Sean Oxendine is right:
It has become something of a pastime among polling geeks like myself to use Jay Cost's primary vote calculator to predict the outcome of the Democratic race. Most who have played with it have come up with some kind of scenario where Hillary leads in the popular vote.
And he then provides an introduction:
Now, I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but a few days before Jay's calculator came out, I had my own estimate coming to this conclusion. But this calculator provides some more concrete ways of estimating the popular vote. Let's look at this in more detail (especially given all the calls for Hillary to drop out).
Before we do a state-by-state assessment, people who followed me from myelectionanalysis.com know about my obsession with political geography. In case you didn't know, I've hand-programmed maps for every congressional election going back to 1972, with about half the states going back to their origins. I love maps and their use at displaying political data. This Hillary-Obama race gives a perfect opportunity to analyze along these lines.
And he then gives a very detailed analysis. You might not agree with him, but you can't dismiss his effort. And his guesses and estimates:
Pennsylvania: 80% turnout, 16-point Clinton win.
Indiana: 8% Clinton win.
North Carolina: 12-point Obama win.
West Virginia: 30% Clinton win.
Kentucky: 20% Clinton win.
Because there are no recent polls, he goes with Cost's defaults of 10-point Obama wins in Montana and South Dakota, and a 5-point Obama win in Oregon. He also goes with Cost's default of a 25-point win for Clinton, in Puerto Rico.
Now, we can all fiddle with the numbers, and I haven't yet plugged my own guesses into Cost's calculator; but Oxendine doesn't seem far out of the ballpark, anywhere. His conclusion?
All told, this gives Hillary around a 100K margin of victory, using Obama's best count system (use caucus estimates, don't us FL or MI). In truth, I think the best system credits FL -- both were on the ballot, neither campaigned, and even though the delegates don't count, the votes were still cast. Under this count, she wins by almost a half million votes -- exactly Gore's popular vote win over Bush.
And therein lies the rub. Are the Democrats, who still feel victimized by 2000, going to go with the person who very narrowly won the bizarre system of delegate allocations? Who won because of Texas' primacaucus, and the refusal to seat FL and MI?
But then again, are they going to not nominate the AA who won the most delegates? Or will they gamble on the notion that AAs will still turn out Democrat, or will at worst stay home, while the women and blue collar Dems who supported Hillary might really vote for McCain?
It's a mess for Democrats under that scenario. I don't know what the Superdelegates will do. Heck, we don't even know who all the Superdelegates are at this point! But she has a reasonable pathway to get to this point. And once she gets there, it is anybody's ballgame.
And that's the point. If Oxendine is close to accurate, Clinton can take a solid popular-vote argument to the superdelegates. How that would be resolved is anyone's guess, but the will of the people has not yet been determined, and Clinton still has a legitimate shot to claim she has won it. That doesn't mean such a claim will also win her the nomination; but if it does, such a win would be reasonable and valid. Given the rules, however, it also means that even if she does win the popular vote, an Obama nomination would also be reasonable and valid.