It looks like Hillary Clinton won by about a 10% margin tonight in Pennsylvania. She went in with a huge lead, and the Obama camp was able to win part of that back. However, in the grand scope of things, this is not a “winner takes all event” – as a matter of fact, at this point it is nearly impossible for Clinton to win the pledged delegate count.
So the pledged delegate count belongs to Obama (MSNBC might not call it, but I will 😉 ). Pledged delegates are responsible for about 2/3 of the total of votes needed for a candidate to win the party’s nomination. The other third is determined by party leadership (the superdelegates). It’s a rather undemocratic process for the party elite to basically determine the people’s candidate, but that’s how it is at least this time around.
Nobody really knows how the superdelegates are supposed to cast their vote. Some argue that they should vote based on their constituents’ will, or that of the popular vote. Others say that superdelegates know better than the general public about which candidate is better qualified to lead.
If Hillary Clinton wants to make up her current delegate deficit, she will have to make a case to the superdelegates to vote for her. Since she can’t really win the pledged delegate race, she’ll have to convince superdelegates that she leads in the popular vote among Democrats nationwide. This will be an uphill race, but not completely impossible.
I find the exit polls interesting: Obama wins among voters under 45, voters with college degrees, and independent voters. Hillary Clinton’s strong demographics include conservatives, and 58% of the voters who said race was an important issues. That’s right – a lot of people voted for Hillary Clinton because she is white!
My completely unscientific Zeke’s Gut Feeling™ rating for the Democratic nomination puts Obama at a 66% chance, and Clinton at a 33% chance. In the next month or so, look for Democratic party leadership, which has remained fairly neutral, to push superdelegates in one direction or another to save the Democratic ticket from the candidates, who are starting to hurt their own chances at winning the general election by giving the public (and John McCain) more reasons why they might not be qualified to lead the country. If this goes all the way to the convention, it’s gonna be ugly.