Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's super!

While the Super Bowl brought in record numbers, I’m really curious to see what the numbers will be like for Super Tuesday this evening. It’ll be a bit harder to judge, of course. The Super Bowl was on one channel in the US. I can’t even begin to calculate how many channels will be covering this event. But I think there will be a lot of interest. There are 22 states with delegates up for grabs.

I confess, I’m tempted to blow off curling this evening. Aside from the fact that I’m feeling like crap and I can’t really afford to take any sick days this week (without getting into details, I suspect there will be an event this week that will make my life a complete hell), the results from Super Tuesday states begin coming in around 7 p.m. Granted, I won’t be staying up late to watch all of it. California polls don’t close until 11 p.m. EST and with about half the votes being sent by mail-in ballot and those are apparently the last ones to be counted….well, I don’t expect California to be called until a few minutes before I wake up on Wednesday.

This is all on the Democrat side, by the way. As Cathy’s been interested in the primary battle, I’ve been explaining things as best I can understand. As usual, American elections are far more complicated than they really need to be. Republicans have the relatively simple “winner takes all” formula. If McCain polls more votes in California that Romney or Huckabee, then he wins all the delegates.

But for the Democrats, there are contrived formulas based on congressional ridings, jurisdictions and state-wide results. Which can make for bizarre results. If I’m not mistaken Clinton won the popular vote in both Nevada and New Hampshire, and yet Obama got more delegates. And this is all before the convention, where there will be “super delegates” – people who were not voted for by the people, but still have a vote based on their position within the political party.

So why pay attention to something this complicated? Because it is fascinating shit. Because for all the hundreds of polls and thousands of pundits, no one can tell you with any degree of accuracy what is going to happen this evening. They’ve been wrong as often as they’ve been right. Obama wasn’t supposed to win Iowa, but he did. He was supposed to win New Hampshire, but he didn’t. He was supposed to win in South Carolina by maybe 5-10 points. He won by 27.

And as much fun as it is watching the results come in and trying to figure out what it all means, it’s almost as entertaining watching all of these highly paid pundits explain how they managed to get it completely wrong….again.

For the record, the consensus among the pundits that I’ve read seems to be the following…the Democratic race won’t be decided this evening. Clinton will likely end the evening having won more delegates, but the closer Obama is, the better the “moral victory” will be. If he’s within 100 delegates of her by the end of the evening then he’s done well.

As for the Republican consensus, well, McCain is supposed to pretty much put the final nails in the coffin of Romney and Huckabee this evening.

Tune in tomorrow to see how what excuses the pundits use when the results don’t actually match their predictions.

Oh, and just because I enjoy what an anti-spectacle this is compared to what’s happening in the United States, Newfoundland Liberals are going to the polls today. To select a candidate in the federal riding of St. John’s East. The battle is between former provincial cabinet minister Walter Noel and real estate goddess Debbie Hanlon. Voting is between 4-8 pm at the Holiday Inn and St. Michael’s High School on Bell Island.

It’s all democracy, folks. No matter if some of it is less spectacular than others.

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