Pennsylvania and delegates – who wins what?

I think I’ll run with a draft that I’ve had on the burner for a post, before I move onto Barack Obama’s oratory style tomorrow (as suggested by Ottayan). This post is all about Pennsylvania. It’s not the first time I’ve written about the next primary state. First was a post where I outlined what Obama needed to do to sure up his numbers in Pennsylvania, and listed 4 things to do with the delegate narrative that he needed to have everyone thinking about. Second there was a post concerned with what sort of campaigning you could expect to see from Obama in PA. I was pretty on the button with those two posts, so here’s hoping the third on the state is too.

Also, I used Pennsylvania as an example in my explanation of what ‘delegates’ are. While an interesting post for the explanatory purpose, it also details the margins of victory that Hillary Clinton needs to win by, and what progressively different margins will nett her in terms of Obama’s delegate lead. Suffice to say, 10% and 20% wins for Clinton don’t quite cut it.

So we have Pennsylvania, a state that is diverse and interesting. It favours Clinton on paper – being rural and working class, hitting an economic downturn, and full of white Democrats. It’s quite similar, as I have been saying for some time now, to Ohio – a state that Clinton won with ease. The past few days have been rather rough for Obama in the media. While it probably won’t have any major, lasting effect (until we come to the general election), it will probably hurt Obama’s numbers in PA. Why? Well, I have diagrams to explain that!

But before we get to the pictures, we have to look at a few statistics. Clinton has been ruling in rural areas, while Obama has been unbeatable in urban areas. Clinton has been winning the farming/less-populated/’wide open plains’ when it comes to most states. Of course, Obama has been winning the mid-West, but they are traditionally Republican states, and caucuses, of which Obama has better control over. He has better ground teams, he isn’t a Clinton, and he has been better prepared in these states for longer than Clinton has remembered she is in a primary race. But, in states where there is a contrast between the big city-centres and the rural areas (which we don’t really find in the mid-West states), Clinton has won the rural vote, Obama the urban vote.

That’s why Clinton is favoured to win Pennsylvania – there are large patches of rural counties. For the first picture (all of which you can click on for a bigger and clearer version), I bring you a population density map of PA:


As is obvious, red is the more populated areas, dark green the less. The bulk of the population is in the South-East counties, in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, and in the West, in Pittsburgh and its surrounds. At the end of the day, these are the areas that Obama is going to hope to stay competitive or win the state with:


We have a length of red to the North of Philadelphia, which is Scranton; to the East of Philadelphia, which is Lancaster nearer and Harrisburg further away, and the city of York between and below them; directly North of Philadelphia is Allentown and Bethleham; in the middle of the state we have State College; and right up in the North-West corner is Erie, all of which have higher areas of population, and thus a place for Obama to look for votes.

Obama’s main hope, as I outlined in my first post about Pennsylvania and what he should do in campaigning across the state, was to get victory through winning these areas convincingly, and then try and get some of the surrounding counties as well. Of course, to win the state he had to win these circled areas convincingly, as I said. With his latest comments about “bitter”, I think Obama should hope to win these circles areas and little more. The comments he mad most directly affected people in the rural areas, and begins to speak to the people in the outlying counties to these high-density areas. If the “bitter” remarks aren’t taken care of soon, I think that they will cost Obama the state. Not in as much as he won’t get a “win” (he will keep Clinton to a sub-10% lead – a “win”), but he won’t be able to to actually win the state himself.

So what congressional districts are these areas in, and how many delegates do they have? I’ve jimmied another map (dodgey though it may be) to show you. First, here are the congressional districts that are up for grabs:


Here’s a link to the Wiki page that gives you a closer view of them. Remember, for PA, there are 19 congressional districts up for grabs, with 103 delegates tied to them combined. For those districts that have a higher density of people, there are more delegates up for grabs. And here is the population density (with circles!) thrown on top of that:


So, for the areas that Obama is going to perform well in (and hopefully keep this race close), we are going to be looking at results coming in from all districts other 9. You can see from the map that the circles don’t even encompass and significant part of congressional district 9. Similarly, other than the State College, district 5 isn’t even touched by a circle.

Districts 1 and 2 on the Eastern side are ripe for Obama to win. The same goes for district 14 on the Western side.

While I’ve circled most of districts 6, 7, 8, 13, and 15, and while they do have high population areas, are suburbanite districts, not city-dominated districts. The same can be said for district 18. While it is in the circle on the West, it is composed of suburbs and rural voters, which hurts Obama’s chances even with the flow-on from votes that are going to have been cut off from district 14 (Pittsburgh).

Erie only makes up a small part of district 3, and there are no other population centres there, which will make that district difficult. The same goes for district 12 – I haven’t circles Johnstown, but it’s a populated city, but with little else in the district to help Obama.

Districts 10 and 11are divided down the Scranton column that’s circle up in the North-East, which hurts Obama because the votes will be spread across to 2 congressional districts, instead of pooling in one – sort of a diluting effect with the rural vote.

District 16 has Lancaster and is small, which helps Obama. The same goes for 17, though substitute Harrisburg for Lancaster (though it is a bit bigger than district 16, so this might turn into a worse district that it could be). And once again, the same goes for district 19, though with York as its high-population area.

That’s the situation each congressional district (CD for this paragraph) finds itself in, in my opinion. Now, what about delegates? CD1 has 7 delegates up for grabs, and is Obama favourable: Obama 5, Clinton 2. CD2 has 9 delegates, and is very good for Obama, a tight, packed, inner city district: Obama 7, Clinton 2. CD3, with 5 delegates, only has Erie to help Obama, and a lot of rural votes, so expect to lose the district: Obama 2, Clinton 3. CD4 and 5 delegates, is, again, mainly made up of suburbs and voters that don’t trend Obama, so another loss: Obama 2, Clinton 3. CD5, and while huge and full of rural votes, we know how Obama spurs on the youth vote, and they turn out in droves for him, thus managing him a tie for the 4 delegates here: Obama 2, Clinton 2. CD6 with 6 delegates will be a tie because of the suburban and rural votes going against Obama and the outer-city votes for him: Obama 3, Clinton 3. CD7 is made up of the Philly suburbs again, like CD6, and should be another tie, though with 7 delegates, it can’t be: Obama 3, Clinton 4. CD8 have 7 delegates, and will go exactly the same way as CD7 (should be a tie, but can’t): Obama 3, Clinton 4. CD9 is a Clinton cake-walk, though only has 3 delegates, and thanks to the 15% threshold, Obama is assured 1 delegate at least: Clinton 2, Obama 1. CD10 will be a tie for the 4 delegates there because the urban votes are split between two districts: Obama 2, Clinton 2. CD11 is the district that also has split votes and suburbs, and has 5 delegates: Obama 2, Clinton 3. CD12 is one that Obama won’t be as competitive in for the 5 delegates: Obama 2, Clinton 3. CD13 is in close to Philly, and should be good for Obama, but I suspect that the suburbs will help Clinton get over the line for the 7 delegates here: Obama 3, Clinton 4. CD14 is an Obama favourite for most of the 7 delegates, though with an aging population on the western-side of PA, Clinton will figure in here: Obama 4, Clinton 3. CD15 is the ‘burbs again, and that which will get Clinton the majority of the 5 delegates here: Obama 2, Clinton 3. CD16 will be a tie for the 4 delegates because of the smaller size, Lancaster being more populated, and less suburbs: Obama 2, Clinton 2. CD17 will turn out the same as CD16 thanks to Harrisburg being significantly bigger than Lancaster, making up for the bigger size of this district with 4 delegates: Obama 2, Clinton 2. CD18 is a mix of suburbs and a touch of rural for Clinton, while just the run-off of Pittsburgh’s voters from CD14 for Obama, and with the aging population there too, Clinton’s strengths will show among the 5 delegates: Obama 2, Clinton 3. CD19 with 4 delegates will go the same way as CD16 and 17, a tie for the 4 delegates: Obama 2, Clinton 2.

This brings totals to 51 delegates for Obama, 52 delegates for Clinton. You’ll note that for most of the districts, I erred on Clinton’s side when it came close. That’s because I worked on the basis that she would win by sub-10% at 52% to 48%, and wanted the districts to end up reflecting that. I went slightly in Obama’s favour on CD2 which threw the 52%/48% formula out a little. If it was a uniform 52% anyway, Clinton would get 53 delegates, Obama just 50.

If the 52%/48% is true, then she gets 11 PLEOs and 19 at-large delegates, Obama just 9 and 16, bring their respective totals to 82 and 76. Clinton then netts less than 10 (6 to be accurate) on Obama’s current delegate lead. Considering he will likely win more than 6 more delegates than Clinton in North Carolina, it won’t be surprising to see all the media outlets and Obama campaigners call this a loss.

You can see that my explanation on delegates and distribution from my previous post is true – you can win states just on the highly populated areas alone. Obama has done it before, and while he probably won’t win this state, he makes it a much more tighter race by concentrating on those areas. Of course, if the “bitter” fiasco hadn’t come up, then congressional districts 6, 7, 8, 13, and 15 would all come into play for Obama, and some would have swung to him, and given him a district-level delegate lead (which would have probably translated into a state-wide delegate lead).

And that’s my prediction on Pennsylvania 82 delegates for Clinton, 76 for Obama, at a split of 52% to 48%. I get to these through the explanation in this post on the assumption that Obama will be able to move everyone on from the “bitter” remark. If he can’t, then it will probably move to 55% to 45%, Clinton’s way. But I have faith in Obama that he can do that. Here’s hoping he can!



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