While the nomination campaign might very well be effectively over, especially given the vast, pro-Obama superdelegate movement over the past week, it remains possible that at some point between now and June 3rd, the Clinton campaign will argue that it leads in the popular vote. It needs to be pointed out now that in the broadest possible count of the popular vote, the count that includes all people who participated in the nomination process, that such a claim will simply be false. As I argued back on April 23rd:
In keeping with the principle of one person, one vote, the only good metrics to use are the ones with the broadest popular participation. As such, when measuring the popular vote, it is best to throw the widest possible net. This means to include Florida. It also means to include the estimates from caucus states that did not release popular totals, which stand at Obama 334,084--223,862 Clinton. Finally, it means to include Michigan, but also to allocate Obama 72.91%, or 173,368 of the uncommitted vote. This number is derived by dividing Obama's exit poll support in Michigan by the combined exit poll support of Obama, Edwards and Richardson, and then multiplying that number with the total uncommitted vote.
A second look at the official Michigan results indicates that the Obama uncommitted vote estimation should actually be 173,664. My earlier estimation was slightly lower because it did not use the official Michigan results.
Any popular vote count that does not allocate the Michigan uncommitted is invalid, because it is based on the rather absurd notion that the over 238,000 Michiganders who selected the "uncommitted" choice weren't actually supporting any candidate. In truth, several campaigns existed that pushed Obama and Edwards supporters to choose uncommitted, as even the Clinton campaign has argued on numerous occasions. For example, from the Fact Hub:
Second, the Obama campaign's allies in Michigan organized an effort to get people in Michigan to vote for "uncommitted" in the Democratic primary, helping to bring the uncommitted share of vote to 40 percent. So the Obama camp can't reasonably argue supporters participated in the GOP primary and didn't vote in the Democratic contest.
Either some of those uncommitted votes were for Obama, or none of them were. In this passage, the Clinton campaign states that at least some of the uncommitted votes were for for Obama. To then argue that Obama gets zero votes in a popular vote count that includes Michigan just isn't "reasonable," in the Clinton campasign's own phrasing.
At the same time, it would be inaccurate to re-allocate the entire Michigan vote based on exit polls, since it retroactively takes votes that were in fact cast for Clinton and shifts them to other candidates. The only fair and democratic way is to give Clinton all of her Michigan votes, and then to allocate the uncommitted votes based on exit polls of Obama, Edwards and Richardson support, as those were the three candidates who removed their names from the ballot. So, 173,664 is the total for Obama from Michigan.
Overall, this means the best one-person, one-vote popular vote total is the bottom most total from Real Clear Politics, plus 173,664 for Obama. This leads to the following current, grand totals:
This gives Obama a current margin of 397,384, which Clinton is very unlikely to erase during the final six contests. There is talk of up to two million people voting in the Puerto Rico primary, considering that there was 80% turnout in their last gubernatorial election. However, that was a general election, not a primary. Also, the local gubernatorial election is bound to draw way more voters than a Democratic primary, given the lower level of campaigning that has taken place and the more indirect impact it will have on Puerto Rican affairs.
It is now virtually guaranteed that Obama will win a narrow plurality of the popular vote / participation in the Democratic nomination campaign. Neither candidate will have won a majority, but the "will of the electorate" will still have been served by the outcome. That is a very good thing, since I know that I would not have been the only person extremely uncomfortable with nominating a candidate who did not receive the most popular support in the process. The day we nominate a candidate who did not receive the most popular support / participation will be a dark day for the party.