What Superdelegate Counts Don’t Tell You

There’s a problem with all the superdelegate counts out there: They only include superdelegates who have officially declared their support for a candidate.

Now, granted, that’s the way any scientific tally should work. But it fails to count all the supers who have been hinting, leaning, or publicly praising one candidate or the other. Today, for example, Gov. Jon Corzine said he reserves the right to switch to Obama if he wins the popular vote. Which, if you’re like us in believing that a popular-vote win by Obama is all but mathematically inevitable, amounts to an Obama endorsement.

Or consider Jimmy Carter, who said this to a Nigerian newspaper: “My children and their spouses are pro- Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama. As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for but I leave you to make that guess.” Not much room for interpretation there.

Or take Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Clinton supporter who said the other day that Obama would be the next president. It’s statements like these that suggest a lot of superdelegates out there are just looking for an opening—an excuse to jump in without looking as if they’re trying to swing the election.

Since March 4, Obama has picked up 12 superdelegates to Clinton ‘s one. Since Feb. 5, he’s taken more than 50. But I’m guessing the numbers would be even more lopsided if you could somehow count the coy statements and other unsubtle hints of the uncommitted.