# Delegate Math

The primaries have now entered the math phase. Romney is chasing the magic number of 1144, competing hard in every state to maximize his delegates. Gingrich now acknowledges that it is almost mathematically impossible for him to reach 1144, and admits his strategy has switched to denying Romney the magic number.  Santorum, at least publicly, says his goal is still to win the delegate race, but he has to nearly run the table to do so.

It has become a two man race.  Romney needs 649 to reach the line.  Santorum needs 892.  Whose strategy is still viable, according to the numbers?  Is Santorum playing to win, or is he secretly playing the spoiler role too?

The number of delegates still up for grabs is 1289.   However, just looking at the national number is useless, because of the mix of delegate allocation methods, so you have to drill down to the individual states.  So far, this race has hewed to demographic preferences fairly closely.  Romney wins urban/suburban, northeastern, and western voters.  Santorum wins rural, southern, and midwestern voters.  Because of that, it is possible to make reasonable predictions for the remaining allocation of delegates, and thus to assess whether each strategy is viable.

Below is my rough guess on delegate allocation for the remaining primaries.  I did not want to bias the outcome with too much subjective judgement, so I kept the methodology simple, as follows:

• If a state is WTA and leans fairly strongly towards one candidate, I gave that candidate all the delegates
• If a state is proportional, mixed, or direct, and leans strongly towards one candidate, I gave that candidate 2/3 of the delegates and the opponent got 1/3
• If a state is a toss-up, I gave each of the candidates half of the delegates
State Delegates Type Favored Santorum Romney
MO 52 nonbinding Santorum
PR 23 WTA ? 12 11
IL 69 Direct Romney 23 46
LA 46 Prop Santorum 31 15
WI 42 WTA* ? 21 21
MD 37 WTA* Romney 13 24
DC 19 WTA Romney 19
NY 95 Prop Romney 32 63
PA 72 Direct Santorum 48 24
CT 28 Mixed Romney 10 18
RI 19 Prop Romney 7 12
DE 17 WTA Romney 17
NC 55 Prop Santorum 37 18
IN 46 Mixed ? 23 23
WV 31 Direct Santorum 21 10
NE 35 nonbinding Santorum
OR 28 Prop ? 14 14
KY 45 Prop Santorum 30 15
AR 36 Prop Santorum 24 12
TX 155 Prop Santorum 100 50
CA 172 WTA* Romney 51 121
NJ 50 WTA Romney 50
SD 28 Prop Santorum 18 9
MT 26 nonbinding Romney
NM 23 Prop ? 12 11
UT 40 WTA Romney 40
Total 1289 527 649

Based on this data, I think it will be a squeaker. (Edit: data changed to reflect NJ as WTA, making it even more of a squeaker)  Romney will finish with 1120 1138 delegates, just 22 6 (!) votes short of the magic number.  However, don’t forget there are 126 “super-delegates” who can vote for anyone, and those people are overwhelmingly from The Establishment.

My estimate is preliminary and could be improved in several ways. First, perhaps I did not make enough distinction between the true proportional and the WTA/mixed primaries. Second, I did not allocate the delegates from nonbinding state caucuses because I don’t really understand the factors at play in who they eventually go to. Third, I did not look closely at polling in each state, just a general preference based on demographics, so I probably got some of the the favored states wrong. Fourth, some states lean stronger than others, so using a 1/3-2/3 allocation for each state may have been overly crude.  Frankly, I just didn’t have the time to spend doing an exhaustive analysis of each state.

So if anyone out there wants to improve on this estimate, please give it a shot.

Also, just so there are no suspicions of hidden agendas, I am a Romney supporter.  Where I was unsure on a state, I tried to lean towards Santorum, to cancel out my own bias.  But certainly my conclusions should be closely scrutinized by those favoring Santorum.

• Cowboy

and without even looking at your method you are going to be very close is my guess.

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/how-daunting-is-santorums-delegate-math/

• http://www.unifiedpatriots.com/ pilgrim

Romney gets all 50 delegates and falls 4 delegates short. There are five contests that do not have a WTA by district, DE, NJ, MT, UT, and Washington DC. The rest of it looks good, and the non-binding delegates of MT could take Romney over 1144 or not.

• lineholder

I live in NC Conservatives are a minority here. I haven’t seen any recent polling results within the state. If Santorum stays focused primarily on economic issues, he’d have a better chance of pulling in a win here.

What I see being a problem for NC is that the closer we get to the “inevitability of Romney” point numerically, the more difficult it could end up being to get people to turn out to vote.

• lapert

Last week PPP had a poll in NC with Romney leading with 31, Santorum with 27, Gingrich 24, Paul 8 so you are correct to be skeptical of a Santorum advantage there.

• Jack_Savage

A wild card could be the scheduling of the vote on Amendment 8 on May 28th (which is the GOP primary, right?). It is the Amendment which makes law that marriage is between a man and a woman.

I wonder how that will affect turnout and voting patterns – the anti-amendment activists are out in force around here…

• http://lukos.com Ed54

So I tried to lean a little towards Santorum in the favorables, to cancel out my own bias … if such a thing is possible

• lineholder

if Gingrich wasn’t in the race on May 8th, which primary day for NC, that most of his votes would go to Santorum, enough so that Santorum would win over Romney 42% to 38%.

Make sure you read the closing comments of the article about the opinion of Romney in swing states.

But it’s so depressing…Obama’s back up in the polls here.

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/03/obama-up-in-nc-primary-hinges-on-newt.html

• lineholder

It could draw in more voters than we normally see. I hope it does.

• jamesm

but we need to get the polls next week. Santorum’s numbers will go up nationally. This race has changed with Gingrich and Romney losses in Ala and Miss. Santorum will win California in June if Gingrich is a non factor which is highly likely.Illinois is a close election. Santorum will most likely win Wisc and Ind. There will be challenges on Florida and Arizona. Romney will most likely lose delegates. But at least you are trying to sort out this mess.

• http://lukos.com Ed54

to the extent that they influence voters in states with upcoming primaries.

Not so sure about California. Rasmussen poll on the 12th (before MS/AL) had Romney at 43, Santorum at 23, and Gingrich at 15. Note that Romney > Santorum + Gingrich. So even if every single Gingrich voter went to Santorum, Romney still wins, at least according to that poll.

• Cowboy

Santorum will not win california.

• http://lukos.com Ed54

I’ll make the edit.

• jamesm

, to make a guess. will change. Of course the state numbers will move. I am sure the California numbers will look nothing like the numbers you used to allocate 2/3rds of the states delegates to Romney. We live here. This primary is on June 6th. You could have used a SurveyUsa poll that had Romney 33, Santorum 31 and Gingrich 17 (Feb 8) Or PPIC had Romney 28, Santorum 22 and Gingrich 17. (Feb 28) Or at least average the polls to make a guess. But like I said good guess.

• jamesm

You will be surprised on June 6th. There are still lots of conservatives in California. I fully expect Gingrich to be a non factor

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

Carly Fiorina…

If Chuck DeVore couldn’t win the nomination with grassroots conservatives in 2010 in California during the T.E.A. party furor, ultimately losing to Fiorina (the epitome of fundraising establishment Republican squish)…

Then my presumption is you might lose that bet…

But what do I know… maybe we can get Neil Steven’s thoughts on this… I suppose he’d have some weighted measure to give us something to hash on about.

• honoraryintern

Thanks for pulling these numbers together. In trying to come up with a real number there has to be a realistic value assigned for the caucuses. I’m a caucus delegate in Colorado and we voted 70% for Rick. The stray Romney, Paul, and Newt supporters will be ‘culled’ for lack of a better term at the county caucus.

Iowa is a great example. The vote was split 60-40, Rick-Mitt. All the counts had Mitt getting 40% of the delegates. Reality seems closer to Mitt getting.none. same thing will happen here. The point is the ‘won” numbers are in flux from caucus states.

Thanks again

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

Look something that is being overlooked…

1. In order for Santorum to get 1144 and cinch… he’d have to win 66.6% (905) of all remaining delegates…. (not impossible)…

2. In order for Santorum and Gingrich to deny Romney 1144… they need to combine to get 51.4% (699) of the remaining unallocated delegates. (more likely than “not impossible”)…

3. In order for Romney to cinch 1144 he has to win 48.6% (660) of the remaining unallocated delegates.

4. If it were a 2 man race…and supposing Newt and Ron gave Santorum all of their delegates to Santorum and dropped out… Santorum would have to win 700 delegates to get to 1144 or (51.4% of remaining unallocated delegates)… leaving Romney 2 delegates short of 1144 in this hypothetical.

The best chance Santorum has of going into a convention with more delegates than Romney… is to not only have 3 candidates to remove Romney’s needed 660 to cinch rather than going head to head… The practicality of WTA, and remaining demographics notwithstanding, Santorum would do well to encourage Newt to stay in the race and assist him in gobbling up proportional delegates in states that aren’t demographically advantageous to Santorum…

538′s Nate Silver did a mock up pre-Alabama/Missippi of what remaining states would have to deny Romney the plurality:

Take it or leave it… everything in the “Not Romney” column either breaks for Santorum, Newt, Paul, in this hypothetical, or most likely Romney will win the plurality, and possibly the magical 1144.

• jamesm

Carly Fiorina was the nominee. Fiorina and Chuck Devore split the Tea Party vote. Sarah Palin endored Fiorina. Fiorina ran a much more conservative platform than Mitt Romney. You will lose that bet unfortunately.

• Melody Warbington (rwm52)

what Newt said in AL after the vote the other night. Does anyone really believe he hasn’t thought this through and calculated every possible way to keep Romney out at this point?

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

And I just turned this comment into a diary.

• jamesm

states if he stays in? Every indication/poll shows that it helps Romney by splitting the conservative vote.

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

You presume that TEA Party folks in California are conservative… but I’m telling you they’re more “fiscal conservative” or “libertarian/conservative”…

But hey… we all know what kind of a “jackass” makes \$10,000 hyperbolic bets over a petty argument… right?

• jamesm

of that three way. Thats the point. Conservatives win in California statewide primaries. Romney is not conservative and he will lose in California. Fiorina was a strong social conservative. Quit digging a hole. Who bet \$10,000? Read the post

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

An Excerpt:

The firm Public Policy Polling, however, has recently started to ask its respondents who they would support in a three-way race of Mr. Romney, Mr. Santorum and Mr. Paul, with Mr. Gingrich no longer on the ballot. By comparing the support levels in this question with those from the four-candidate ballot, it is possible to back into an estimate of where Mr. Gingrich?s supporters would go.

Performing this calculation and averaging out the results from the five states where Public Policy Polling recently asked this question (Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin and North Carolina), I came up with the following answer. Slightly more than half (57 percent) of Mr. Gingrich?s supporters would go to Mr. Santorum. About a quarter (27 percent) would go to Mr. Romney. The remainder (16 percent) would go to Ron Paul.

• jamesm

“About a quarter (27 percent) would go to Romney.”

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

I was just suggesting that your bet is not exactly sound…

As for digging holes, you seem to believe that Fiorina was more conservative than Chuck DeVore?

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

in the time it took you to respond to my comment…Stop jumping to conclusions…

• jamesm

Fiorina was very strong anti abortion. Very strong social conservative. (just like Santorum) Not everything is about money or fiscal issues only in Cal

• jamesm

and most Gingrich voters would flow to Santorum

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

With those qualifications in mind, this general result should hold: Mr. Romney would still be significantly ahead in the delegate count. I have him with 404 delegates versus 264 for Mr. Santorum and 71 for Mr. Paul.

Mr. Romney?s delegate total, in fact, is very slightly higher than it would have been before the redistribution of the vote. There are cases when the shift in votes costs him delegates, such as in winner-take-all districts, or when one of his opponents gains more votes and crosses a threshold that enables him to receive proportional delegates. But Mr. Romney is being given some votes under these assumptions ? if not as many as Mr. Santorum ? and that helps him in cases where the delegate allocation is more proportional. These factors came close to balancing out, but Mr. Romney gained about 10 delegates on net.

Mr. Santorum, however, made the larger gains, winning about 110 more delegates than he has taken in the real world with Mr. Gingrich on the ballot. He made up a net of about 100 delegates with Mr. Romney, although he still trailed him.

• jamesm

• honoraryintern

Justin, thanks for posting this additional comparison. The part the author ignores is in almost every state the winner gets a nod as having won . They are rewarded with a disproportional allocation even in proportional states.

Mitt has 50% of the delegates and has received approx 35% of the vote. The chart you posted follows a very proportional allocation.

Newt staying in gives all those bonus delegates to Mitt. The other piece unknown is Romney has a number voting for him because he is the ‘front runner’. If you go by MO that close to 10%.

Add up 60% of Newts supporters and the front runner voters and Rick is in the 55-60% range. Many proportional states give all their delegates to any candidate that receives over 50%. Newt staying only helps Mitt.

MA ‘conservative’ or a so-con that will make the rust belt competitive. How hard can that choice be?

The last point is the caucus states are anything but proportional, as they have been reported in almost all tallies posted so far. Its more like a civilized gang fight and the winner gets rewarded. The county caucuses in Iowa are done and Mitt will get no votes at the state level. Ron still has some supporters moving up.

I still suspect Newtonium does something to the math part of really smart people’s brains.

Rick can win this outright or at least be neck and neck with Mitt if Newt gets out. Newt still has a case for the nomination if that doesn’t happen.

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

this additional graphic is a hypothetical of Newt’s supposed “60% (57%)” going to Santorum from the beginning.

The difference was 10 delegates in the “proportional” situations… which favored Romney over Santorum… EVEN with the “supposed” Newt split.

Let me break this down simple…

Of the remaining races… Romney is more favored to get 50% or more in MOST of the remaining proportional states… and of the remaining WTA… Romney is likely to win less WTA of those that remain, but of the ones he’s more likely to win in head to head… it’s quite possible that Romney pulls off 1 or 2 upsets with his current carpet bombing strategy in a simple head to head matchup.

It’s a faulty notion that Santorum is stronger in a head to head against Romney except in areas where the demographics serve the social conservative appeal of Santorum.

On a side note, if my assumptions are wrong, then we should all have to presume one thing… Newt’s made a deal with Romney… isn’t that a scary thought?

• honoraryintern

Exactly what does 20 million buy?

• JSobieski

From this website alone, we know than many Newt supporters list Romney as their second choice as do many Santorum supporters.

The idea that all non-Romney first choicers are united in trying to stop Mitt is an inaccurate meme that both Rick and Newt use to their advantage, but simply itsn’t true.

There is nationwide polling out there to suggest that Newt staying in helps Rick—even in the WTA states.

Look at Alabama and Mississippi—-if they were WTA, Rick would win have won both despite Newt.

• Scope

in your analyses based on Nate Silver. I don’t know how he comes to his conclusions, however, the day before the AL and Miss. primaries, he gave Gingrich a high sixty something percent to win AL. He gave an equally high percentage to Romney to win in Miss. How did that turn out? I haven’t been reading all of his projections of the upcoming primaries he posts on the right side of his site, but he was way way off on AL and Miss. I also read a post he did talking about the polls. He said that any polling done more than 3 days before a primary were the most accurate polls, and anything further out than that were unreliable. Again, that thinking proved faulty in AL and Miss. He doesn’t seem to take into consideration the absentee and early voting results, which if someone votes by polls (idiots) than the earlier polls would be more accurate. I believe Santorum was leading in those polls before the final week or so.

I also read Silver’s analysis which he did to determine where Gingrich’s support would go if he dropped out. He determined that about 27% would go to Romney, about 10% would go to Paul (?), and the majority would go to Santorum. He also wrote that he believes Santorum is doing as well as he is with voters because he is connecting with them with his populist approach, more so than just voting against Romney.

It may be somewhat helpful to read Silver’s analysis for trends, but from what I’ve read of his he has been more than just a little inaccurate, and in some cases really way off.

To believe that Gingrich staying in the race helps Santorum, by accumulating any delegates in any states is exactly what the Romney camp wants. I’ve noticed that even Fox has not joined the chorus for Gingrich to drop out. I had Fox on for several hours yesterday just to see what they thought about Gingrich staying in, and as I expected, they did not call for Gingrich to drop out at all that I heard. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that with Gingrich staying in he keeps splitting the conservative vote, and Romney wins be default. We all have seen that play out in race after race down to House races, and on many occasions. In 2010, the VA 5th dist. race to unseat Tom Perriello, there were 7 candidates. One of the candidates was Robert Hurt, who was drafted to run, even after the field was pretty populated, by Eric Cantor. He received money from the R house funds. Toward the end there were two conservatives that no one could agree on, and those two split the vote in the primary, which gave Hurt the moderate the win by default.

With the majority of the states yet to go, especially with the WTA states, as long as Gingrich is still actively in the race he will draw votes away from Santorum, and Romney will win by default. Even in the proportional states yet to go, with Gingrich still in he can keep Santorum from getting over 50% in states where he is favored, and would pick up more delegates for getting to that threshold.

It will be difficult for Santorum to beat Romney with the delegate count, but, Santorum has the better chance of getting closer to the number than Gingrich. If the anti-Romney’s would coalesce around the one that the voters so far have chosen overwhelmingly over Gingrich, and put a concerted effort in to backing the candidate that has rightfully earned the chance for a two man race, Romney could be denied the outright win by default. With a closer number of delegates between Romney and Santorum, Romney may in fact lose some of his WTA delegates from Fla. and AZ.

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

Neither am I advocating for Mitt…

What I’m saying is… Santorum has to develop a strategy where he either wins 905 of the remaining delegates to win the nomination, or deny Mitt 660…by winning at least 750 himself to win a plurality(head to head)… and to just simply deny Mitt the 1144…with Newt and Ron…at very least 700.

It’s really that simple. Show me where Santorum gets 905 of the remaining 1358 delegates… or alternatively the “not Romney’s” gang up and prevent Romney from getting 660 of the remaining delegates by winning no less than 700 delegates collectively to deny Romney the magic 1144… Santorum can attempt to get that 700 on his own or with two other candidates siphoning Romney’s support in proportional races… get my drift?

I’m not saying that it’s impossible… but rather… unlikely to deny Romney 660 delegates with the remaining races in head to head matchup… but hey… what can I say…we’re both speculating with our best guesses… we’re in a “we’ll see”… I’m open to anyone showing me how Romney is denied 660, any way it can be done.

• Justin Spagnolo (standardcandle)

I’m trying to declare a warning… rather than to declare inevitability…

• honoraryintern

Lilting voice, little green guy with funny ears. All these ass-u-me (tions) center on everything being like it was. As of Tuesday this race changed. Voters will change with it.

Newt could have ended Mitt’s campaign by stating support for Rick in MI and OH. He didn’t. His actions will decide if he has conservative affection or disdain.

Did you read my eariler post? 1) causcus states are not going to help Mitt. Tallies show 6 Iowa delegates for Mitt he will get 0. Same will happen in other caucus states. 2) proportional is a claim not reality.we can’t go by 2008 as the rules have changed, but there is a premium that Mitt has received for being the winner. There is a bigger premium for getting over 50%. Another .5% loss with Newt running national advertising will play poorly with us, flyover country, repubs. 55% vote totals with ‘the premium’ put Rick winning or neck and neck in Tampa.

The guy who gets 35% of the vote will have a hard time in Tampa.

• jamesm

of the remaining states of how he can deny Romney the nomination. Every professional pundit agrees that Newt staying in helps Romney. Every analysis show that Santorum would get a larger portion of the vote if Newt suspended. All the rest is noise. Of course Newt want’s to stay. It is hard for him to drop out. He wants revenge against Romney

• honoraryintern

Draft the SA stuff above is sitting on my desk. The dark wizard plays with the Dark Prince. More later…

• garfieldjl

I got the e-mail yesterday.

He didn’t say which way is voting base would split. However, he already has sent out an e-mail with the summary.

• jamesm

..

• Scope

to your more later. Of course you do understand if you disagree with some others here, you are nothing but a fool. That’s fine, I’ll stick with being a fool any day of the week than to buy into the machinations for those that are so desperately trying to find justification for Gingrich staying in the race, for any reason other than hubris.

• honoraryintern

Dark Wizard and Dark Prince

• JSobieski

otherwise, I believe most tactical thinking is dependent upon the concept of existing in the present time.

I am more than happy to discuss better ways the North could have fought the Civil War or how Rome could have been saved.

• sulmak

and the same will be even more likely with future voters after Santorum took Mississippi and Alabama.

Newt getting out now would be a disadvantage in fully proportional states as long as at least some of Newts votes would go to Romney, even if it wasn’t a majority, because Santorum is very unlikely to get 1144 delegates in the first round. The most important thing for Santorum is that Mitt Romney Doesn’t get 1144 in the first round.

Semi-proportional states would vary on their rules and the proportion of Gingrich supporter’s with Romney as a second choice.

Consider a hypothetical state that, like Kansas, distributes most of their delegates proportionally among those candidates who meet a threshold, in the case of Kansas and our hypothetical state 20%

Lets say this state has a 100 at large delegates.

With Gingrich in the vote would be
Santorum 70%, Romney 19%, Gingrich 11%.

Thus Santorum would get all 100 delegates, since he is the only one above 20%

With Gingrich out the vote would be
Santorum 79%, Romney 20%

And since Romney would meet the threshold he would get 20 delegates to Santorum’s 80.

And thus it would be to Santorum’s clear advantage for Gingrich to be in even if Gingrich’s supporters favor even if 89% of them favor Santorum over Romney.

It is clearly a more complex issue than it first seems.