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I'm looking at NYT's Iowa caucus results table (paywall, but you can still see the table in the back), as of right now:

Buttigieg 26.7% SDEs, 11 pledged delegates
Sanders   25.4% SDEs, 11 pledged delegates
Warren    18.3% SDEs,  5 pledged delegates
Biden     15.9% SDEs,  0 pledged delegates
Klobuchar 12.1% SDEs,  0 pledged delegates
etc.

Precincts reporting: 86%

My main question: Sanders and Buttigieg have the same number of pledged delegates, despite Buttigieg having a slightly higher SDE fraction. Is this just due to rounding? What needs to happen - in terms of other precinct results - in order for Buttigieg's SDE advantage to translate into a delegate advantage?

Secondary question: I'm guessing this all has to do with how Biden has a lower pledged/SDE ratio than the front-runners. Why is this the case?

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    Are you asking what the SDE to pledged delegates conversion method is? Because "what needs to happen" is too vague. They need to finish counting, is an answer to that. – SX welcomes ageist gossip Feb 5 at 23:45
  • @Fizz: See edit. – einpoklum Feb 5 at 23:49
  • Does this answer your question? Question about Iowa Caucus math – Machavity Feb 6 at 0:49
  • Frankly that looks like a NYT bug. The official results don't show any "pledged delegates" yet. Also, there's another NYT page that does show some (estimated) pledged delegates for Biden as well. – SX welcomes ageist gossip Feb 6 at 2:15
  • Yeah, I was wondering that too. It's clearly not proportional representation, which would give {Buttigieg: 7, Sanders: 7, Warren: 5, Biden: 4, Klobuchar: 3} or so. – dan04 Feb 6 at 15:03
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The current estimate by The Green Papers, with 97% reporting, is as follows:

+-----------+----------------------------+---------------+
| Candidate | State Delegate Equivalents | DNC Delegates |
+-----------+----------------------------+---------------+
| Buttigieg |                     26.28% |            13 |
| Sanders   |                     26.11% |            11 |
| Warren    |                     18.20% |             7 |
| Biden     |                     15.82% |             5 |
| Others    |                     13.59% |               |
| In Doubt  |                            |             5 |
+-----------+----------------------------+---------------+

Two thirds of delegates are calculated based on congressional districts. Buttigieg currently leads in more Congressional districts than Sanders does, and so he will get any benefit of delegate rounding in more districts.

+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| District | Buttigieg  |   Sanders  |   Warren   |   Biden    | Klobuchar  |
+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| CD1 (7)  | 2.132 -> 2 | 2.048 -> 2 | 1.369 -> 1 | 1.450 -> 2 |            |
| CD2 (7)  | 2.419 -> 2 | 2.667 -> 3 | 1.915 -> 2 |            |            |
| CD3 (8)  | 2.442 -> 3 | 2.371 -> 2 | 1.787 -> 2 | 1.400 -> 1 |            |
| CD4 (5)  | 1.552 -> 2 | 1.442 -> 1 |            | 1.022 -> 1 | 0.983 -> 1 |
+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| PLEO (5) | 1.520 -> 2 | 1.511 -> 1 | 1.053 -> 1 | 0.915 -> 1 |            |
| At-L (9) | 2.737 -> 3 | 2.720 -> 3 | 1.896 -> 2 | 1.648 -> 1 |            |
+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+
| Total    |         14 |         12 |          8 |          6 |          1 |
+----------+------------+------------+------------+------------+------------+

In order to get any delegates, a candidate needs at least 15% of the vote, either in the Congressional district and/or statewide. Because Biden failed to reach this 15% threshold in district 2, he will not get any delegates from that district.

| improve this answer | |
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Update: the Iowa Democratic party has now officially called the SDE race in Buttigieg's favor 14:12. These results are still not officially "certified" though, meaning they can still be contested for a recanvass/recount. (And if anybody is curious: Buttigieg won an extra 2.774 SDEs; that's little bit less than Clinton's margin over Sanders in 2016 of 4 SDEs; I only found that latter number rounded.)


Like I said in my earlier comment, there have been no official assignments (those would appear on https://results.thecaucuses.org/) of pledged delegates yet. That NYT page/article surely had some estimates. In the meantime, the NYT which has a live page with their model has updated it to include some pledged delegates estimated for Biden as well. Unlike Joe's answer (based on The Green Pages), NYT are calling it equal for Sanders and Buttigieg (13 pledged delegates each, but with slightly higher probability of Buttigieg comping up ahead 56:44), after the same 97% of the results...

enter image description here

NYT however has also called the other race indicators (first and final alignment) for Sanders though now, with very high probability.

enter image description here

As both NYT and 538 explain, the turnaround for Sanders was due to satellite caucuses.

So far, Sanders has gotten 21.855 state delegate equivalents out of the satellite caucus sites, and Buttigieg has gotten 1.196.

Until last night, each new batch of results was barely changing the candidates’ vote shares, and we (and pretty much everyone else) assumed that the remaining precincts in Iowa were representative of the rest of the state. But the satellite caucuses were clearly not representative, and that is why Sanders now has a shot at being the sole victor in Iowa.

But Buttigieg could still hold on. We are now awaiting the results in just 54 Iowa precincts. About a dozen of those are satellite caucuses, which could be enough to put Sanders over the top — but the remainder are regular old caucus sites, where Buttigieg is expected to do well.

| improve this answer | |
  • Now that the DNC has called for a complete recanvass of the entire Iowa caucus results, do you nave any indication how any such recanvass would effect the delegate count? Because I'll fire up the popcorn maker should such a recanvass wind up awarding a smaller number of delegates to Sen. Sanders. – Just Me Feb 6 at 21:11
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    @JustMe: no idea on that, but caucuses generally favor outsiders so the fact that Biden got trounced in Iowa isn't [actually] surprising. (The fact that the state is overwhelmingly white didn't help him either.) If the more left-wing part of the contest (Sanders vs Warren) didn't feature two senators, we might have seen a surprise in that corner too. – SX welcomes ageist gossip Feb 6 at 21:17

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