Hard figures: the counts and the betting

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The Independent US

Delegates will be the key to selecting the Democratic and Republican party nominees for US president at national conventions in August and September before the presidential election on 4 November.

Voters choose the delegates state-by-state. While the 5 February contests did not clinch the nomination for any candidate, those who did well may be on the way to victory since half the Democratic delegates and more than 40 percent of the Republicans were due to be chosen on "Super Tuesday."

Here are the total number of delegates awarded in nominating contests so far to the leading candidates:

DEMOCRATS (total needed for nomination 2,025)
-Hillary Clinton 845
-Barack Obama 765

REPUBLICANS (number needed for nomination 1,191)
-John McCain 613
-Mitt Romney 269
-Mike Huckabee 190

HOW DELEGATES ARE AWARDED

Democrats distribute delegates in proportion to their vote statewide and in individual congressional districts. That means candidates can come away with big chunks of delegates even in states they lose.

In contrast, most Republican contests are winner-take-all when awarding delegates, meaning Tuesday's victories by Sen. John McCain give him a commanding lead.

In addition to those elected state-by-state, a certain number of delegates at the conventions are set aside to be members of Congress, elected state officers and other leading party officials. These super delegates are not committed to any particular candidate, therefore they can back anyone they choose.

Source of Delegate Count: WashingtonPost.Com

THE UK BETTING

Clinton has emerged as the 6/4 favourite to become the next US President, according to bookmakers Ladbrokes. The New York Senator won the night's biggest prize but still has a long way to go to shake off Barack Obama.

John McCain is now the 7/4 second favourite for the White House after he surged ahead in Republican primaries and bookies have suspended betting on him getting the GOP nomination.

Clinton is odds on at 8/13 to secure her party's candidature with Obama 5/4.

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