Place Your Bets! Call Pennsylvania And The Nomination

[ Posted Monday, April 21st, 2008 – 13:50 UTC ]

Since we've got a primary tomorrow, it's (once again) time to "put up or shut up," and make a prediction for Pennsylvania. Plus, since it's also appropriate, we'll continue the contest to pick the date when the nomination will be locked up, and what the outcome will be, at the end of the column.

It's been a long six weeks since we last played this game, and I'm just relieved that in the intervening time, the media and both campaigns had enough time to accurately identify and portray the relative positions of each candidate on a range of important issues on which they have honest differences; issues that everyday Americans actually care about as being relevant to their lives.

Ha! (Belated) April Fool!

No, instead, we got more of the same. Sigh.

In any case, since tomorrow's primary day, it's time for another round of "primary picks." I started this series at the beginning of this year's race, because I firmly believe that political commentators should have the cojones to do exactly what every local television sportscaster does -- publish our "picks" for the upcoming contest. This allows readers to see how accurate our crystal balls really are when adding up how many times we get it right.

So far, my track record has been pretty good -- far above the 50/50 result of tossing a coin. Out of 50 Democratic races, I've picked 34 right (68%) and out of 50 Republican races I've done slightly better at 37 right (74%).


Pennsylvania Primary Pick

Tomorrow's contest in Pennsylvania is going to be a lot closer than anyone expected, say... three weeks ago. Hillary Clinton had a monstrous lead here, but it has been whittled away to single digits. Barack Obama sank a lot of money into this state, and it looks like it paid off for him, to a certain extent.

Of course, there have been "silly season" gaffes by both sides -- surprising unforced errors from two campaigns that, up until fairly recently, have been extremely tightly run. What effect this will have on the general election (for the eventual nominee) has yet to be seen. Dire predictions one way or the other can mostly be ignored for now, since November is a long way away.

But Hillary's core supporters seem to be holding firm, and Obama is picking up a lot of new voters... but probably not enough to get him across the finish line here. My prediction is that Hillary Clinton will win Pennsylvania by four or five percentage points, but not by the double-digit lead that she really would prefer. When the delegates are counted, Clinton will only pick up ten or (at the absolute most) fifteen more than Obama -- which is just not enough to cut into his lead (he currently leads among pledged delegates by around 170).

That's my pick, what's yours?


Total correct Democratic picks so far: 34 for 50.
Total correct 2008 Republican picks: 37 for 50.
Total overall correct picks: 71 for 100 -- 71%.

[Previous states' picks:]

[AK] [AL] [AR] [AZ] [CA] [CO] [CT] [DE] [FL (R)] [GA] [HI (D)] [IA] [ID (D)] [IL] [KS (D)] [KS (R)] [LA] [MA] [MD] [ME (D)] [MI (R)] [MN] [MO] [MS] [MT (R)] [ND] [NE (D)] [NH] [NJ] [NM (D)] [NV] [NY] [OH] [OK] [RI] [SC (D)] [SC (R)] [TN] [TX] [UT] [VA] [VT] [WA] [WI] [WV (R)] [WY (D)] [Washington, D.C.] [Virgin Islands (D)]


Call the outcome of the whole race!

For those of you who haven't thrown a marker down, I've also got a betting pool going on what day the whole Magilla will be over, and what the outcome of the Democratic nomination fracas will be. From the original column:

We haven't done a contest here in a while, so I'm going to open the betting window today on the outcome of the Democratic race. To play, just post a comment with the date and the outcome you predict will happen.

As an example, here is my entry: Hillary Clinton does great in Pennsylvania, but loses both North Carolina and Indiana, and drops out the next day.

A few rules: You can't just say "the convention," you have to pick a specific day during the convention. You have to say who wins the nomination, but you don't necessarily have to give details of how they manage to do so if you don't want to, that part is just for fun. All betting will be in quatloos, this column's favorite standard fictional currency. Ties will be broken by a battle to the death in the Triskelion arena... um... or maybe I'll just flip a coin.

Here are some key dates to remember (number of delegates in parentheses):

  • April 22 -- Pennsylvania (188) votes
  • May 3 -- Guam (9) votes
  • May 6 -- North Carolina (134) and Indiana (84) vote
  • May 13 -- West Virginia (39) votes
  • May 20 -- Kentucky (60) and Oregon (65) vote
  • June 1 -- Puerto Rico (63) votes
  • June 3 -- Montana (24) and South Dakota (23) vote
  • August 25, 26, 27, 28 -- Democratic National Convention in Denver

So, step right up and place your bets! I will open the bidding with 100 quatloos on "Barack wins it through default, when Hillary bows out on May 7."

I'll announce the winner after it happens (if nobody gets it dead-on, whoever's closest will win), right here in this column.

Step right up! Lay your money down!!

So far, we've had quite a few entries. I've had to change the rules slightly, because so many people are picking the same days (most noticeably, May 7th). So if you pick a day someone else has, please provide a time (East coast) when the news will break. Also, some on this list are incomplete, so if you see yourself, be sure to clarify your bet.

To clarify my bet, since 11:00 A.M. is taken, I will throw my marker down on an earlier press conference, and call it at 10:00 A.M.

The other rule change is that since many of you felt "quatloos" was just too silly to type, I have put everyone who didn't specify an amount down for a standard 100-quatloo bet (100Q).

So here's how the list currently looks, in chronological order (for details on these bets, see the original article's comments section here at Huffington Post):

4/28 -- Michale32086 -- 10,000 Quatloos, dresses in Star Trek garb if loses -- Obama wins, Clinton forced out.

5/6 (late) or 5/7 (whenever NC/IN results are in) -- PioneerKing -- 100Q, insane side bet on Nader -- Clinton wins, Obama drops out.

5/7, 10:00AM Eastern -- [your humble bookmaker] -- 100Q -- Obama wins, Clinton drops out.

5/7, 11:00AM Eastern -- chlllfactor -- 100Q -- Obama wins, Clinton drops out (not quietly)

5/7 -- PingMama -- 100Q, side bet with hubby for diamond earrings -- Obama wins, Clinton drops out.

5/7 -- stavros -- 100Q -- Obama by default, Clinton switches parties (!)

5/8 -- Halfwit -- 100Q -- Obama wins, Clinton drops out.

5/20 -- Kishadawn -- 100Q -- Obama wins, Clinton drops out

5/22 -- grendl -- 100Q at special 2:1 odds for excellent "Aliens" quote -- Barack wins.

6/4 -- MilwaukeeMarc -- 100Q -- Obama wins, Clinton drops out

6/4 -- PioneerKing -- 100Q -- Clinton wins, Obama drops out

6/9 (word on street 6/7) -- azpaull -- 100Q -- Obama wins, Clinton forced out by party leaders.

6/11 -- Thatcher -- 2025 quatloos (an appropriate bet!) -- Obama wins by delegate count.

6/21 -- nypoet22 -- 100Q -- Joint press conference, Clinton drops out to become Obama's VP candidate.

8/27 -- DemandTruth -- 10Q -- Third day of the convention, Clinton takes it.

(convention) -- fullkelly -- 100Q -- Clinton wins

(convention) -- PingMama's hubby -- 100Q -- Clinton (?)

[These last two are incomplete bets -- fullkelly and PingMama'sSpouse -- I need convention dates to properly register your bets. Also, I'm assuming PingMama'sSpouse is betting on Clinton at the convention, but I could be wrong...]

So step right up and lay your quatloos down! Who will walk away the winner of the Democratic nomination? When will it happen? And how will we know it's (finally) over?

Since we're approaching the first date selected, this really has to be the last chance to make a prediction. The betting window's almost closed, folks, so toss a dart at the calendar and take a chance today... don't be shy... you know you want to!


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


4 Comments on “Place Your Bets! Call Pennsylvania And The Nomination”

  1. [1] 
    spermwhale wrote:

    The pollsters continue to be wrong and here’s why; most polls are run through aggregating calls to home phones. Obama continues to dominate 18 to 31 demographics across the board. Clearly the conservative 6 to 8% lead poll consensus continue to give Clinton, might be disappear in a heart beat if you include the number of cell phones representing this younger demographic that will never be reached!

    Pennsylvania will be a major "get!" I give the nod to Obama. Think about this one Chris!

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    spermwhale -

    I did think about it, but I got burned predicting upsets in CA and TX for Obama which didn't materialize. This time I played it safe.

    We'll see, we'll see...

    Hey, c'mon, put some quatloos where your mouth is! Pick a date and tell me how the race ends!!



  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Even though there has been no "gotcha" gaffe by Clinton, I still predict a Cinderella moment by Obama in PA...

    The PA primary will be close enough to force Clinton out. While I am not brave enough to actually predict an Obama win, it's a definite possibility, something it wasn't a few weeks ago.

    Regardless of a win, Obama will keep it close enough that the writing will not only be on the wall for Hillary, but typed up and delivered in triplicate from the entire Democratic Party.

    The only question will be, is Hillary still enough of a Democrat to obey the will of the party??

    I think so. Above all else Hillary is a survivor. And she would NOT survive (politically) if she went against the entire party and took this to the convention. If she took it to the convention and the Dems lost in November, you can bet she would get ALL of the blame and would become a pariah within the Party....

    I still see Hillary conceding the by the end of Apr. 28 Apr was the date I picked... Nothing has happened that would change my mind. :D


  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Of course, if Hillary got PA by 15+%, then it would really be a boon.....

    For John McCain...

    Personally, although I still intend to vote Obama (with the previous caveats) I honestly can't see how the Democrats can hope to take the GE in Nov...

    The Democratic Party has effectively gutted itself by this hari kari primary and I don't think they can heal in time.

    I know yer not taking GE predictions yet, but I predict big losses for the Dems across the board..

    Once again, the Dems will snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory..


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