Another issue raised in the above-linked article (by Blake Fleetwood) is that the popular vote total undervalues the states that had caucuses, since a smaller portion of voters turn out for a caucus. And Obama did so much better in caucuses than in primaries.
I counted the difference:
Using the numbers here, I found that Obama has won 290 delegates in caucuses, and Clinton has won 154. That's 65% for Obama and 35% for Clinton. In the primaries, by stark contrast, Obama has won 1072 delegates, and Clinton has won 1058. (Actually, 1058.5 — she won 1.5 delegates in the Americans Abroad primary.) That's 50% to 50%. You need to go to decimals to show the Obama percentage lead in the primaries: 50.3% to 49.7%.But if you want to use total popular vote as a basis for argument to the superdelegates, what do you do with this information? You can't say with confidence that Obama really should have more total votes, because it seems to be that Obama supporters are overrepresented among the kind of people who go to caucuses. We can think of some characteristics that may be shared by caucus-goers and Obama-supporters — notably youth and political fervor. So who was "cheated" out of popular votes in the caucus states? Obama or Clinton?
In any event, it's hard to assign value to the popular vote, since the candidates were not playing — at least not early on — for the popular vote. They campaigned for delegates, so they built their strategies on winning a percentage of the votes within any given state. This cumulative popular vote does matter quite a bit more than it does in the Electoral College system in the fall, because these were not winner-take-all states. With the Electoral College, the popular vote is completely skewed, given the huge numbers of people who know their vote won't tip their state one way or another, making the decision whether to vote in California completely different from the decision whether to vote in Ohio.
And yet, the accumulated popular vote seems very important, both in electing the President in the fall and, certainly, in the Clinton-Obama match-up now that we're pitching arguments to the superdelegates. That gives the last few states, including Michigan and Florida if they horn their way back into the process, a whole new dimension of power.