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The Weighted Popular Vote: Why Clinton Needs A Landslide

Hillary Clinton’s last hope to win the nomination is to emerge victorious in the popular vote and convince superdelegates to steal away Obama’s victory in pledged delegates. Right-wing pundit Robert Novak claimed about Clinton, "Her strongest chance is to win the nation-wide popular vote."

If the purpose of counting the popular vote is to provide a fair picture of the overall national voting, then it’s not accurate at all. What we need is a way to accurately measure the true popular vote. That’s what I’ve done in this spreadsheet with what I call the Weighted Popular Vote (WPV).

The WPV is very simple to calculate. I take the population of each state in the 2000 census, and multiply it by the percentage of votes each candidate gets in the state (excluding Michigan and Florida, since they have not yet held a valid vote). This allows us to compensate for the inevitably lower levels of voting in a caucus, since it is held at a particular time and lasts for a lengthy period.

There’s a big problem with the common measurement of the popular votes, since it disenfranchises the states which held a caucus. For example, Colorado (pop. 4.3 million) with 120,000 caucus voters, counts under the popular votes analysis for less than a third of the value of a much smaller state, Oklahoma (pop. 3.45 million) with its 417,000 primary voters. The weighted popular vote compensates for this.

So here are the results: by the WPV, Obama leads Clinton 110,761,104 to 98,744,197 (52.87% to 47.13%, a margin of 5.74 percentage points). By contrast, the current popular vote summary has Obama leading Clinton 51.38% to 48.62%, a margin of 2.76 percentage points (often reported as a 49-47 lead in most of the media). By the regular popular vote margin, Clinton would need to gain 720,000 votes to catch Obama. However, if we apply the WPV percentage margins to the number of current votes, Clinton would actually need to win by a margin of 1.49 million votes to equal Obama.

Read the rest of John's post here.