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Thursday, February 19, 2004
Trying to Go Inside the Numbers

By Steven Taylor @ 11:17 am

While I have long understood the basics of the Democratic Party’s delegate selection process, I had not fully appreciated the insane complexity of it until I started to fix the errors in my own delegate count analysis from yesterday. I now understand why different news sources have different counts such as is listed here.

The bottom line is: it is rather difficult to get a perfectly accurate count, given that it is unclear where the news organizations are getting their data (such as WI, which shows an incomplete delegate allocation on the WI-specific page (which show 67 of the state’s 72 pledged delegates allocated) and their main grid, which indicates that 69 of the 72 pledged delegates have been allocated).

As another CNN story notes, rather correctly,

If you think federal income tax forms are complex, try understanding the presidential delegate selection process.

The precise manner in which the Democrats will choose their 2004 presidential nominee will be a logistical maze, with many twists and turns.

For example, check out the rules here (warning: PDF).

The bottom line is that at this point the any delegate count one sees is a estimate-an informed one, but an estimate nonetheless. I now better understand why the networks used to not report delegate counts early on in the primary process.

I do intend to re-do my analysis of the delegates, but it is a trickier proposition than I thought it was.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign
  • Outside the Beltway linked with Why Do They Call it the Democratic Party

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2 Comments»

  1. The mechanics of delegate allotment must have been invented by people who grew up solving those damn jigsaw puzzles where all the pieces were the same shape. I recommend a judicious amount of drinking and an uncritical willingness to utter the phrase “plus or minus 10 percent” when necessary. :)

    Moe “Fellow Sufferer” Lane

    Comment by Moe Lane — Thursday, February 19, 2004 @ 12:46 pm

  2. It makes sense that the people who love the idea of the IRS would have a nomination system of comparable complexity.

    Comment by Gary and the Samoyeds — Thursday, February 19, 2004 @ 8:07 pm

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