Sunday, March 16, 2008

On the Minds of Superdelegates 5

this is my fifth in a series of 'what's on the minds of superdelegates and this one is action packed. the attention on the supers is heating up and we need to know who they are and what they're thinking. they will decide the contest, barring any major shift. the decision for them is also getting more complex. see my superdelegate tally in the sidebar, as well as add ons.

read on.

superdelegates are getting obstinate. the following set of blurbs are from a nyt piece:
Superdelegate Gray Sasser says he'll determine the "will of the people" - not your campaign.

"The will of the people is a very transitory term," said Sasser, an undecided superdelegate and head of the Tennessee state party. "The deciding factor for most superdelegates is, 'Who is going to be the best candidate to carry the Democratic banner?'"
"Hopefully they are not suggesting that any superdelegate who deviates from the will of the people is somehow acting inappropriately, because the rules were set up clearly to allow that level of discretion," countered Jerry Meek, a superdelegate and chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Meek told the Daily News that he and other superdelegates have been under "a lot of pressure" to "go along with the will of the people, however that's measured."

Measuring the will of the people may be more difficult than it sounds. Is it the number of pledged delegates? Or the final tally of the popular vote?

The two numbers don't always jive: Clinton handily won the Nevada caucuses, but Obama won more pledged delegates from the Silver State because of a weighted allotment system.

Obama now wields a nearly insurmountable lead in pledged delegates. But if Clinton has boffo showings in the Pennsylvania primary April 22 and nabs repeat wins in the re-do of Florida and Michigan, she could surpass him in the popular vote.

While many superdelegates said they intended to keep their options open as the race continued to play out over the next three months, the interviews suggested that the playing field was tilting slightly toward Mr. Obama in one potentially vital respect. Many of them said that in deciding whom to support, they would adopt what Mr. Obama’s campaign has advocated as the essential principle: reflecting the will of the voters.

Mr. Obama has won more states, a greater share of the popular vote and more pledged delegates than Mrs. Clinton.

the new york times did a poll of superdelegates:
A New York Times survey of superdelegates last week found that Mr. Obama had been winning over more of them recently than Mrs. Clinton had, though Mrs. Clinton retained an overall lead among those who have made a choice. Over the past month, according to the survey, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, picked up 54 superdelegates; Mrs. Clinton, of New York, picked up 31.

“If we get to the end and Senator Obama has won more states, has more delegates and more popular vote,” said Representative Jason Altmire, Democrat of Pennsylvania, who is undecided, “I would need some sort of rationale for why at that point any superdelegate would go the other way, seeing that the people have spoken.”

Mr. Altmire said he was repeating an argument that he made to Mrs. Clinton during a session at her house in Washington on Thursday night with uncommitted superdelegates.

“This was everybody’s worse nightmare come to fruition,” said Richard Machacek, an uncommitted superdelegate from Iowa, who said he was struggling over what to do.

In Ohio, Senator Sherrod Brown would seemingly have an easy task. Mrs. Clinton won his state by 10 points. If the nominating fight had to be resolved by party leaders, wouldn’t he side with her? Not necessarily.

“It’s the overall popular vote, it’s the overall delegates, it’s who is bringing energy to the campaign, it’s who has momentum,” Mr. Brown said. “It should be wrapped up before the convention, and I think it will be.”
Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, is not wringing his hands. “I don’t see the problem,” he said. “People complain and criticize each other, and then they always work it out.”
But Eileen Macoll, a Democratic county chairwoman from Washington State, is expecting something different — and not exactly looking forward to it. “I think it’s going to go all the way to the floor,” Ms. Macoll said. “We will take the vote and that will be the nominee. We’re going to see that happen.”
“It think it has got to be brokered before the convention,” said Bill George, the head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. in Pennsylvania. “I think there should be a couple of people — maybe Howard Dean and Al Gore, they have some credibility — to do it. Dean should call a meeting, and the two camps should be forced to do it.”

When asked how, Mr. George just laughed. “I just think the two campaigns have to do it,” he said. “I think we lose credibility in America if we let some group come in and do it.”
But David Parker, a superdelegate from North Carolina, was not about to give much deference to any political leader in a contest that was of such consequence. “I don’t think too many people are going to listen to Howard Dean unless he appointed them,” Mr. Parker said. “The D.N.C. is not some monolithic group that is going to move as a body.”
“Barack’s impressive showing in our state is attractive to me,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, where Mr. Obama beat Mrs. Clinton two to one in the popular vote last month. “If somehow 200 superdelegates decide this, it will be problematic.”

And there were indications that Mrs. Clinton is facing some questions among the superdelegates about her electability and her potential effect on other Democratic candidates in November.
“A key question to me is how the candidates would affect the down-ballot races,” said Steven Achelpohl, the Democratic state chairman in Nebraska. “I think Obama would have a more positive impact on our other races out here in Nebraska.”

As of Friday, Mrs. Clinton claimed 254 superdelegates, and the Obama campaign said it had commitments from 213; the figures provided by the campaigns differed somewhat from those tallied by The Times.

Mr. Obama has won 1,367 delegates in primaries and caucuses, compared with 1,224 for Mrs. Clinton, based on a count and projection by The Times. A candidate needs 2,025 votes to win the nomination.
There are 246 superdelegates who are not listed by either campaign as supporters and are viewed as uncommitted. Of those, 107 are from states where Mr. Obama won nominating contests, compared with 83 for Mrs. Clinton. An additional 56 come from states that have not yet voted.

Of the 246 uncommitted superdelegates, 75 are women, 10 are governors and 100 are in Congress. So far, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are relatively even when it comes to competing for elected officials; Mrs. Clinton’s overall advantage among superdelegates has come from current and former party officials, reflecting the ties she and her husband have built over the years.

Some argued that the fighting between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama was good for the party, by keeping the candidates in the news and energizing Democrats. “People are just enthusiastic about their candidates — I don’t find any rancor here,” said Jennifer Moore, chairwoman of the Kentucky Democratic Party.
The superdelegates said in interviews that more than anything they wanted the contest resolved before Democrats assemble in Denver at the end of August.

“Every day that this continues, people can surmise that this is going to the convention in Colorado and it could be decided by the superdelegates,” said Gov. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the head of the Democratic Governors Association. “There is not a superdelegate that I have spoken to who wants that to happen.”

and there are some superdelegate spots that are up for grabs:
Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are eager to court the eighth superdelegate from South Dakota, one of the 796 officially uncommitted voters at the Democratic convention whose support could put either of the candidates over the top in the race for the party's presidential nomination.

There's just one problem: The state's last superdelegate spot is empty, and won't be filled until June.

"Any Joe Democrat or Jane Democrat can apply," said Rick Hauffe, the state Democratic party's executive director.

Indeed, while the candidates focus their attention on the remaining 10 primaries, beginning with next month's in Pennsylvania, a parallel process to pick the remaining superdelegates is unfolding that could have an equally important impact on the race.

here's a recent obama superdelegate:
A local superdelegate has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president, Obama's presidential campaign announced Friday.

Melissa Schroeder, a Merrill resident and secretary for the Democratic Party in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District, had said she would not make a decision until after the state's Feb. 19 primary. Obama won 58 percent of the vote in Wisconsin to rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's 41 percent.

chroeder said Obama, D-Ill., would be the unifying candidate who could win the November general election.

"When all was said and done, I felt Obama was more electable," Schroeder told the Wausau Daily Herald. "He's going to be a unifier, and he will win over Independents as well as Republicans."

As she debated her decision, Schroeder said she fielded periodic phone calls from supporters of both Democratic candidates. After the March 4 primaries in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island, however, Schroeder said she did not receive a call from either campaign.

"It was a process I went through without any persuasion," she said. "They pretty much left me alone for awhile."

Obama’s Superdelegate Momentum
new: demconwatch will be tracking those superdelegates that will back the delegate leader.

Who Can Beat McCain?
On the Minds of Superdelegates 1
On the Minds of Superdelegates 2
On the Minds of Superdelegates 3
On the Minds of Superdelegates 4