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. Venus

    Pack it up Hillary! This is what happens when people are so nasty!

    Imagine paying $2.3-million dollars to your advisers to lose against a rookie! Hillary – it is over with!

    She needed a BIG WIN! She needed to win by 64%! And, if she continues this race – she needs to win by 68%!

    YES! Go Obama!

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Cynthia

    According to the math in your above article – she did not.

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. paul in pittsburgh


    HILLARY 08

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Brian (in PA)

    Let's see, ten versus nine percent...does it even matter? Sen. Clinton walked away with more delegates and more popular vote, thus I think it fair to say she won PA. More so, Sen. Obama again showed that he does not compete well in a traditional important "blue" state. Sen. Obama's lead in delegates is small and largely due to well-organized but small cadres of supporters in caucus states, which are not good indicators of general elections or the preferences of more casual voters. Splitting hairs does not change the facts-he lost, she won-onto IN, NC, WV, PR and the rest. It is not over, until it is over. May the best win.

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Arina

    Clearly not a double digit win.

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. barbara miller

    Nope – 9.2%
    Rounded to 9% – you can see an article over at Politico.

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Johnny Boy

    Hey PA, you are idiots!!!! Way to go!!!! Way to keep us split and divided, just how we need to be for the GE.

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Ron

    Obama spent over eleven million dollars in pennsylvania plus weeks of campaigning and came out a loser take. away the black vote and it was basically a wash out. Indiana will be the same. the country is in to big a mess to entrust it to an idealist he as no clear plan or deep understanding of the dire situation the country faces. he talks about hope and a new way of doing things but when pressed about his plans like ABC did he shows he does not fully understand how implementing something like raising the tax on capital gains is counter productive. now that the precedence as been set he no longer wants to debate at caucuses he as control and does not have to elaborate so he can spin all he wants.Soon the black voters will start asking themselves what he as actually done for them except refuse invitations to help their cause. yes Pennsylvania was a big win it started to undress Sen Obama

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Mike from Jersey

    Sounds like desperation on the part of CNN-Obama Central. A thrashing, is a thrashing, is a thrashing........

    Get over it. Roundland Martin must have written this article.

    Pathetic. Moderate this.

    April 24, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Noble


    OBAMA 08.

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Courtney

    I think the point is that this is an inconclusive win. Clinton can claim a win, but does it really help her? Not so much. Obama "lost", but does it really hurt him? Not so much.

    Just to put my two cents in on the math, I believe I always learned that you don't round until the end, because you the results could be vastly different. In other words, the method in which the difference is rounded down to 9% is correct.

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Jim

    Who cares! Penn is over...

    The difference was 9.31 percent. Clinton will say 10, Obama will say 9.

    What matters is the total net gain of delegates, and even that doesn't matter as Obama is going to get the nomination anyway...

    Drama, drama, drama...

    Splitting hairs as a form of social entertainment.


    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Steve

    Why even round it off? Do you think the general public is too dumb to understand decimal places?

    The point is she didn't win by double digits. She won by 9.31 percent, which was hardly enough to change much of the math. The fact that she dropped from 20 points up at the beginning of the month suggests she's the one losing steam, but everyone's portraying this like its her third comeback and magically everything's going to switch in her favor.

    It seems pretty academic to me at this point. Obama needs to keep ahead in North Carolina and Oregon, and as long as Indiana stays really close, Clinton is going to run out of race track. I highly doubt that the superdelegates will want a brokered candidate that goes against the will of the voters.

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. c


    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    So why don't the media state the facts instead of making Clinton look like she got this "BIG" win?

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Ross, Brooklyn, NY

    As a math major let me make it clear that normally 9.31 is rounded down to 9. Clinton's win was by single digits plain and simple.

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. A. Harrison

    Likeability, Likeability, likeability. Is it going to be as technical as this if/when Hillary gets into the white house? Same goes for Barack?

    Who cares, she won and I say it's by10 points.

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Eric

    Rounding should be done at the end of the series of calculations. It may only be done between steps, for ease of computation, if there will not be an effect on the final answer. In this case, there is an effect on the final answer and so rounding 45.34 to 45 and 54.65 to 55 is not valid.

    April 24, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. It WAS less than 10%

    But CNN and the other media is either too scared of Clinton to round down or they're so dedicated to giving Hillary press because she's acting like a desperate fool and it gets them all ratings, they won't repudiate it as less than a double-digit win, so yes, it DOES matter.

    April 24, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Johnny Boy

    No, she did NOT WIN BY DOUBLE DIGITS, as the facts clearly state, but we know how she can spin something her way.


    April 24, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. gerald strother

    Idifference 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.
    fact, she barely made a dent. At most, she picked up a net gain of 12 delegates — less than our gain, for example, in Colorado (where we gained 17) or Kansas (where we gained 14). Her gain in Pennsylvania was less than half of our gain in Virginia, where we added to our lead by 25 delegatesThey Can't overturn the will of the people ! IT will be ugly if they overturn, Do the MATH no way for her to win ulessThey Can't overturn the will of the people ! Then what has she won ??? over my volt and in no way will volt for her , now is win the most delegates hse has my volt

    April 24, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Tiffany

    EXACTLY!!! She needed a 'double digit' win and didn't get it!!!
    Whatever though, she can keep taking peoples money and lose next month. It's OVER!! Got it?!?

    April 24, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Nick

    You don't round two numbers first and then take the difference. You are always taught to take the difference first and then round the answer. Why can't CNN figure out such a simple thing? It really doesn't matter whether Hillary won by 9% or 10%, but the way she has been touting her "double-digit" win, someone better explain to her campaign that it was only 9%.

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

    Duh. A 9.31% win is exactly that. Duh.

    April 24, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Sam

    well, this all depends on whose number system you are using. The entire world would say 9.3 (or 9.2) would be 9% if you must round. However, the Clintons apparently have their own number system, so might as well say it was a landslide 50% victory...

    April 24, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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