Sunday, April 27, 2008

National Press Doesn't Get Iowa -- Again

National Press Doesn't Get Iowa -- Again

"The headline out of Iowa is going to be 'Obama gains one,'" I told my fellow delegates during casual conversations in the hours of down time at Saturday's 2nd Congressional District Democratic convention.

So when I finally got home, and could access the national political blogs that for some reason the Mount Vernon School District's wireless network had blocked, what did I read?

"Obama loses one."

It's the latest example of national political writers just not understanding Iowa's caucus and convention process.

On Thursday, I published a comprehensive look at the math that showed Obama taking 15 delegates, Clinton winning nine, and Edwards definitely getting two, with three delegates still in play, and one more delegate possibly shifting pending deals between candidates.

But national estimates ignored things like deals between candidates and the possibility of people just not showing up, and acted as if the numbers were set in stone. Those estimates allocated two more delegates to Obama and one to Edwards, for a 17-9-3 estimate.

On Saturday, Edwards gained viability in the 1st District, where he had been two people short of viability coming out of the Mar. 15 county conventions. My estimates had listed this seat as being in question, but national reports assumed Edwards would not be viable and that Obama would gain the delegate. This is what sites such as MyDD and Democratic Convention Watch are listing as the Obama "loss." But like the old blues song says, you can't lose what you never had. In fact, the truly accurate Iowa numbers before Saturday were Obama zero, Clinton zero, Edwards zero.

Meanwhile, in the 4th District, a deal that Iowa Independent reported between Edwards and "another campaign" -- math would indicate Clinton -- failed to materialize, and Obama gained a fourth delegate which I had listed as in doubt. But national sites, pretending Edwards did not exist, had already allocated this delegate to Obama, and are failing to report it as a gain.

It was a bit more fair for national sites to list the Edwards delegate in the 5th District as an Edwards hold. However, coming out of the county conventions Edwards was only viable by one person, so I had listed the seat as in question. That was a judgment call, as opposed to the inaccuracy of reports on the 1st and 4th Districts.

No comments: