread impressions that Obama is banking on unreliable first-time voters, Clinton depends on them heavily as well: About half of her supporters said they have never attended a caucus. Forty-three percent of Obama’s backers and 24 percent of Edwards’s would be first-time caucus-goers. Previous attendance is one of the strongest indicators of who will vote.

I note with amusement that the same Anne E. Kornblut who got it so so wrong in my previous diary today is coauthor of the piece quoted above.


Anyhoo, that ‘previous attendance’ number tells me the Iowa race is very much undecided, when you consider the other key piece of information:

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) draws support from 30 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, compared with 26 percent for Clinton and 22 percent for former senator John Edwards (N.C.). New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson received 11 percent.

Some simple math. Let’s say there are 100,000 primary voters. If 1/4 of the folks for whom this is the first time don’t show up, and the rest do, the voting would go down as follows:

Obama – (30% X 100,000) – (1/4 X 43% X 100,000) = 19,250 votes

Clinton – (26% X 100,000) – (1/4 X 50% X 100,000) = 13,500 votes

Edwards – (22% X 100,000) – (1/4 X 24% X 100,000) = 16,000 votes

This was just an example with 100,000 base voters. The relative math works the same regardless of the base number.

Not that I’m trying to pick a fight with Armando, but I really don’t think Edwards is quite dead yet. Neither is Obama, of course.

Note – I’m not some big time Edwards supporter, just a dude who’s getting drawn into following the horserace despite my better instincts.



  1. This is really getting interesting.

    I think the Democratic race might actually be more up for grabs than the Republican race.

    Rudy keeps getting stronger and stronger, while Obama is bouncing back and Edwards just won’t go away despite the wishes of Clinton and Co.


  2. not you, the campaigns…

    When working for the Kerry Campaign their were a few people that saw everything as a competition, if someone said they canvassed 100 people, these folks would claim they canvassed 250, trying to make an impression with those above them in the campaign.  Some of them actually would make an attempt to canvas that many, the problem was they were in such a ruch to get to the next one, they weren’t making a good impression and  actually ended up hurting the campaign.

    End result: Kerry was working with false numbers since the Primary.

    So, it’s a crap shoot IMO.  The campaign with the best technology, and most honest workers should prevail because they’ll be working with real numbers.

    Of course that excludes all of the mistakes their candidate can make between now and then.

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