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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Colorado and Minnesota Caucuses

Today are presidential caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, between which 76 delegates will be unofficially rewarded. (There's also a Missouri Primary today, but it's worth zero delegates; they do their official voting at their March 17 Caucus.) Before we get to the latest polls, here are the latest standings for the Republican Presidential Primary:

CNN Standings
1. Romney--99
2. Gingrich--33
3. Paul--15
4. Santorum--11

MSNBC Standings
1. Romney--84
2. Gingrich--29
3. Santorum--14
4. Paul--11

Real Clear Politics Standings
1. Romney--78
2. Gingrich--28
3. Santorum--8
4. Paul--7

There have been two post-Florida polls taken in each of today's two caucus states--Minnesota and Colorado. The first was taken on February 4, the second from the 4th to the 6th, and both were taken by Public Policy Polling. And they said:

Colorado (33 delegates):
1. Romney--40%, 37%
2. Santorum--26%, 27%
3. Gingrich--18%, 21 %
4. Paul--12%, 13 %

Minnesota (37 delegates):
1. Santorum--29%, 33% (!)
2. Romney--27%, 24%
3. Gingrich--22%, 22%
4. Paul--19%, 20%

Three things to look for in tonight's contests:
1. Note the above surge for Santorum in both states. Perhaps the country is getting sick of the Gingrich shtick? If Santorum finishes ahead of Gingrich in both states, the former Speaker will be hard-pressed to push forward as the "conservative alternative" who will be the "last man standing with Romney." Perhaps, then, it would be Santorum, not Gingrich, who ultimately rivals Romney in the conservative south.

2. Can Ron Paul sneak into either top 3? As shown in the Republican Primary Standings at the top of this post, Paul is running neck and neck with Santorum for third place overall, and he even leads Santorum in the CNN estimates. If Paul finishes in 3rd in one or both states, whoever he finishes ahead of--whether it be Gingrich or Santorum--will not only be awfully embarrassed, but the pressure will rise for them to drop out, especially with no boost in cash flow after the disappointing fourth place out of four finish.

3. Will Romney's momentum be slowed? He certainly has all of it after Nevada's whooping, but look at those Minnesota and Colorado polls. In both states, all four men are in double digits. In both states, Romney has ticked down over the past couple days. If all men remain in double digits, and if the downward trend, however slight, continues for Romney, he will once again not reach 50 percent. Minnesota looks interesting, as Romney is surprisingly trailing Santorum. Romney could yet win it, but it doesn't look like 40 percent is in the picture, to say nothing of 50. If Romney finishes in the 30s (or if he loses it), the media will feed the country a steady diet of "Is Romney slowing down?" stories. But then Romney will have three weeks to pump money into the next two primaries--Michigan and Arizona on February 28--and regain all momentum before March 6's 11-state Super Tuesday.

Until next time,



Anonymous said...

We really have to start questioning the accuracy of the polls. They're so wrong on Minnesota!

IC said...

And even more wrong in Colorado!

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