Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Yesterday I Spoke Too Soon

Defying all the polls and the pundits, Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire Democratic primary yesterday with 39% of the votes, compared to Barack Obama's 36%. Among Republicans, John McCain emerged as the victor, just as many polls and pundits had predicted.

And now, a side note: The media's coverage of the primary process can be a little confusing, if not misleading. The early contests are important, sure, and a win in Iowa or New Hampshire can give a candidate the public opinion boost that s/he needs to win later contests. But what the candidates are really competing for is delegates to their party's National Convention. This primary season a Democrat needs 2,209 delegates to win the party's nomination, while a Republican needs 1,259 delegates. After his first place finish in Iowa and his second place finish in New Hampshire, Barack Obama has collected 25 delegates; after Hillary Clinton's third place finish in Iowa and first place finish in New Hampshire, she has collected 24 delegates. And after finishing second in Iowa and third in New Hampshire, John Edwards has collected 18 delegates. This competition is far from over, but prior to the New Hampshire primary, the media outlets had viewers thinking that Hillary Clinton's campaign was over. And today, after the New Hampshire primary, the media outlets maintain that Barack Obama's campaign needs to regroup. The media's tone seems just a little extreme.

Don't get me wrong, I'll continue to tune in to the non-stop coverage just as much as the next political junkie. This is just a friendly reminder to myself (and to similarly obsessed viewers). Beware!

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