Saturday, May 03, 2008

Guam Caucuses Reporting In

I swear this campaign, this endless presidential campaign, continues to amaze me.

Guam is in the news.

Today, May 3rd, is the Territory of Guam’s day to caucus for their choices for their 8 pledged Democratic National Convention delegates. Yep, eight, count ‘em. But these days it’s a news item when a single superdelegate makes his or her preference known, and an even bigger day when a single superdelegate switches sides. That’s like a net gain/loss of two. So with 8 delegates on the line, all eyes and ears are now on . . . Guam.

But Guam has 8 delegates? Well no, 4 really. Because Guam is a U.S. Territory, and not a state, their delegates only have a half vote each.

So Guam has 4 pledged delegates.

I had to ask myself, is anything going differently on Guam? Come to find out, no. Well . . .yes and no. No, in that Guamanians and Chamorros (that’s what they call themselves) have shown up in record numbers at their 20 caucus centers in schools and community centers. Twice as many as showed up for their 2004 caucus. Guamanians are also showing up undecided, but leaning toward Clinton. Female Guamanians tend to vote for Hillary Clinton.

But one difference I found was that one Guamanian, at least, was leaning toward Obama because he grew up in Hawaii. Hawaii, you know, is a mere stone’s throw from Guam. A mere 4000 miles. Out in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean I think they do distance differently.

Another similarity, they assign delegates pro rata, like most states. So if the vote goes for Obama by more than 56.25%, then Obama wins Guam by ½ of a vote. But it’s not looking very good for an outright net pledged delegate gain for Obama today. It looks like the candidates will split those 4 votes 2-2. How do I know this? CNN. CNN is watching the Guam caucuses. With 79% of the caucuses reporting 1420 votes are for Obama (%53.3) and 1246 (46.7%) are for Clinton. Things could turn rapidly around, though. Votes from the village of Dededo have not come in yet, and Dededo has a bunch of Guamanians and Chamorros.who vote.

Who they vote for no one seems to know. No one knows whether Guamanians prefer beer and shots or Chardonnay. Are they into bowling or basketball?

No one knows.

Interestingly enough, though, Guam has as many superdelegate votes as it has pledged delegates. 4. But these are whole people. So there is another similarity. It is going to be the superdelegate votes that are going to decide who ultimately will win.

In Guam.

UPDATE (8:28 PM):

With all caucuses reporting, it looks like Barack Obama has won the popular vote on the Territory of Guam. By 7 votes. That's Obama 50.1% to Clinton 49.9%.

Over 5000 islanders showed up to vote in the Democratic caucuses this year, far outstripping the 1500 that came to vote in 2004. In all, with a population of 175,000, this represents 2.8% of the total population. However, considering that many of these are children under 18 and, and that many of these are Republicans, it is not unreasonable to assume that this number is close to the turnout we have been having on the mainland.

1 comment:

Rhymes With Right said...

I've been amused to watch this process unfold, as I lived on Guam for a couple of years as a kid. Actually considered moving back there to teach a few years ago, but family considerations (an ill mother-in-law that my wife wanted to visit regularly) precluded that option.

The people of Guam are wonderful, welcoming souls. They love the United States.

I am amused, though, by the turnout numbers. Even if one assumes that the 22,000 military personnel and dependents are all registered stateside, One would expect a few more than 2700 out of 187,000 residents to show up for the caucuses.