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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Alabama and Mississippi: Live Results

I'll have a running blog here throughout the night, though the posts won't be frequent enough to call it "live." Before we see some results, I'll use this space to look at some exit polls from Mississippi and Alabama. To see my preview of the primaries, including scenarios and possible ramifications, check out my preview.

What a night! Updated standings coming tomorrow, and analysis after that. Anyone have any cigars? How about a dark room to smoke them in?

I'm going to bed. If you're staying up, watch to see if Romney digs out of third place in either state. Not only would that look better, but it could force Gingrich out. Therefore, would Romney even want 2nd place in either state? Probably not.

Good night! Thanks for reading.

CNN just called Mississippi for Rick Santorum. Another Santorum sweep is complete!

And let's not forget about Alabama where, even though Santorum has won it, Romney is still looking up at Gingrich's considerable rear end. With 79% in there, it's Santorum at 35%, Gingrich at 30, and Romney at 28.

The latest from Mississippi. With 96% of precincts reporting:
Santorum 33%
Gingrich 31%
Romney 30%

The call should come any minute.

Whoa, hold the phone. Rick Santorum's the grandson of a coal miner? Why didn't he ever tell us!

Santorum reminds me: he was trailing in 3rd place in all polls in both states, and here he is about to win both. Bad job by the polls.

I wonder if CNN will break the news of Santorum's Mississippi win in the middle of Santorum's speech. That'd be a great timing job by the Santorum campaign. He seems to most struggle when people listen to him talk.

The Mississippi numbers, by the way, with 90% of precints reporting:
Santorum 33%--74,500 votes
Gingrich 32%--71,000
Romney 30%--68,000

We're waiting to hear from Santorum, who I think is in Louisiana, getting the jump on another southern state. We're not expected to hear from Romney, who would have nothing to say, except, of course, for, "Seriously, stop it!"

The reported numbers are finally unstuck. Mississippi is up to 86% of precincts reporting, and it's holding at Santorum 33, Gingrich 32, and Romney 30. Santorum leads Gingrich by 2,500 votes, and Romney by about 5,000.

How long until Romney touts today's wins in Hawaii and American Samoa to claim that he and Santorum actually split the four contests today?? And how long after that until I roll on the floor laughing?

Two major things to watch for the night, besides who wins Mississippi.
Does Gingrich finish in 2nd place in both states? If so, he stays in. If Romney can catch Gingrich in either state or Santorum in Mississippi, Gingrich has some thinking to do.
Does Romney finish in 3rd place in both states? If so, even with the conservative vote being split between Gingrich and Santorum, the Republican Primary is clearly going another month or two, and maybe even more.

Wow. Now all eyes turn to Mississippi, which has been stuck on 79% of precincts reporting for nearly a half hour. The numbers, as of now, are:

CNN makes its first call. Santorum wins Alabama!

I'm still waiting to hear the obvious-yet-not-explicitly-stated statistic: 70% of Republicans in both these states are voting against the clear front runner, Mitt Romney.

How much did CNN pay Hans Zimmer to write their election theme music?

They just hit 80% of the vote in Mississippi, and it's Santorum 33, Gingrich 32, Romney 30, but they are still counting in some urban areas, which will help Romney a bit. This could go right down to the wire!

With 30% in in Alabama, Santorum holds a 4-point lead on Gingrich and 6 on Romney.

Incredible what's developing here. Mississippi is past 70% of the vote, and Santorum is still 3% back of Romney. It might be too soon to call the state for Santorum over Gingrich (at 32%), but I think we can at least say that Romney will finish behind Santorum.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, which just crossed 25% of precincts reporting, Romney trails Santorum by 7 points, 35-28 (Gingrich at 30).

Are we seeing not only a Santorum sweep in the making, but a Romney double-third place?

The CNN team is debating where Gingrich's votes would go if he dropped out. Santorum would certainly garner more--perhaps 50-70%, they estimated--but Romney getting 30-40% of Gingrich's votes would help him get to 1,144. If Santorum wins both, and Gingrich finishes 2nd in both, Gingrich would stay in and Romney's delegate math would stay uncertain.

Fifty percent of Mississippi's votes are in, and Santorum still at 33% with Gingrich and Romney back at 31%.

In Alabama, up to 12% reporting, has Santorum with an even larger lead, including six points up on a third place Romney.

Worthy of note: With Romney temporarily showing in 3rd place in both races, imagine if there was only one of Gingrich/Santorum in the race? We could be talking blowout against the GOP frontrunner.

It does not look like Romney is winning urban and suburban areas by enough to offset Santorum and Gingrich elsewhere. Though the urban totals will take longer to report which will bring up Romney's numbers tonight, right now he's 3 points back of Santorum in Mississippi (33% reported) and 5 points back of Santorum in Alabama (6% reporting). We'll be watching to see by how much Romney can eat into--and potentially eliminate--those deficits.

Alabama has ticked up to 2% of precincts, and now it's Romney running 3rd in both, however slightly.

In Mississippi, with 14% of precincts reporting, we have Santorum out in front with 33% of the vote with Gingrich and Romney a few points back. By the exit polls, Romney is running much better in Mississippi. A Santorum steal there would be a huge boon, and it'd probably be indicative of bigger Romney problems in Alabama.

Finally solid numbers from Mississippi. With 6% reporting, Romney and Santorum are at 32 percent each, with Gingrich 3 points back. With 1% reporting in Mississippi, it's Santorum and Romney basically tied with Gingrich once again in 3rd place.

Jon King just discussed the impact on the delegate race if Santorum wins both states, but he understated the effects of such an event on primaries down the line. Since all three candidates will hover around 30% of the vote, the delegate race won't be affected too much at all. As I said this morning, though: If Santorum wins both states tonight, Gingrich probably drops out. Santorum would then sweep--SWEEP--Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, and, most importantly, Texas. He'd do well in many other places, as well. THAT is the impact of a Santorum win in both states. I think Romney would, right now, sign for a Santorum/Gingrich split tonight. It's safest.

I don't get why CNN is making a such a big deal about the prisoners. I also don't get why Alabama gets inmates to haul them. Are they rubbing it in? "This is as close as you're ever going to get to a ballot!" Isn't having to share a toilet with an Alabama prisoner enough?

A white tinted vehicle hasn't been followed this closely since OJ's Ford Bronco.

Okay, it's 23 minutes since the polls closed, and we have no raw votes counted? Come on, Alabama and Mississippi! I could care less about your correspondents, CNN.

Whoa! Romney's lead down to 33%. Santorum at 31%, Gingrich at 30. Remember that at 8:01, it was 35-30-29. At 33-31-30, it's all within the "margin of error," like any poll. Still advantage Romney, as he'll need back luck with the "error" and his rivals will need good luck, but you don't see exit polls numbers much closer than this.

Wolf Blitzer says the Mississippi Exit polls need some updating. The banner underneath says things might tighten. Okay, that got me way too excited.

Twitter: @ LisaDCNN : ROMNEY SURPRISE: Exit polls show Romney winning the huge evangelical pop. in Mississippi. (Evangels were 81% of voters)

Gingrich's Chief of Staff just pointed out that "we're not even halfway through the primary process." That could be the justification to stay in, barring two 3rd place finishes. He also refused to answer the question, "Is there a mark you're aiming for tonight to move forward?" No direct answer. Big surprise.

Everyone keeps asking if Gingrich drops out without winning a state tonight. I'd say it's 50/50. If he finishes 2nd in both--not implausible, according to the exits--I say he stays in. Romney and Santorum would each finish in 3rd place once, which looks bad for a frontrunner, and there's still North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana to come in the next month.

If Gingrich finishes in 3rd place in one or both contests, however, and he still stays in, we have to start thinking he'd prefer a Romney nomination to a Santorum one. Crazy to think about, I know, but evidence points to it. Maybe his spring rivalry with Santorum means more to him at this point than his winter rivalry with Romney.

Polls closed. CNN reveals exit polls.

Santorum in Alabama!
34% Santorum
29% Romney
28% Gingrich

In Missississippi it looks like Romney.
35% Romney
30% Gingrich
29% Santorum

Like I've been telling you for the last two hours... Gingrich is headed toward a disappointing finish.

More on Newt's demise. From CNN:
Thirty-five percent of voters in Alabama were married women, according to CNN exit polling. Of those voters, 40% supported Romney, 36% supported Santorum, 17% backed Gingrich and 6% backed Paul.

Forty-five percent of voters in Mississippi were married women, according to CNN exit polling. Of those voters, 40% backed Romney, 33% supported Santorum, 23% supported Gingrich and 2% backed Paul.

Two minutes until polls close!

Fifteen minutes until polls close. This morning I predicted a Gingrich win and Romney win. Now, based on these exit poll numbers, I've basically eliminated Gingrich. I see a Romney sweep or a Romney win in Mississippi and a Santorum win in Alabama.

Both states were 50/50 in gender split. So much for Gingrich's advantage. I'm back to being pessimistic about his chances tonight. CNN just revealed that Gingrich finishes a distant 3rd among married women. Remember his edge among men was quite small.

Twitter: @ daveweigel : Local GOP source newly convinced that Santorum will win #ALprimary by cloning Mike Huckabee's 2008 strategy

Oh! I take it back. Gingrich wins "Men" in Alabama with 34% to Santorum's 30 and Romney's 29. Well, that's something. I'm guessing men make up a strong majority of Alabama Republicans.

Am I the only one who doesn't see Gingrich win any exit poll question? Conservative voters, moderate voters. Those who make under 50k, those who make over 100k. Rural, urban. Oppose Tea Party, college graduates, 65 or older. Nothing for Newt. It's rare that he's even close, and he's often a distant 3rd.

More on those numbers to show you what I mean about Gingrich's disappointing day:
Alabama urban voters:
37% Romney
36% Santorum
20% Gingrich

Alabama rural voters:
32% Santorum
31% Gingrich
30% Romney

In other words, Gingrich is behind Santorum in both urban and rural voters, and even if rural areas are neck-and-neck, Gingrich is way back of both rivals in urban areas. We could be witnessing the end of the Gingrich Campaign.

I just don't know about Newt tonight. I thought he'd win one of these, but I see awful polling from urban areas while Santorum is winning very conservative voters over him. Those numbers do not make a winner. Meanwhile, I just keep staring at these Romney numbers. Electability matters to these voters, and Romney dominates that category. We could very well have a Romney two-state sweep tonight, which would end the competitive part of the 2012 Republican primary.

Below, a graphic from the Washington Post that merges results from Mississippi and Alabama eit polls. This is a great sign for Mitt Romney. We can scratch out the possibility of him finishing with two thirds. We can consider, very realistically, that he will win both states.

From CBS, their numbers might de-stress the Romney Campaign. "In Alabama, thirty-nine percent of voters said defeating Mr. Obama was the most important candidate quality; in Mississippi, 42 percent said the same thing. . . . The economy was the top issue for Republican voters in both states, with 57 percent of voters in Alabama and 54 percent of voters in Mississippi prioritizing it." Those are outstanding numbers for Romney. Earlier, CNN said about half of Alabama and Mississippi voters saw Romney as the candidate best equipped to defeat President Obama in November.

More CNN numbers show a majority of both Alabama and Mississippi voters think Romney is "not conservative enough." Of those voters, Gingrich and Santorum each won 40% of the vote, with Romney only 8%. Incredible. It's just one stat, of course, but this might be the beginning of more stats that say: Romney might finish in 3rd place at least once. Maybe twice.
Here's some relevant numbers from CNN. Going into these two primaries, I feel Santorum is the least likely to have a good day. But with these numbers, perhaps he might surprise us once again.
Mississippian voters today who called themselves Evangelicals/Born-Again:
81% Yes
19% No

Same for Alabama:
73% Yes
27% No

Those are not favorable Romney numbers, though perhaps we can expect that while Santorum and Gingrich will split the majority of those "Yes"s (perhaps a 40-40-20 split with Romney grabbing a fifth of them), Romney might sweep the "No"s.

Mississippi: Do the religious of the candidates matter?
45% Great deal
32% Somewhat
12% Not much
9% Not at all

Alabama: Do the religious beliefs of the candidates matter?
44% Great deal
30% Somewhat
15% Not much
10% Not at all

Nearly half of these voters, then, are citing religion as a very important factor, and 3/4 of voters say it's at least somewhat of a factor. Of course, few of those southern voters are Mormon. More trouble for Romney? Perhaps. Yet, once again, we see Gingrich and Santorum splitting their followers. Romney could very well sweep the approximately 25% who say religion does not matter at all or only barely matter, while Gingrich and Santorum split a chunk of the rest with Romney picking up a few votes there himself.

Alabama: With what party do you identify?
66% Republican
28% Independent
6% Democrat

Of Republicans in Alabama, for what candidate did they vote?
34% Santorum
31% Gingrich
31% Romney

Two thirds of Alabama voters identified as Republican, and Santorum won the category. The 6% who called themselves Democrats are probably "mischief voters," hoping to extend the primary, and likely are supporting Santorum as well. That's a good start for Santorum. Yet, again, we see Romney getting saved by moderates. With the 28% of the electorate that identifies as Independent, it's unlikely Santorum's extreme conservatism plays well.

Keep checking in!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So it looks like we get scenario 5. I'm so giddy I can hardly contain myself. The question PP.B should be asking is: Who will be the DarkHorse of the convention?The smoke-filled back rooms must be buzzing already.

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