Site Splits Democratic Vote Six Ways How do you count popular vote totals for the Democratic primary candidates? The political Web site Real Clear Politics offers six different totals — and three of six favor Sen. Hillary Clinton. Managing Editor John McIntyre explains the tabulations.
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Site Splits Democratic Vote Six Ways

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Site Splits Democratic Vote Six Ways

Site Splits Democratic Vote Six Ways

Site Splits Democratic Vote Six Ways

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/91087063/91087040" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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How do you count popular vote totals for the Democratic primary candidates? The political Web site Real Clear Politics offers six different totals — and three of six favor Sen. Hillary Clinton. Managing Editor John McIntyre explains the tabulations.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

As we just heard, Senator Clinton has been pressing her case citing the popular vote. Here she is yesterday at a rally after her win in the Puerto Rico primary.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): More people across the country have voted for our campaign, more people have voted for us than for any candidate in the history of presidential primaries.

(Soundbite of cheers and applause)

Sen. CLINTON: We are winning the popular vote. Now, there can be no doubt. The people have spoken and you have chosen your candidate.

SIEGEL: We are winning the popular vote, she said. It sounds simple enough. But after you take a look at the popular vote math, you'll realize that is anything but simple. And for more on this question, I'm joined by the managing editor of RealClearPolitics.com, John McIntyre. Welcome to the program.

Mr. JOHN McINTYRE (Managing Editor, RealClearPolitics.com): Great to be here.

SIEGEL: Now on your Web site, we find not one total of the popular vote, but six different versions. Let's tick them off. What have you done here?

Mr. McINTYRE: The first one is very simple. It's the popular vote. After the Democratic meeting this Saturday, the rules and bylaws committee, Florida has been added to that, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton's name was on the ballot there. The second includes the state of Michigan. The third count is the state of Michigan but giving the uncommitted votes to Senator Obama. And then, we have an estimate of the four caucus states that did not release their numbers that can be added to each one of those counts, and that's how you get six different counts.

SIEGEL: And of these six different counts, by three of your methods, Barack Obama has more votes, and by three of your methods, Hillary Clinton has more votes.

Mr. McINTYRE: That's right. And that just sort of points to the complexity of this question of who won the most votes in this contest. If you count Michigan, she has the most. The issue with that is most people think there is a problem in counting Michigan because Senator Obama was not on the ballot. And if you don't count Michigan, she's actually trailing by some 24,000 votes. And that's without throwing in the estimate of the four caucus states, which gives Obama roughly another 110,000, so she'd be trailing by, you know, 24 to 135,000 votes.

SIEGEL: On your Web site, on RealClearPolitics.com, there are, as we say, six different versions of the popular vote. According to none of them, is the lead bigger than eight-tenths of one percent?

Mr. McINTYRE: That's right. You never want to call anything a tie, but - I mean, basically, after 35 million votes, I mean you essentially have almost a tie contest here. And they both have legitimate claims in metrics to say that they won more votes.

SIEGEL: But if we just shook you awake in the middle of the night and asked you, okay, who's winning the popular vote? Or if we asked you after three or four drinks, what would you say?

Mr. McINTYRE: I think if you look at the contests where they were both on the ballot, I would say Obama probably, you know, has a better argument that he won the popular vote in that regard. Right now, she trails by 25 to 135,000, and likely to have that extended tomorrow.

SIEGEL: John McIntyre, managing editor of RealClearPolitics.com. Thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. McINTYRE: Thank you.

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