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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Louisiana Primary Preview: Does it Matter?

Today is the Louisiana Primary, which we expect Rick Santorum to win handily. Yet, in another example of Mitt Romney having a constant advantage in the delegate competition, Santorum's win won't make much of a difference.

While Louisiana sends 46 delegates to the Republican National Convention, the state chooses only 20 today. The rest aren't selected until June 2. Thus, even though Santorum, comfortably on top of the latest Louisiana polls, will win big today, he'll win only 8 to 10 delegates of today's 20. (National Convention Delegates are allocated proportionally to those Presidential candidates receiving 25 percent or more of today's vote.) Romney will win 4 to 6, Gingrich 3 to 5. The projected delegate standings will barely budge.

By the time Louisiana awards the rest of its delegates in June, many expect this primary to be over, and Romney will sweep the month as the GOP coalesces around him.

Clearly, then, the delegate math won't change much. The other possible impact of a Santorum win--momentum--isn't much more heartening for the former Senator. Any semblance of momentum will surely dissipate before the next set of primaries arrive on April 3. Moreover, those contests are Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington DC, two of which we can expect Romney to win (Santorum isn't even on the DC ballot, which is winner-take-all), and maybe even a third if he carpet bombs the Wisconsin TV market, as per his infamous modus operandi.

Ultimately, we continue to play out the string, waiting for the inevitable Romney nomination. Is it the general yet?

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