Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Popular Vote Totals: Michigan and Florida Factor

There's finally some buzz in the media about the issue of Florida and Michigan disenfranchisement. The Florida and Michigan Votes do not appear to shift the delegate count to Obama by my earlier calculations but it is true that if you count - as they stand now - the Florida and Michigan votes Clinton is actually beating Obama in the popular vote by a very narrow margin.

The issue of disenfranchising Florida and Michigan is, as we have noted before, a terrible defect in the Democrat's primary process although it also seems unreasonable to simply give Obama zero votes in Michigan and the relatively small Florida number which is partly because he did not campaign in Florida. Obama was not even listed in Michigan. That said, even if the election had been held on the "sanctioned" date so the delegates would count, it's likely Clinton would have won Florida handily and probably Michigan as well.

Here is a great chart of the popular vote totals from RealClearPolitics

Given that there is not a good alternative, what is the right answer? Both Obama and Clinton appeared to see strategic advantage in this approach, which is why we had no protests from either at the time. Are the rules more important ... or the votes?

I think the clear answer is a revote in these states. This was the right answer in 2000 when Gore would have won Florida had voter intention been properly measured but was not due to defective Butterfly ballots in Palm Beach County.