- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nearly 90 percent of Democrats say the delegate count shouldn’t be the deciding factor for superdelegates choosing the party’s presidential nominee, a position Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is arguing in her bid to overcome Sen. Barack Obama’s lead.

This was the finding in a Fox 5/The Washington Times/Rasmussen poll that showed only 13 percent of Democrats want superdelegates to choose the eventual candidate after the state nominating contests have left neither candidate with enough delegates to claim victory.

When asked on what criteria superdelegates should base their decision, 36 percent of those polled said the popular vote; 27 percent said the candidate who would make the best president; 18 percent said the candidate who would be the strongest in the general election; and 6 percent were “not sure.”

Mr. Obama, of Illinois, leads in the delegate count by about 156 as the candidates finish the state contests with Tuesday’s votes in South Dakota and Montana. He’s about 48 delegates shy of the number needed to put him over the top, with fewer than 200 undeclared superdelegates remaining.

In a last-ditch attempt to win the nomination, Mrs. Clinton has been urging superdelegates to turn to her, saying she has won more popular votes in the primaries, has won the big states that Democrats must carry to win the White House in November, and has shown greater strength in battleground states in the polls against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

“I am now over 300,000 votes ahead in the popular vote, and I am slightly behind in delegates, but we’re going to make our case to all the delegates as to who would be the best president,” she said Monday in South Dakota.

But her claim to have won more popular votes is based on the total primary votes cast over the past five months and leaves out some contests, including state caucuses won by Mr. Obama.

Mrs. Clinton’s claim to have won a majority of the popular vote is disputed in a tabulation by the Real Clear Politics Web site, which Monday gave Mr. Obama the slimmest of edges, 48.1 percent to 48 percent.

According to the latest Real Clear Politics’ tabulation, Mrs. Clinton had a total of 1,915 pledged delegates and superdelegates in her column Monday. Even if she were to win all of the 170 remaining superdelegates up for grabs, that would give her a total of 2,085, or 33 votes shy of the nomination.

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