Counting the Delegates

The Wall Street Journal updates the delegate totals. The problem is that nobody agrees on how to count them:

At least five different news organizations are tracking delegate counts, and as this blog and others noted after Super Tuesday — and others pointed out earlier in primary season — the numbers have been all over the map. By Friday, the Associated Press’s count (used by The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and others), was scoring Ms. Clinton ahead, 1,045 to 960. CBS News had a Clinton lead of 1,069 to 1,001; at ABC News, it was 1,069 to 990; and CNN called it 1,037 to 933. Meanwhile, NBC News had Mr. Obama in the lead, 861 to 855…

The biggest discrepancy is between NBC and its competitors, both in the margin and in the total. That’s because it’s the only outlet of the five to exclude so-called superdelegates, whose votes aren’t pledged based on outcomes of state votes. Most who have expressed a preference have pledged support for Ms. Clinton, but they can change their minds until the party convention.

It does make sense to include super delegates as a vote is ultimately a vote at the convention. However there is not agreement as to the super delegate count and they can change their votes. I think the news organizations would be the most helpful in their reports if they reported both committed delegates won in primaries or caucuses and report their estimate of super delegates, but keep the two numbers separate. An honest news report might even mention that other news organizations have different estimates and admit that these numbers are only their best guess.

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