Democratic primary results differ widely by source

Published results of the delegate counts for Democratic primaries differ significantly between the various news organizations. To date there have been 35 different Democratic primaries held and there are another 22 yet to happen. This is based on 50 states, DC, Democrats Abroad, Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas Islands. It is surprising that the 6 major sources of election news, the Associated Press, CBS, CNN, NBC, FiveThirtyEight, and Wikipedia have widely different results to date for Clinton and Sanders. Although there are numerous other sources of results, the Associated Press provides the results used by ABC, Bloomberg, FOX, Huffington Post, New York Times, NPR, POLITICO, Time, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

It is particularly surprising how few of the 57 different primaries have the same results from all of the various sources.

The biggest difference for any specific primary is in the results for Pledged Delegates for the state of Washington. In fact the results for this one primary accounts for the majority of the difference in the total pledged delegate results.

Pledged Delegates 1,266 1,243 1,258 1,266 1,241
Super Delegates 469 483 473 469
    Total 1,712 1,742 1,739 1,710 1,693
Pledged Delegates 1,038 925 1,020 1,038 970
Super Delegates 31 31 32     29
    Total 956 1,051 1,070 999 1,010
Pledged Delegates 228 318 239 228 271
Super Delegates 438 452 441 440
    Total 756 691 669 711 683















In total, these differences can be quite substantial. In fact, the difference between the highest and lowest published results is 49 delegates for Clinton, 114 delegates for Sanders and 87 delegates in total.

When each of the news organizations talk about the difficulty for Sanders to have a path to the nomination, it is important that they start with results that are accurate. It makes a significant difference if there actually only a gap of 228 pledged delegates to overcome, rather than the 318 delegate gap shown by AP.


Stephen M. Maher

Stephen M Maher is an actuary, and currently works as reinsurance intermediary and consultant to the insurance industry. As the Chief Financial Officer of The Hartford Life Employee Benefit Division, he was responsible for their exit from Medical Insurance in response to the threat of Hillary Care. Although not typically involved in politics, the perversion of our democratic system as a result of Citizens United combined with the manner that Bernie Sanders message has resonated with him, he has felt compelled to become actively involved. With 5 children both in and recently graduated from college, many of Bernie’s messages have moved him personally. Furthermore he agrees with Bernie that time is running out. Citizen United and the resultant corrupt campaign financing system are threatening our democracy. Climate change and Income Inequality are threatening our children’s future. Finally, he finds it outrageous that the richest country in the world doesn’t provide universal healthcare, a decent minimum wage, and adequate social security benefits for those in need.

One thought on “Democratic primary results differ widely by source

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    April 1, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Thanks for shedding light on this! Been wanting to myself.
    The Green Papers (the source cited by Wikipedia) is actually the most reliable source as far as I can tell:
    It shows the breakdown for each state by Congressional District and explains how the delegates are calculated for each state. FiveThirtyEight’s are close to those too.
    You’re absolutely right that the media has been terrible at reporting the delegate count accurately, and that has often cast Sanders in a worse light what the reality. I don’t suspect national media will rectify this going forward, so I suggest we publicize the real results and The Green Papers as a reliable source.

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