Democratic Presidential Race: It’s All about Delegates

Question: What’s more important in the Democratic race for president: opinion polls, political pundit shows or the delegate count?Answer: The delegate count. If a candidate does not get the majority of delegates support after the first vote on the Democratic Convention floor, delegates will be released from their original preference and allowed to vote for whomever they please.

To watch the delegate horse race, a good place to go is the 2008 Democratic Convention Watch (Demconwatch) website, where the delegate and super delegate presidential preferences are updated daily.

The super delegate list is made up of Democratic National Committee (DNC) members, state party chairs and vice-chairs, Democratic governors, congressmen and senators, while the other delegates are chosen at state party conventions. Approximately 4,414 delegates will be voting at the Democratic National Convention.

Demconwatch editor Matt (who prefers to go by his first name) keeps a record of delegate support (graphs taken Sunday at 11am.) Interestingly, many super delegates have not publicly announced their presidential endorsements.

Matt keeps two different graphs on delegate count because it is unknown if Michigan and Florida delegations will be eventually allowed to vote on the convention floor.

“As part of the reforms instituted in the 1970s, Democratic Party rules do NOT allow pledged delegates, those elected in primaries or caucuses, to change their vote for the first ballot,” Matt explained.

However, the rule does not apply to super delegates. “While they may announce a preference, they can change their mind at any time,” he added.

A simple majority (50 percent +1) of all the delegates is needed to win the first delegate convention vote. If a presidential candidate doesn’t achieve that goal, all bets are off.

“After the first ballot, they (delegates) can vote for anybody,” Matt noted.

DemConWatch, also tracks Democratic convention news from national media and Democratic Party sources. The Democratic Convention is scheduled for Aug. 25-28 in Denver.

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Leslie Robinson

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