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On the Trail | WAIT, WHO'S AHEAD?

Understanding the numbers

May 24, 2008

It's a challenge to compute meaningful overall popular vote totals for either Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton in this year's primaries and caucuses. For starters, how do you count the results from the unofficial contests in Florida and Michigan, where neither candidate officially campaigned? (In Michigan, Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot.) Likewise, how do you deal with caucus states that have released delegate counts but not a tally of the preferences of regular voters?

Gary Langer, director of polling at ABC News, crafted estimates to account for those issues. His numbers, below, show which candidate is leading with Florida and Michigan included, with both states excluded, and with Florida included but not Michigan.

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*--* -- Including Without With Fla. only -- Fla. & Mich. Fla. or Mich. -- Obama 18,189,205 17,612,991 18,189,205 Clinton 18,221,565 17,022,270 17,893,256 Leader Clinton, +32,360 Obama, +590,721 Obama, +295,949 *--*

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