(Revised Headline and text – original story confused delegate count and vote totals..)
This represents a turnout of 29% of registered Nevada Democrats. The Iowa caucuses saw a turnout of 39.5% of its registered Democrats.
My initial reporting of the Nevada Democratic turnout was way off. The problem was that the news reports had the numbers listed for Republican turnout as the actual vote counts for each candidate. The Democrats unfortunately do not release the actual vote totals for each candidate as the Republicans do yet the results were listed side by side.
As the Washington Post notes:
The Nevada Democratic Party is not reporting votes for its Jan. 19 caucuses. Instead, the party will only release the number of county delegates won by each presidential candidate (or “Uncommitted”). This is the data being collected by the Associated Press and displayed on washingtonpost.com. There will be at least 10,446 delegates to the county conventions in the state’s 17 counties. (More information here.)
On the Republican side, the party caucuses are essentially a straw poll. Thus, the votes reported by the party and collected by AP are actual votes. (More information here.)
The Democrats reporting actually amounts to secrecy and distortion; in only releasing delegates elected for each candidates the actual votes are hidden from the general public. They did the same thing in the Iowa caucus.
Barack Obama received 4,773 delegates for 45.12% of the county Democratic delegates elected.
John Edwards only received 396 county delegates for 3.8% of the Democratic delegate vote cast.
Confusion has emerged regarding how many national delegates are actually assigned to Clinton and Obama, with Obama claiming he won 13 to Clinton’s 12., despite Clinton winning more county delegates. And because the Nevada Democrats have not released the actual vote number by all the caucus attendees we can only guess at this based on the proportion of county delegates each candidate won.
I was not the only one confused trying to interpret the numbers – it seems that in reality the number of national delegates Clinton and Obama will get are only estimates and no final number is possible until the next convention. As reported by First read at msn.nbc
“The Nevada Democratic Party just issued this clarification (emphasis is ours): “No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate preferences remain unchanged between now and April 2008, the calculations of national convention delegates being circulated by the Associated Press are correct. We look forward to our county and state conventions where we will choose the delegates for the nominee that Nevadans support.”
If its confusing to you consider this explanation from the New York Times:
“On Jan. 19, party caucuses meet in each precinct to choose delegates to county conventions. The delegates selected are not bound to any candidate. At the county conventions on Feb. 23, delegates to the state convention are chosen. They are not bound to any candidate. The state convention is April 18-20, during which delegates choose 25 of the 33 delegates to the national convention. Sixteen of the 25 delegates are allocated proportionally to presidential candidates based on the support for the candidates in each of the state’s three Congressional districts. Nine delegates are allocated to candidates based on the support among all of the delegates attending the convention. The remaining eight unpledged delegates are chosen from party leaders.”
It is so much easier to determine the vote results from Presidential Primaries. There is just plain reporting of actual votes, not recalculations based on delegates chosen and final commitments made at some later date based on participation at a later caucus.
Presidential Primaries also have higher voter participation. The New Hampshire Presidential Primary on January 8, 2008 saw a total voter turnout rate of 62%. New Hampshire allowed independents to vote in either the Republican or Democratic Primary. The Group News Blog reported that New Hampshire has some 850,836 registered voters. 287,322 voters voted Democratic and 238,548 voted Republican. The Democrats received 55% of the vote and Republicans 45%.