Updated: The race goes on

By Clive Crook

In the spirit of my previous post, I'm not much interested for now in the elected-delegate count. I'm trying to keep tabs on the popular vote, on the theory that this will carry great weight with the superdelegates. As I write, only two-thirds of the Texas votes are in, but it looks as though Obama might eke out a narrow win there, to set against Hillary's comfortable--though not crushing--win in Ohio. In terms of the popular vote, Vermont and Rhode Island will roughly cancel out. My back of the envelope (please don't hold me to this) says that Hillary is on course to win a little over 53 percent of the votes cast on Tuesday, trimming Obama's overall lead on that measure from roughly 900,000 to around 600,000. If she performs this well in the remaining primaries taken together, she would just fail to win a majority of the popular vote--excluding Florida. Add Florida back in, and she is almost exactly on schedule to tie the popular vote.

Whatever happens, she is not going to have a majority of elected delegates by the convention. But if she does as well as she did tonight or better for the rest of the nomination race, and if you count Florida (but not Michigan), she will have a case to put to the superdelegates. So the race goes on--and without a doubt it will be an increasingly bitter one.

All in all, a good night for Republicans.

Update:

Hillary is projected to win Texas narrowly. Let's say 53.5 percent of the popular vote, reducing Obama's lead to a little under 600,000. A further boost to morale and momentum, of course. But I think the rest of what I said stands.

Further update:

As I retire for the night I notice that the popular vote tally now puts Hillary ahead of Obama, so long as you add both Florida and Michigan (where, you recall, Obama was not on the ballot). Including Florida but not Michigan, Obama is about 300,000 votes ahead. Excluding both Florida and Michigan, he is a little less than 600,000 votes ahead.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2008/03/updated-the-race-goes-on/8499/