Inside Delegate Math: The Numbers

Using delegate projection software created by Matt Vogel, I ran a scenario yesterday showing how tough it will be for Hillary Clinton to catch up to Barack Obama's earned delegate lead.

Some of you have asked for my specific state-by-state projections.

So let's go state-by-state, again assuming that the full sanctions levied by the DNC are kept in place.

Ohio: Clinton wins by 4% and earns a net of 5 delegates

Rhode Island: Clinton wins by 10% and earns a net of 3 delegates

Texas: Obama wins by a net of 8% and earns a net of 15 delegates including those taken from the caucus portion of the contests

Vermont: Obama wins handily and nets 3 delegates.

We can fiddle with the numbers a bit, but winning by an extra percent in Texas is worth more than winning by an extra percent in Ohio. If Clinton wins by 8 percentage points in Ohio, she picks up a net of about 11 delegates compared to Obama's 15 in Texas. Let's be nice to Clinton and assume that she manages to eek out a win in Texas, giving her 3 extra delegates. For the day, she'd net only 8 delegates under this scenario -- with Texas and Vermont having cancelled each other out.

Moving on to Wyoming, let's assume, generously, that Obama only wins by 55%. He picks up 2 delegates. Then comes Mississippi. Let's assume the split is 60/40, Obama -- he picks up 7 delegates, and so -- since March 4 -- he's back up 1.

Flash forward to Pennsylvania, and let's assume that Hillary Clinton manages to win 60% of the vote in the state. She'll earn 32 extra delegates -- her biggest net gain so far.

I'll give the next two states and a territory to Obama -- by six points only each -- Guam (+0 net), Indiana (+4 net) and North Carolina (+7 net). Hillary Clinton has a shot to win West Virginia, which votes on March 13, so let's assume she wins by 10 points, earning a net of two extra delegates. Momentum carries over into Kentucky, which she wins by 10 points and earns five extra delegates. She's not going to win Oregon, probably -- Obama picks up six delegates there.

The June 3 primaries of Montana and South Dakota are probably Obama's: let's assume he wins them by 10 points, earning a total of 3 net delegates.

The last contest is the Puerto Rico caucuses, which takes place on June 7. Let's give Hillary Clinton an 80 to 20 victory there, giving her a net of 33 earned delegates.

So -- under these most rosy of scenarios -- since March 4, she'll have earned 520 delegates to Barack Obama's 461, having reduced his earned delegate total by about 80 -- or -- by about 60 percent -- but he'll still have a lead of approximately 100 delegates in total... and be that much closer to 2025.