Popular Vote


Noting that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be able to present arguments that they have won the "popular vote" (who won depends on how you count), Ed Kilgore observes "The two things no one can deny is that it was, in retrospect, an awfully close race, but one in which Barack Obama will finish with a lead in pledged delegates, and barring some implosion in his general-election standing, the nomination."

All true. But given that the popular vote has no official standing, for an unofficial assessment of how Democratic voters feel about things it is instructive to look at the national polling. Here things are pretty close, but Obama's held a decisive lead for a long time. Roughly speaking, it seems to be the case that some of the states that voted for Clinton on February 5 now prefer Obama. So the person who wins the nomination by delegates will also be the person who most Democrats prefer. And that's as it should be. No doubt, had things gone different earlier in the campaign with Clinton moving out to a decisive lead in delegates, the polling would have coalesced around her, too. But that's what happened, and as things stand now there's a clear majority for Obama.