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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Romney's Inevitability

(All right, enough waiting for the other 29 percent. Hopefully this post conveys that it doesn't matter what slight changes they'll make to the final vote tallies.)

I don't know who's fooling themselves more--Newt Gingrich or the media. You get the feeling that Ron Paul knows that his run has always been a quixotic one. And I get the feeling that Rick Santorum has been on a quest to be his party's VP nominee, one who's pulling his punches and only attacks so it looks like he still has teeth. It seems, however, that Gingrich and the media truly think that this race is just beginning. But they're wrong. It's already ending.

We can now confidently identify Mitt Romney's win in Florida as the beginning of the end. While some had gut feelings of Romney's inevitability as Florida's results came in (some of us had that feeling at the momentum-shifting Florida debates), it is with recent polling from across the country that we see how the race will ultimately unfold. If Romney's win in the Sunshine State was the beginning of the end, last night's win in Nevada was just the continuance of it.

But what of Gingrich's long-game strategy, written about both here and at less popular websites? To call it a long-shot would be too generous. It's simply unfeasible.

The Gingrich Campaign is counting on leads in some March 6 Super Tuesday states to hold up during February. And, true enough, if they do hold up, he'd have a great shot to sweep the south and string together enough runners up elsewhere to extend the primary all the way to the convention.

But the numbers won't hold up. We've already seen the transnational collapse of the Speaker's polling numbers. Here's Real Clear Politics's polls for all the February contests. In Nevada, where in he trailed in a mid-December poll by only a handful of points, he lost last night by about 25. In Colorado, a December PPP poll had Gingrich up 19 there, but a poll published yesterday has Romney up 14, a 33-point swing. In Minnesota, two weeks ago, Gingrich was up 18. A poll yesterday reveals that his support has dropped 14 points and he trails Romney by 5. In Arizona, a November poll once had him up 5 on Romney. A poll from this past Wednesday had him trailing Romney by 24, a 29-point swing. In Michigan, a mid-January lead of 5 points for Romney has tripled in two weeks.

The reasons for Romney's capture or extension of polling leads--better organization, more money, primary victories--will simply continue throughout the month of February. As more and more polls measure the March 6 Super Tuesday states, we'll see Gingrich's leads evaporate and his deficits increase. RCP's polls for those contests show that Gingrich leads Georgia, his home state, by 13 after once leading by 53. And that's his home state! What will Romney's early primary successes and attack machine do to the other Super Tuesday polls? A November Ohio lead of 18 has crumbled to 1. Virginia's last poll--conducted in mid-December--showed Gingrich with a scant 5-point lead. Not only can we expect that lead to be obliterated, but remember that Gingrich isn't even on the Virginia ballot! Oklahoma hasn't seen a poll since a November survey had Gingrich up 19, which cannot be trusted for obvious reasons. The other two Super Tuesday states are Massachusetts and Vermont, two states Romney will carry in a rout.

In sum, the Gingrich path to victory just isn't there. The leads will fall and the deficits will mount. Indeed, national polls, which two weeks ago had Gingrich up by 7 to 9 points, now show Romney leading by double digits. The Gingrich Campaign will slowly die through attrition as Romney picks up steam, money, superdelegate support, and general calls for Gingrich to end the bickering and unite the party.

Yet, Gingrich keeps saying that he'll fight and win, and the media who desperately wants the race to stay competitive continues to consume and perpetuate the idea that he still has a chance. I, too, wish he did, if for no other reason than I'm running out of things to talk about, but Romney's nomination is inevitable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So glad it's over! Can we worry about something else for a while?

Nice job, IC. Take a few weeks off. Wakes us up when it's all over. Unless Romney wins the election, in which case, just let us sleep.

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