April 24th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Was Pennsylvania a double-digit Clinton win - or not?

Did Clinton get a double-digit win?

Did Clinton get a double-digit win?

(CNN) - It's one little point that's making for a whole lot of discussion. Was it 9 points or was it 10? That’s the question many people are asking about Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory over Barack Obama in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Primary.

According to the most up-to-date vote totals from the Associated Press - used by all networks and national news organizations - Clinton won 1,260,208 votes in Pennsylvania to Obama’s 1,045,444. If you break it down by percentages, that’s 54.65 percent for Clinton and 45.34 percent for Obama. If you round up the Clinton number to 55 percent and the Obama number is rounded down to 45 percent, you get a ten point margin of victory for Clinton.

But if the difference between 45.34 and 54.65 is 9.31 percent - the margin of victory for Clinton - the result should be rounded down to nine percent.

Got it?

(Updated numbers after the jump)

Why does this matter? Maybe because the candidates spent six long weeks campaigning in Pennsylvania, and because so many political pundits said Clinton needed to win Pennsylvania by double digits to keep her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination alive.

But regardless of the margin of victory in Pennsylvania, the race has now moved on to Indiana and North Carolina, the next battlegrounds in the road to the White House.

UPDATE: As the count in Pennsylvania continues, Clinton's margin has edged up slightly. According to the latest tally released by the Associated Press, she now has 1,260,416 votes, or 54.7 percent of the total; Obama has 1,045,910 votes, or 45.3 of the total. That makes the current margin of victory for Clinton 9.4 percent, which still rounds down to a 9-point victory.

soundoff (464 Responses)
  1. Kitty, Denver, CO.

    No blow out...now bow out!

    April 24, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Sharon in Oakland, CA

    This is great!!!!!!

    April 24, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Myk

    And this 9.3 is actually an update from when it was announced as 10 points. A couple of days ago it was 8.6.

    what this news media does not not realize is that very soon they will lose all their credibility and their relevance.

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Kari

    Yet another "move the goal post moment" for Hillary. Now she seems to think she has had more people vote for her?? Maybe they should let the popular vote in FL & MI count and give Obama the "undecided" voters in MI... Guess what Hillary.... He's still ahead then!!! To think that I supported her husband and her... I am so disappointed in their actions.. this win at all cost mentality is pathetic.

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. California Girl

    A win is A Win!

    Pennsylvania: California loves you!!

    Hillary 08

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. PK

    What does it matter? Well, accuracy is the first requirement of journalism, I thought. Apparently not on CNN.

    The New York Times managed to report a 9 percentage point difference even on charts that showed the individual candidates' percentages as whole numbers (e.g., 55 to 45 rather than 54.7 to 45.3). I guess they feel their readership should at least be intelligent enough to understand that rounding error can cause things not to add up.

    The "best political team on TV" should be able to understand it also. So why did CNN choose to be inaccurate? Why are there still stories on the CNN site talking about a "10 point lead" without any correction or update?

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Chut Pata

    "Fuzzy Math", to borrow a term from Bush Jr. After all, 8 years of friendship with Al Gore had to had influence. She can proved a single digit lead as a double digit lead.

    I voted for Bush against Al Gore and I will vote McBush against Billary.

    Obma 08' or nothing.

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Christine

    Thank you for reporting this. Evidently I'm not the only numbers wonk that sent you an email about this yesterday. The devil's in the details.

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Nick Mann

    Shocking that Obama wants to suppress the vote of millions of citizens in Florida and Michigan. Wonder why he does not think every vote should count. This is worse than Al Gore's push to disallow military votes in Florida back in 2000. FL and MI voters are disenfranchised and will never vote for Obama in a General Election.

    April 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Myk

    Candidate Votes Percent

    1,238,351 54.6%

    1,030,805 45.4%

    April 24, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Alice

    How about simply calling it 9.31?

    April 24, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Weez

    Of course 9.3 rounds to 9 – ask any fifth grader. And accuracy in reporting this matters a lot. Before the Pennsylvania primary, every pundit agreed that a Clinton win under 10 points would not change the momentum of the race. Ten was "the bar" – and she did NOT meet it.

    April 24, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Ed from PA

    What I get from this is that the spread is 9.31%, because I can read, write, and do math.

    April 24, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Chase

    let's see....10-9.31=0.69
    I don't know about Clinton's or Obama's math, but according to my math, that still qualifies Clinton as the winner.
    what's the big deal? 0.69% is not going to make or break anyone.
    she won, didn't she?
    Arguing over this point is ridiculous
    I mean, honestly, who cares?

    April 24, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. MJ

    The media jumped on the 10% before all of the results came in; especially the areas where Obama was strongest.

    I hope the likes of Republican Joe Scarborough will acknowledge that it was not 10% after all; or, will it be buried as is positive information on Obama.

    Did the Democrats ever ask themselves why the likes of Scarborougha nd other Republicans are pushing Hillary so hard?
    I would feel better about my candidate if the Republican machines were criticizing the other candidate.

    I noticed John McCain has been wooing African Americans in Alabama and in Louisiana. Could the plan be to help Hillary get the nomination and go after African Americans for a Republican win with Condi Rice as Vice President. H'mmm.

    April 24, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Jen-0-palooza

    Yes, but as you ALL KNOW:
    Hillary must cheat and deceive the country to win.
    It is NOT double digits,
    She HAD a 20 point lead and won by 9.31%
    Not so good in my book! But then again, I know numbers and treat them as truth.

    April 24, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Tiachi

    Again, this is the news that should be reported. The truthful facts, NOT the spin that Hillary and her camp would like put out there. How ridiculous is it when she says that she is also winning the "popular vote", yeah she is by HER rules. I don't want a presidental nominee that would sell her own baby to be President. That is a little too much ambition and has nothing to do with the public but has more to do with HER and her wanted to be equals with Bill Clinton.

    Anyway, if she gets the nomination, I would vote for McCain. Why, because she is not trustworthy and not likeable.

    April 24, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. J. Lowman

    One more interesting point is which primaries have been rounded and which have not. According to this rounding method, Sen. Clinton also had a doube digit win in California...a slightly Dem state that holds just over 12% of this Country's population. I just thought it was interesting...also, California is quite a bit younger than PA, and she still won by 10....I mean 9.51%.

    April 24, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Educated Voter = Not Hillary

    Any way you slice, spin, transpose, or otherwise rotate it, 9.31% is not "double digits" as it is less than 10.

    It's all irrelevant though because, as I've been pointing out all along, 10 is a completely arbitrary number. We need to look at the whole picture: Clinton picked up 12 delegates, and still trails by 154 pledged delegates with 9 contests to go. In other words, even if she won 9 more Pennsylvania-sized states (which won't/can't happen since the states are smaller and more favorable to Obama), she is toast. Enough with the sugar-coating by the media - that $10 M should be going to the needy, not to the Clinton '12 campaign she is launching right now.

    April 24, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Ed from PA

    I love how "shame on you" has become such a big buzzphrase due to this campaign. Sounds like 4 year olds during recess... Shame on you! Shame, shame!

    April 24, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. Decarla

    It is obvious that there is a news editor who is not in search of the truth but is inlove with the spin.
    1.She need a double digit win. They did their utmost best to give her a double digit win.
    2. She needed the popular vote. They are doing their best to give her the poplular vote. She says she has the popular vote so they yes! yes !yes!. So they make whatever she says indisputable facts. Why?
    3. They have played down the fact that BO overcame a 25% deficit in a state where his greatest strengths...the independents...could not vote.
    4. Last night Anderson Cooper had James Carvilee and Paul Begalla ganging up on Jamal. The same picture of white men who vote for her.
    CNN has to explain their preference givng Lou Dobbs 1 hour of Prime time news everday to lambast BO.

    April 24, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. James

    Clinton did not post the 10 point spread the news media did. She is only repeating what they report.

    This is the exact way they have always posted the points by rounding up or down the individuals %.

    Suddenly people want to try to pick at this result because Obama lost so badly.

    Lets go back and look at every single state that has voted so far and you will see the same thing come up over and over.

    The only way for this to be different is to go out 2 decimal points on ALL races or deal with the rounding as we have for the last 40 states.

    Some of you really need to get a life. This is simply stupid.

    April 24, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Dave in Atlanta

    Who cares? The real question wasn't: Would Clinton win PA? Everyone knew she would. It wasn't: Would she win it by more than 10%? She didn't.

    The real question was: Would her win be enough to reenergize her campaign and give her an edge going into the next set of primaries.

    Well she did raise that $10 million so maybe the answer is yes.

    April 24, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. leela

    9 or 10 or 11 or 12.......she cannot , i repeat she cannot catch Obama. period.

    CNN, please, can you update the Supers numbers for Obama. For the sake of fairness!

    April 24, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. David

    I am a little confused here, not that I don't know math but confused at how news networks have so many so called experts and they can't seem to get this right. here is a few math problems my daughter had on her 3rd grade math test.

    Round to the nereast 10th.

    My daughter got them all correct but yet the news outlet is calling Clinton win a 10% win. From this point own please let me know when you are discussing anything that deals with math so I can make sure my daughter is not listening, I wouldn't want her to get confused.

    April 24, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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