April 25th, 2008
06:31 AM ET
6 years ago

Final returns in Pennsylvania: did Clinton nab a double-digit win?

(CNN) - The friction over fractions continued Friday, as staffers for Hillary Clinton and Barack grappled with the solution to some high-stakes campaign math: was her victory in Pennsylvania a double-digit win, or wasn't it?

This time, at least, it turns out: both. According to the final tally provided by the Associated Press, which gathers precise counts for the networks and other major news organizations, Hillary Clinton won 1,260,444 votes to Barack Obama’s 1,046,220, for a difference of 214,224 votes, or 9.2871 percent - which rounds down to 9. But calculated another, more traditional way: she captured 54.6435 percent of the vote - which rounds up to 55 - to his 45.3564, which rounds down to 45, for a difference of 10 points.

Why the demand for extra decimal places? Because every win is important, but some are more important than others. It had been widely predicted that a double-digit victory would give Clinton a key psychological edge heading into upcoming contests. Due to the vagaries of rounding, early coverage was split on whether she’d passed that bar.

Obama supporters protested, pointing out that the winning margin was below 9.5 percent – which, as any fifth-grader will tell you, rounds down to 9, not up to 10. Clinton supporters pointed out that if you rounded each candidate's total votes - not the margin of victory itself - those whole numbers gave you the critical extra digit.

Unfortunately: every vote counts, but some are counted more quickly than others. Some returns typically trickle in for days after the winner is known in virtually every election – usually under much less scrutiny. As the days passed and the difference in the tally hovered near the critical 9.5 percent mark, backers of both candidates kept their gaze fixed on the numbers.

They can put their calculators away for now. The final votes to come in were from the city of Philadelphia, which went for Obama, and the results will forever be safely rounded – if you dare – down to 9 percent, or up to 10. The winning margin, it seems, will remain in the eye of the beholder.

As for the only numbers that really count: it appears that Clinton will walk away from the state with a double-digit edge in pledged delegates - 83, to 73 for Obama.

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Theresa

    I this really an amazing victory? 10 whole extra delegates? That isn't really closing the gap is it?

    Even if you want to call a 10% win for Hillary, she didn't gain much.

    The $10 million raised only got her out of the red! Still looks like she is "fighting" a losing battle.

    April 25, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Sean

    Brian: Where in this article does it mention Michigan? Why do you want to try and mix issues to TRY and prove your point?

    April 25, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. David

    Hillary Clinton has very strong experience on her resume, she got 8 years of first lady, 8 years of senator, Wow,16-year ! It is a lots, during this 16 years what she has achieved in Medicare ? Zero !

    The poor people were kicked out from the hospital before her husband took the office, she has 16-year timeframe and chance to make it right, well, 16-year later, we still have poor people got kicked out from the hospital. She took the money from lobbyist, put the Medicare reform in the trash can.

    She got lots of supporters from her husband administration, they got the common goals-they 'all' want to return to white house. Other supporters are just her puppets, how many people were standing beside her during her scandals, and what she had done to those people – put them under the bus ! That is her !

    April 25, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Erica (in NC)

    Obama was playing by the rules of the DNC. Clinton plays by whatever rules suit her at the time and will re-interpret those rules differently to benefit herself.

    April 25, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Anon

    Brian (in PA) said:

    "Obama pulled his name from MI ballots. That was his choice. He did it to garner favor with IA, NH and SC party types. Is that the politics of change?"
    ________________________________________________________

    You seem to forget that it wasn't just Clinton and Obama running at the time so by your logic, Edwards and Richardson are also questionable right?

    People keep making this argument that it was Obama's choice to remove himself from the ballot in Michigan when in fact, it was agreed upon by all candidates involved but I'll give you one guess who went back on her word and didn't.

    April 25, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Gideon, Chicago, IL

    This is ridiculous. You might round off the final number, but you never round off numbers that are still being used in calculating a difference. Clinton is living in a world where NONE of the normal rules apply.

    April 25, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Lillian Waddy

    Hillary will do the country and the democratic party well by accepting what she has accomplished so far and calling it a day. By smaring Obama over and over again does not make her look good. Take the legacy she has earned as first lady and senator and use her strengths to help the country and party, not destroy it.

    April 25, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Dan , TX

    So, the PA election was exactly what was expected.

    It is a little surprising she only netted 10 delegates. That is not enough.

    I support Barack Obama.

    April 25, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. jimmy vekmen

    So many people do not like Pelosi whose congressional record is so dismal it's no wonder she is so unpopular.
    It will just show how little influence she has on the nomination process.. there have been no delegates, even less so with super delegates who even hinted any support for her or her ideas.

    Conclusion: just shut up Ms Pelosi. you're out of touch.

    April 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. J

    "But calculated another, more traditional way: she captured 54.6435 percent of the vote — which rounds up to 55 — to his 45.3564, which rounds down to 45, for a difference of 10 points."

    This is simply WRONG. There's no correct way 54.6 – 45.4 can be rounded to 10. We are talking about math here, it's not a matter of opinion.

    April 25, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. Dale Wise

    Okay, so the bottom line is that Clinton decreased Obama's delegate lead by 10, which was not enough to have any substantial impact on the nomination race. If anything, she is even worse shape since PA was her last chance to gain an appreciable number of delegates. It didn't happen – she can't catch up – she lost. Leave already.

    April 25, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Kevin, Austin

    Obama supporters protested, pointing out that the winning margin was below 9.5 percent – which, as any fifth-grader will tell you, rounds down to 9, not up to 10. Clinton supporters pointed out that if you rounded each candidate's total votes — not the margin of victory itself — those whole numbers gave you the critical extra digit.

    This is hillarious!

    Somebody needs to point out that gas is up 200% (perhaps it's 199.471% but I'm rounding up for dramatic effect)

    Somebody needs to point out that incomes are down 5%(again I'm round up for dramatic effect.)

    I mean, I get it, this is politics, and perception is important.

    But, come on... can't one of them stand up and make a joke out this... bring some levity to the situation.

    I guarantee the first of the two to do that will win lots of hearts – and votes.

    April 25, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Alex (from OH)

    I'm sick of the spin of the Clinton campaign. This is getting ridiculous, how can anyone buy into what they say? Any logical person will figure out they are twisting anything they can b/c they have to. I am amazed that people can't see through this.

    As for a double-digit lead. There is no traditional way to do this if you are calculating a margin in percentage you first must subtract the votes and divide by the total number of votes. This yields 9.29% end of discussion, it was not a double digit win and I know how to do math I am in college to be an electrical engineer.

    Just stop Hillary please your desparation is obvious, please step aside while you can and save your reputation. This presidency is not owed to you so get over yourself.

    April 25, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Chris in SC

    Again with the MI nonsense? This isn't even relevant to a discussion about the margin in PA. Plus, Clinton supporters need to embrace the truth on this: the Democratic Party declared the Michigan Primary invalid, and Senator Clinton herself explicitly declared that the election there would not count. I'll also add that I personally know a number of Obama supporters who did not vote in the MI election precisely because of the unquestioned status of that primary. Enough of the pretzel logic.

    April 25, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Walt

    Every democratic candidate with the exception of Hillary Clinton pulled their names from the MI ballot to show support for the rules set by the DNC. The Clintons have no rules.

    April 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. frank

    the law said that mich.and florida will not count so tell me how can anyone change that ? thats the kind of issues that shows the clintons have no scrupples and will do anything to win.how can you trust the goverment if they change the rules just for personal gain? what has this country become? ask yourselves.......

    April 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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