(CNN) - Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday Hillary Clinton has overcome Barack Obama in the total popular vote.
“Senator Clinton took the lead in the popular vote last night because voters believe she is the candidate best able to beat John McCain and lead our country," McAuliffe said.
Is he right? That depends on which measure of the popular vote is used.
Four different scenarios of the total popular vote have been kicked around: (1) only counting primary contests without factoring in Florida and Michigan, whose contests were not sanctioned by the national party, (2) counting primary and caucus contests without Florida and Michigan, (3) counting primaries and contests and Florida but not Michigan, and (4) counting all primaries and caucuses including Florida and Michigan.
Clinton trails in all four counts, but by significantly different margins. In the first scenario she trails by by about 397,000, in the second she's behind 699,000, in the third she has a 405,000 vote deficit, and in the fourth scenario she trails by 77,000 votes.
The fourth scenario does not give Obama any votes out of Michigan, where he did not appear on the ballot.
The only scenario in which Clinton would appear to have the lead is a fifth scenario that only counts primary states – including both Florida and Michigan – and excludes any votes cast in the party’s caucuses. In that count, Clinton currently holds a lead of about 225,000 votes.