Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
As "front-runner" Mitt Romney continues to underperform, the fight for delegates in the GOP primary has turned epic. With this interactive tool, you can fill in what you think the results of the remaining contests will be and share your predictions. What happens to Romney's lead if Rick Santorum or Ron Paul does well in Louisiana or Wisconsin? Where might Newt grab more delegates? It's still anybody's game—and you can game out any scenario you like. To get started, just click on a state and assign delegates (because remember, it's delegates, not percentages, that ultimately determine the nominee) to each candidate. Help rescue the GOP from total chaos.
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Q: Why am I picking delegates, not vote percentages?
A: Think of it like the Electoral College: It's delegates who eventually pick the nominee, and a candidate has to get 1,143 to win. States have varying rules for allotting those delegates, but with the exception of a few winner-take-all spots (Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin), it's usually safe to assume that delegates will go to the candidates in roughly the proportion of the vote. Want to learn more? Richard Berg-Andersson's Green Papers blog is a great place to start; Frontloading HQ, a blog run by political scientist Josh Putnam, is another good source if you really want the nitty-gritty.
Q: What about the whole momentum thing?
Definitely key—and you can simulate it by entering multiple state predictions. Think Rick Santorum's Iowa surge will carry into New Hampshire? Guessing he'll galvanize conservatives in South Carolina but flame out by Super Tuesday? Game it all the way out.
Q: Will you update the results?
Absolutely. For each primary, we'll enter the Associated Press' numbers as soon as the state is called and update with the official results once they are released.
Q: What about candidates who drop out?
A: Their delegate count up to that point will be reflected in the totals on the left, but they'll be taken off the prediction tool. So for example, you won't be assigning delegates to Michele Bachmann.
Q: What's up with Virginia?
Q: Why were my results for Ohio and Georgia off?
A: Since first publishing our predictor, new information came out that changed the number of delegates in certain states and their winner takes all status, and we didn't update Ohio and Georgia in time. We've now updated all of the states, and we'll do our best to stay as up-to-date as possible with this constantly evolving information.
Q: Are you doing any other election coverage?
Q: Okay, think I'll give it a shot. So how exactly does this thing work?
Sources: GreenPapers.com, Frontloading HQ, Associated Press