Did primary provide any winners?

Published 3:22 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

By Staff
February 6, 2008: You have an advantage over me because you know the results of Tuesday's balloting and I do not because I had to go to press prior to Tuesday's primary voting.  However, today the big question is whether the February 5th voting winnowed out the field and gave us clear cut frontrunners?
Yesterday's Mega Super Tuesday balloting consisted of 22 state primaries, including us, and was to be the waterloo of the presidential primary cavalcade.  For many of us, this year is unlike any we have ever witnessed. It is the first presidential election year since 1952 where there is neither an incumbent president running nor a vice president waiting in the wings to move up the ladder. Therefore, it is the most open presidential race in over 56 years. Hence it is only fitting and proper that we have the most undecided race in history.
If the polling data prevailed and was accurate, we in Alabama had close races between John McCain and Mike Huckabee in the GOP primary and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. McCain and Obama were favored to win in Alabama.
National polls seem to indicate that the Republican race is boiling down to a two man race between John McCain and Mitt Romney. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton's presumed waltz toward her coronation as the Democratic standard bearer is seriously being challenged by a dynamic Barack Obama insurgence. The titanic struggle between Obama and Clinton may well be played out all the way to the Democratic convention in Denver this summer.
Many of you have questioned the accuracy of polling after the New Hampshire debacle. Indeed in the Granite State the pollsters were way off on the Democratic side. Although they nailed the Republican vote on the head, the Democratic projections were historically askew. The poll results from the Sunday before the Tuesday vote had Obama winning 41% to 28% over Clinton. However, the actual vote was Clinton 39 percent and Obama 37 percent.
In defense of the poll they also said that 40 percent of the voters were undecided. The media overlooked this important equation when reporting the horserace figures.
Regardless of how accurate the polling projections proved to be in yesterday's primaries, it appears that the time has now come to start counting delegates. As the dust settles from the Mega Super Tuesday voting, after all the votes have been counted, how do these votes equate into actual delegates to the conventions when the nominees are actually selected? Each state has a different formula for allotment of their delegates. Some states allow for the winner of the primary to get all the delegates. However, most states are like us and apportion their delegates based on a percentage of the votes received in the primary. This is the fairest way in my opinion.
We will be weeding out the complicated calculations over the next few days and all the trudging through the snow in Iowa and New Hampshire for momentum and media exposure will be only memories. The new story will be who actually has the most delegates and then on with the show.
Steve Flowers a political columnist who served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

Email newsletter signup