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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Republican Primary Schedule

Here is the complete Republican Primary schedule, which will be helpful when answering the question "Can Romney Be Caught?," which I will try tomorrow.

January 3: Iowa (caucus) -- SANTORUM
January 10: New Hampshire (primary) -- ROMNEY
January 21: South Carolina (primary) -- GINGRICH
January 31: Florida (primary) -- ROMNEY
February 4: Nevada (caucus) -- ROMNEY
February 11: Maine (caucus) --ROMNEY
February 7: Colorado (caucus), Minnesota (caucus), Missouri (primary) -- SANTORUM SWEEP
February 28: Arizona (primary), Michigan (primary), Wyoming Caucus--ROMNEY SWEEP
March 3: Washington(caucus)--ROMNEY
March 6: (Super Tuesday)
Alaska (caucus)--ROMNEY
Georgia (primary)--GINGRICH
Idaho (caucus)--ROMNEY
Massachusetts (primary)--ROMNEY
North Dakota (caucus)--SANTORUM
Ohio (primary)--ROMNEY
Oklahoma (primary)--SANTORUM
Tennessee (primary)--SANTORUM
Vermont (primary)--ROMNEY
Virginia (primary)--ROMNEY
-----
March 10:
Kansas (caucus)--SANTORUM
Guam (caucus)--ROMNEY
Northern Mariana Islands (caucus)--ROMNEY
US Virgin Islands (caucus)--ROMNEY
-----
March 13:
Alabama (primary)--50 (One of two southern primaries on 3/13)
Mississippi (primary)--40 (ditto)
American Samoa (caucus)--9 (*snicker*)
Hawaii (caucus)--20 (I should go cover this on site)
=119 on March 13
-----
March 18: Puerto Rico (Caucus)--23 (Winner Take All)
March 20: Illinois (indescribable)--69 (big one)
March 24: Louisiana (primary)--46 (proportional, southern)
-----
April 3:
Wisconsin (primary)--42 (Winner Take All)
Maryland (primary)--37 (Winner Take All)
Washington DC (primary)--19 (Winner Take All)
=98 on April 3
-----
April 21: Missouri (Caucus)--52 (actually counts this time)
April 24: New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island (231 northeast delegates)
May 8: North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia (132 southern-like delegates)
May 15: Nebraska, Oregon (63 delegates)
May 22: Kentucky, Arkansas (91 delegates--southern)
May 29: Texas (proportional primary--155 delegates, southern)
June 5: California (172… the biggest prize), New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico (279 June 5 delegates—single largest day remaining, and you have to like Romney in the two biggest)
June 26: Utah (40 delegates)

Total remaining pledged delegates: 1,408

Santorum Wins Kansas, Gains Nothing

Rick Santorum has won the Kansas caucuses. With 99 percent of the vote in, he won 52 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney's 21, Newt Gingrich's 14, and Ron Paul's 13.

The state allocates 40 delegates. Santorum will win somewhere north of 20, depending on the congressional splits. However, since Romney could land around 8, Santorum won't gain on Romney today. Remember that earlier, Romney won the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, probably earning all 18 delegates between the two. Thus, if Romney does get 8 delegates from Kansas, he'd reach 26. Santorum should reach 26 and could even clear 30, but the US Virgin Islands later tonight will probably join Romney's "territory" domination and give him 9 delegates more. We could see each candidate win 31 to 35 of today's 67 delegates.

Thus, we have a microcosm of the primary. Santorum wins a base state of the Republican Party, but Romney's lead is safe.

Tomorrow I finish the series--Can Romney Be Caught?

Romney wins NMI, Guam

Mitt Romney has won the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, two of four contests today. They've each earned him six delegates, with three more "party leader delegates" likely to eventually join them.

We're still waiting on the US Virgin Islands (6 to 9 more for Romney) and Kansas (where Santorum expects a big win) to weigh in later tonight.

I'll have updated standings after these contests. Tomorrow I'll finish my series on, "Can Romney Be Caught?" See you then.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Calendar and Math

Yesterday, I wrote that the Romney Campaign used flawed logic when asserting their uncatchable position in front of the Republican Primary, explaining that they could not be caught because the delegate math wasn't there for Romney’s competitors. Specifically, I argued that, "The goal of the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns . . . is to just get the primary to the convention, and then see what happens." Thus, they'll stay in the race if there's any chance Romney's momentum could be slowed enough to keep him from securing 1,144 delegates before the end of the primary season, which ends on June 26 with the Utah Primary (as shown below).

How do I like their chances to do that? We need two pieces of information before we can begin to draw conclusions. Below is that information. Tomorrow are the conclusions.

First, let's look at the calendar. Here is the complete Republican Primary schedule (with comments):
January 3: Iowa (caucus) -- SANTORUM
January 10: New Hampshire (primary) -- ROMNEY
January 21: South Carolina (primary) -- GINGRICH
January 31: Florida (primary) -- ROMNEY
February 4: Nevada (caucus) -- ROMNEY
February 11: Maine (caucus) --ROMNEY
February 7: Colorado (caucus), Minnesota (caucus), Missouri (primary) -- SANTORUM SWEEP
February 28: Arizona (primary), Michigan (primary), Wyoming Caucus--ROMNEY SWEEP
March 3: Washington(caucus)--ROMNEY
March 6: (Super Tuesday)
Alaska (caucus)--ROMNEY
Georgia (primary)--GINGRICH
Idaho (caucus)--ROMNEY
Massachusetts (primary)--ROMNEY
North Dakota (caucus)--SANTORUM
Ohio (primary)--ROMNEY
Oklahoma (primary)--SANTORUM
Tennessee (primary)--SANTORUM
Vermont (primary)--ROMNEY
Virginia (primary)--ROMNEY
-----
March 10:Kansas (caucus)--40 delegates (Should vote like Oklahoma/Tennessee)
Guam (caucus)--9 (Respect the territories)
Northern Mariana Islands (caucus)--9 (I SAID RESPECT THEM!)
US Virgin Islands (caucus)--9 (Okay, you can laugh.)
=67 combined on March 10
-----
March 13:Alabama (primary)--50 (One of two southern primaries on 3/13)
Mississippi (primary)--40 (ditto)
American Samoa (caucus)--9 (*snicker*)
Hawaii (caucus)--20 (I should go cover this on site)
=119 on March 13
-----
March 17: Missouri (Caucus)--52 (actually counts this time)
March 18: Puerto Rico (Caucus)--23 (Winner Take All)
March 20: Illinois (indescribable)--69 (big one)
March 24: Louisiana (primary)--46 (proportional, southern)
-----
April 3:Wisconsin (primary)--42 (Winner Take All)
Maryland (primary)--37 (Winner Take All)
Washington DC (primary)--19 (Winner Take All)
=98 on April 3
-----
April 24: New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island (231 northeast delegates)
May 8: North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia (132 southern-like delegates)
May 15: Nebraska, Oregon (63 delegates)
May 22: Kentucky, Arkansas (91 delegates--southern)
May 29: Texas (proportional primary--155 delegates, southern)
June 5: California (172… the biggest prize), New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico (279 June 5 delegates—single largest day remaining, and you have to like Romney in the two biggest)
June 26: Utah (40 delegates)
=Total remaining pledged delegates: 1,475

The second piece of information--the delegate count. The Real Clear Politics Standings are as follows:
1. Romney--409 (54.97% of delegates)
2. Santorum--163
3. Gingrich--111
4. Paul--61

Finally, based on those two pieces of information, keep this delegate math in mind as we move forward:
Total remaining pledged delegates: 1,475
Amount of remaining delegates needed for Romney to secure the nomination: 1,144 - 409=735
Percentage of remaining delegates Romney needs to secure the nomination by the end of the primary season (and without superdelegates making up the difference): 735/1,475=49.8

So, what do you think? Can Romney win 49.8 percent of the remaining delegates? Or can the other three candidates, combined, keep him from 1,144?

I’ll be back this weekend with my thoughts.

-IC

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Romney's Flawed Logic

Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee of the Republican Party. It's inevitable. The campaign has grown borderline cocky. Yet, in their confidence, they seem to completely misread the objectives of their opponents.

Yesterday, the Romney campaign asserted that it would take "an act of God" for one of Romney's opponents to surpass his delegate count. They cited the difficult delegate math of a Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich comeback, explaining they'd have to win 65 and 70 percent of remaining delegates, respectively, to overtake Romney by the Republican National Convention. Since they have won 22 and 13 percent so far, it is decidedly unlikely that they could shift to taking 7 of every 10 delegate the rest of the way.

But here's the flawed logic of the Romney Campaign: overtaking Romney by the convention is not the goal of Santorum and Gingrich. If it was, then the Romney Campaign's logic would be sound. The goal of the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns, however, is to just get the primary to the convention, and then see what happens. As I referred to it on Tuesday, the convention would be the proverbial Game 7, where anything can happen. Who knows, if they get the primary that far, maybe they combine their delegates in an attempt to stop Romney and each have a future. Santorum-Gingrich 2012 (or vice versa, though if Santorum was happy with VP, he'd just take it from Romney to settle the primary once and for all). If Romney hasn't won the nomination by the end of the primary season (late June), there will be two months of questions--mainly from the conservative base of the party--surrounding the Romney Campaign, and perhaps there would even be pressure for Romney to withdraw (he wouldn't) or accept the VP position with another candidate (he'd sooner die). Those might be unlikely scenarios, but at a brokered convention, where havoc reigns supreme, anything can happen.

So, sure, Romney Campaign, they can't catch you with primary wins. But Santorum and Gingrich just want to get the primary to the convention, which means they stay in the contest, grind it out, and see what happens.

How do I fancy their chances to do that? For an answer, you'll just have to check back tomorrow.

-IC

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Post-Super Tuesday Delegate Standings

(Note: If you came here via a google search, or even if you didn't, these standings are outdated. Click here for the latest standings and coverage.)


All right, we still don't know the official delegate splits of every Super Tuesday state, but they are largely allocated. Below are the latest delegate estimates from CNN and Real Clear Politics, in addition to the "official count" of delegates only recognizing bound delegates and announced superdelegates. (For example, in the official count, unbound delegates from a state like Colorado or Washington do not count, as their caucuses were not binding.)

I'll update these as the sources do. Check back again as we look back to Super Tuesday and forward to what's still in store for the 2012 Republican Primary.

Republican Delegate Counts
Projected
CNN Standings
1. Romney--429
2. Santorum--169
3. Gingrich--118

4. Paul--67

Real Clear Politics Standings
1. Romney--409
2. Santorum--163
4. Gingrich--111

3. Paul--61

Official (not counting unbound delegates)
1. Romney--319
2. Gingrich--113
3. Santorum--74
4. Paul--23

Super Tuesday: The Spin

Romney ended up winning Alaska last night. We're still waiting for the official delegate split, but until then, here's the obvious spin from the candidates.

From the Romney camp:
There were ten contests. Romney won a majority (six).
There were seven primaries. Romney won a majority (four).
There were three caucuses. Romney won a majority (two).
Romney won the big prize--Ohio.
Romney probably won the night's delegate count.
Romney will have about as many delegates than all his competitors combined.
No one can catch him.

From all others:
Romney outspent the field and still lost 40 percent of contests.
Romney outspent Santorum in Oklahoma and Tennessee multiple times over and still lost the states.
Likewise, Romney "failed to attract conservative support."
Romney lost three of the biggest five states.
Romney has not emerged much stronger after Super Tuesday. In other words, he hasn't significantly increased his percentage of the share of delegates, thus slowing his quest for 1,144 by the end of the primary season.
Romney ever so barely won Ohio, despite decimating Santorum in advertising.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Importance of Alaska... Really!

The numbers are pointing toward a Mitt Romney win in Ohio. Along with the imminent Idaho call, that makes five wins for Romney on Super Tuesday. Santorum won three and Gingrich one. Another way to look at this:
Romney: 5 states
Nonmeys: 4 states.

And there's one state left. Alaska. Will Mitt Romney be denied a majority of Super Tuesday's states? It won't make a huge deal in terms of delegates, but it will be significant in terms of spin. The best part is that coming to the rescue of Santorum and Gingrich could be Ron Paul, who has as a decent chance to win his first state up there, but more importantly, deny Romney a majority of Super Tuesday contests.

Tomorrow, we'll take at look at how Alaska went down, along with other developments. Until then,

-IC

The Importance of North Dakota... Really?

With 78 percent of North Dakota precincts reporting, Rick Santorum has won the North Dakota Caucus. He currently has 40 percent of the vote, while Paul sits in second at 27 and Romney third at 25.

Therefore, Rick Santorum has won a third state before Ohio is called. We have three a piece for Romney and Santorum.

Romney should win Idaho for a fourth win. Santorum is clinging onto his Ohio lead, one that peaked around 16,000 votes but is now down to 11,000 with, as CNN reports, mostly Romney votes to still come in. They're at 64 percent of precincts.

Eyes might soon turn to ALASKA as the tie-breaker. It would only be too appropriate if it's won by Ron Paul.

Super Tuesday Update

Here's where we stand:
Romney wins: Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts
Santorum wins: Tennessee, Oklahoma
Gingrich wins: Georgia
Unknown: OHIO, North Dakota, Idaho, Alaska

We can expect Romney to win Idaho. That puts him at four states with three remaining. Can the other candidates run the table and deny Romney a fifth state? Such an effort would mean that Romney loses more states (six) than he wins today (four). What a development that would be.

Speaking of developments, despite promising Ohio exit polls for Romney, Rick Santorum holds a 39% to 36% lead with 27% of precincts reporting, or a 7,500 vote lead.

Then we turn to North Dakota and Alaska. Can Santorum and Ron Paul stop Romney from getting that fifth win in those two caucuses? If so... talk about the dominant headline tomorrow!

Stay tuned.

Super Tuesday Timeline

Random thought: what can we expect for a timeline tonight? How will the night unfold?

7:00 -- Romney surges ahead of the field, winning two states at the stroke of 7. Virginia and Vermont will waste no time giving Romney two wins under his belt. One hour later, Massachusetts will quickly be called for Romney. In total, we can expect about 100 of their 107 combined delegates to go to the Governor.

I'm curious if such an early triple triumph will affect the North Dakota, Idaho, and Alaska caucuses--Idaho and Alaska don't even start convening until after 8:00 EST. Remember, when caucuses meet, they discuss anything they'd like before their vote. If Romney has already won three states, might take it upon themselves to vote for Romney and help unify the party. It's not a primary, where voting has been going on all day. It's a caucus. They'll talk to each other before voting. They might rally. They'll factor in the day's developments, including Romney's three early victories. We might ultimately see the early calls of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia translate to three more wins for Romney in the three caucus states.

Also at 7, the Georgia polls close. Gingrich should win it immediately.

7:01-7:30 -- We'll wait for the significant Ohio Primary to close its polls. Then we intently follow its returns.

8:00 -- Massachusetts polls close and the state is immediately called for Romney, giving him a third state before the caucuses meet. Oklahoma and Tennessee polls close. Alaska caucuses convene.

9:00 -- Idaho convenes. Results within an hour or two.

10:00 -- North Dakota caucuses end.

12:00 -- Alaska caucuses end.

12:01 -- I go to sleep.

Super Tuesday: What to Watch

Super Tuesday Preview: Part V
Part I (Standings, Schedule, Poll) here.
Part II (State-by-State Breakdown) here.
Part III (Ohio Primary Breakdown) here.
Part IV (Candidate-by-Candidate Breakdown here.

All right, here's my fifth and final preview of Super Tuesday, though surely I'll find reasons for an update or two tonight as the results come pouring in, so don't be a stranger.

For this final post, I want to focus on three things to watch for tonight. They are, in descending order of importance:

3. Does Santorum have anything left in the tank? There's a good chance that Rick Santorum does not win a state tonight. Not one. The only states where he claims leads--Tennessee and Oklahoma--are states where his leads were a lot bigger a week or two ago. Each are down to the single-digits, with Tennessee probably a three-way race now. If that trend continues, he'll lose both states. He's holding even in Ohio, but surely Romney has the momentum, and Santorum can't even win many of the Ohio delegates because of his campaign's faux pas.

If Santorum doesn't win any states, and his worst case realistic scenario comes to fruition, his campaign is over.

2. Can Gingrich steal Tennessee and limit Santorum in Ohio and Oklahoma? If so, Gingrich becomes the new "conservative alternative." He'll win more delegates than Santorum and retake second place in the delegate standings. The story will be that Santorum had his chance in a one-on-one and blew it. He's proven to be a poor fundraiser if he's not winning, and he has a propensity to shoot himself in the foot with comments as much as Romney does. Plus, you know the media would love to see Gingrich back on the front page, lobbing grenades at all comers.

If Santorum falls apart and Gingrich beats expectations, their positions will reverse on March 7.

1. THE BIG ONE: Can Romney win 50 percent of tonight's delegates? Don't forget, the overarching question of the 2012 Republican Primary is not who, if anyone, can catch Romney. None of them can. Rather, it's, "Can Romney get to 1,144 delegates?" If he doesn't, it's a brokered convention, which is the goal of all three of the other candidates. A brokered convention would be the proverbial Game 7--anything can happen. We cannot measure Romney's success tonight solely on his ability to distance his delegate count from Santorum; there is no scenario under which he will not. We will measure his success by his ability to win 50 percent or more of tonight's delegates. If Romney does not, all three opponents will press on, and Romney will have to continue to work to reach 1,144.

Let's apply some math. If we look at Real Clear Politics' delegate estimates, we see Romney has won 173 of the 317 delegates won thus far. That's 54.57 percent. (Despite only once winning more than 47 percent of the vote in a state (50.1 in Nevada), his pluralities in winner-take-all Florida and Arizona have pushed him to 55 percent of the delegates so far.) There are 1,969 delegates yet to be awarded by RCP. Romney needs to win 971 of those. That's 49.31 percent. If he falls a couple percentage points short of 50 percent of Super Tuesday's numerous delegates, that 49.31 will rise over 50 percent, and the day will be considered a loss. Then, when the primary moves south for the next two weeks, that number will grow even more. That's an opening a Santorum or Gingrich--depending on tonight's results--needs.

So watch tonight's coverage and keep those questions in mind. Check back in to see if I find any post-worthy updates.

Thanks for reading,

-IC

Super Tuesday by Candidate

Super Tuesday Preview: Part IV
Part I (Standings, Schedule, Poll) here.
Part II (State-by-State Breakdown) here.
Part III (Ohio Primary Breakdown) here.

It's here! Super Tuesday has arrived. For Part IV of my preview, let's take a look at each candidate. We'll do worst-case realistic scenario, best-case realistic scenario, and most realistic, realistic scenario for each of them.

Note that all of the states are proportional, though some--like Virginia--dictate that if 50 percent of the statewide vote is broken by a candidate, that candidate gets all of the sizeable at-large delegates (those not awarded by congressional district or the 3 party leaders). A candidate usually has to reach 15 percent to qualify for any at-large delegates, but that is nullified if someone else wins 50 percent of the state. In addition to the at-large delegates, many of today's congressional districts also proportionally award 2 or 3 delegates each (Santorum's savior), though again, if a candidate wins over 50 percent of the district, they get all of the district's delegates.

On to the candidates' scenarios:

Ron Paul
Worst Case: Gets shut out of wins again, finishes third in a couple of the caucus states (Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota); fails to finish with 15 percent of the vote in any primary. Delegate haul: 20
Best Case
: Wins North Dakota and Alaska, runs second in Idaho, and is able to crack 15 percent in a primary, earning a few more delegates. Delegate haul: 50
Realistic
: Wins or comes in a close second in one caucus (probably North Dakota), comes in second and third in Idaho and Alaska, but fails to crack 15 percent elsewhere. Delegate haul: 35

Newt Gingrich
Worst Case: Georgia largely deserts him while his Tennessee surge proves to be a mirage of only two polls; he doesn't crack 15 percent in any other state, and he comes in last in all three caucuses. Delegate haul: 50
Best Case: Wins Georgia big, squeaks out a Tennessee win, shows strongly in Oklahoma, wins over 15 percent in Ohio, and picks up some caucus delegates. Delegate haul: 100
Realistic: Wins Georgia comfortably, has a strong third place in Tennessee, cracks 15 percent in Oklahoma but nowhere else, and earns a handful of caucus delegates. Delegate haul: 80

Rick Santorum
Worst Case: Earns zero wins. Second in Ohio, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Third in Tennessee, Georgia, and the caucus states. Moreover, Romney wins nine states. Delegate haul: 70
Best Case: Wins Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and a caucus state (doubtful he wins two), while breaking 20 percent in all other contests. Delegate haul: 125 (limited from lack of Ohio delegates)
Realistic: Ohio is a complete crapshoot, as is Tennessee. He can win Oklahoma, but is unlikely to win any particular caucus state. I'm wagering we see one Santorum win--maybe two--and then mostly 2nd and 3rd places. Delegate haul: 100 (limited)

Mitt Romney
Worst Case: The party uses Super Tuesday to voice their loudest objection yet to Mitt Romney. He loses Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, and two caucuses, only winning Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia, and narrowly Idaho. Delegate haul: 150
Best Case: He wins, wait for it, nine of the ten states (all but Georgia). Delegate haul: 250
Realistic
: He wins seven states, losing one each to his competitors. Delegate haul: 215

Coming this afternoon in the fifth and final part of PPFA's Super Tuesday preview: The three biggest things to look for in the Super Tuesday results.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Ohio Primary: Santorum's Last Stand?

Super Tuesday Preview: Part III
Part I (Standings, Schedule, Poll) here.
Part II (State-by-State breakdown) here.

We're now under 24 hours from our first Super Tuesday results. For Part III of my preview, I'd like to unpack the importance of the Ohio Primary. Please read Part II for a transition into it. In short, I established that of the other 371 Super Tuesday delegates, Mitt Romney will win around 185, give or take. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will each break 70, with Santorum threatening 80. Ron Paul will hover around 30.

In terms of state victories, we have:
Romney: 3 (Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia)
Leaning Romney: Idaho Caucus
Gingrich: 1 (Georgia)
Barely Leaning Santorum: Tennessee, Oklahoma
Too close to call: The Alaska and North Dakota caucuses (Romney, Paul, and Santorum each have a shot)

All that remains, then, is Ohio and its 66 delegates. How important is the Buckeye State? Look at these two scenarios:

Scenario 1) Santorum wins Ohio. If he can hold onto Tennessee and Oklahoma while winning one of the three caucus states, he would have won four of the ten Super Tuesday states. Furthermore, Romney would be denied a majority of the states. Santorum can then claim a near-split, and if Romney only won four states (we'd be giving Paul a caucus), Santorum can claim to have won just as many states as Romney, including three of the biggest five (with Romney only winning one of them--Virginia--a state where Santorum and Gingrich were not even on the ballot). Moreover, if all Part II's projections hold close to accurate, a Santorum win would ensure Romney does not win 50 percent of Super Tuesday's delegates, which would further reinforce Romney's inability to win over the party, despite having more money, better organization, and four straight states worth of momentum.

A final bonus for Santorum under this scenario is that with Gingrich winning only one state and Santorum proving he can stand toe-to-toe nationally with Romney, Gingrich might drop out. Then, Santorum would get the Speaker's endorsement, money, and future votes. Santorum and Paul could combine for 55 to 60 percent of the delegates the rest of the way, which would deny Romney an overall majority and give us a brokered convention.

But then there's...

Scenario 2) Romney wins Ohio. In all likelihood, therefore, Romney wins five or six states, while denying Santorum a fourth. Santorum would have no claims to a victory on the day. Romney would have won a clear victory in state total, including two of the biggest four (with Santorum only winning one of them), and, more importantly, he would have won a clear majority of delegates on the day. He would pull further away from Santorum in every category imaginable, including momentum and fundraising, and might ultimately wake up on March 7 with twice as many delegates as all the other candidates combined. Enormous pressure would be on Santorum to concede and rally behind Romney, and perhaps such a move, done early enough, could land him on the ticket in November. The primary would be over within a week, ten days on the outside (after Romney wins some more to put Santorum away).

Those are two extraordinarily different fallouts. Truth be told, there's innumerable scenarios in between, but it's Ohio that determines which path we more closely follow.

So yeah, I'd say Ohio's important.

And in this bonus scenario for Newt Gingrich, we not only see another way an Ohio loss could derail the Santorum train, but how a Santorum derailment frees up the track for the Gingrich engine.

Scenario 2-bonus) Romney wins Ohio. Santorum licks his wounds having fumbled his chance at the nomination. Meanwhile, Gingrich has won Georgia, Super Tuesday's biggest contest, and he made huge gains in Tennessee. Several southern states lie on the immediate horizon, with Texas waiting a bit further. Can the anti-Romney base of the Republican Party, disappointed that Santorum didn't have what it takes, then go back to Gingrich for a third time and make him the latest and last "Nonmey," but this time it's a political heavyweight that can stand up "mano a mano" with Romney, unlike Santorum's self-destruction?

Just sayin'. "Gingrich wins biggest state, Santorum loses second biggest." That could be the spin.

So who's going to win Ohio? What scenario will unfold? It's deliciously too close to call. In fact, the Real Clear Politics average, which averages the numbers of the last handful of relevant polls from across the polling services, has Romney with a lead of a tenth of a percentage point! Here's how close each of those polls see the Ohio race:


Ohio Primary Polls
Rasmussen Reports, 3/4 - 3/4
Santorum--32
Romney--31

WeAskAmerica, 3/4 - 3/4
Romney--32
Santorum--28
Gingrich--24 (Interesting...)

PPP (D), 3/3 - 3/4
Romney--37
Santorum--36

Suffolk, 3/3 - 3/4
Santorum--37
Romney--33

Quinnipiac, 3/2 - 3/4
Romney--34
Santorum--31

CNN/Opinion Research, 3/1 - 3/4
Santorum--32
Romney--32

NBC News/Marist, 2/29 - 3/2
Santorum--34
Romney--32

Of these seven polls, Santorum leads three, Romney leads three, and they're tied in one. The average, again, is a 0.1 lead for Romney. That, my friends, is the very definition of too close too call. Ultimatlely, Romney will win more delegates, thanks to the Santorum Campaign's delegate blunder.

But even in the popular vote, I'm calling Romney. Momentum rules.

Super Tuesday: State-By-State

Super Tuesday Preview: Part II
Part I here.

We're just over 24 hours from our first Super Tuesday results. For Part II of my preview, I'd like to take a close look at each of tomorrow's contests. Here's a list of them and their delegate quantities.

Alaska (caucus)--27
Georgia (primary)--76
Idaho (caucus)--32
Massachusetts (primary)--41
North Dakota (caucus)--28
Ohio (primary)--66
Oklahoma (primary)--43
Tennessee (primary)--58
Vermont (primary)--17
Virginia (primary)--49
=437 combined on Super Tuesday (19.1% of total delegates)

Though this primary is all but decided, the door still stays open for a perfect storm for Santorum. Let’s do some Super Tuesday delegate math, shall we?

If you combine Romney's three "lock" states--Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia--that's 107 possible electoral votes. If Santorum can crack 15 percent in Massachusetts and 20 percent in Vermont, he can steal a handful of delegates combined, but Romney's getting the rest. Since Romney will get all 49 of Virginia's delegates through winning every county and a majority of the state vote, Romney will take 100 delegates from those three states.

But then there's the big contests. In descending order of weight:

Gingrich is dominating in Georgia and can expect about 40 to 45 of Georgia's 76. Romney's momentum has raised him to a clear second place, so look for him take home about 20 and Santorum about 10. This would bring Romney up to 125 on the day.

Let's save Ohio, the second largest prize tomorrow, for last. In the third largest state--Tennessee--we see Santorum clinging onto a narrow polling lead for the state's 58 delegates, awarded through district and statewide numbers. Frustrating for Santorum is an enormous surge from Gingrich in the state, and the three big candidates are now in a three-way race in the state. The key for Santorum will be to win the most districts in addition to the popular vote, which would give him a strong majority of the delegates. As of now, however, it's difficult to see him getting that big win. I'd say Santorum edges out Romney and they would each get 20 to 22 delegates, with Gingrich in the teens. Romney's up to 145, Santorum up to 35.

Virginia, as mentioned, is fourth largest; Oklahoma is fifth at 43 delegates. It looks similar to Tennessee. Santorum narrowly leads Romney, though here Gingrich is a strong but distant third. Pencil Santorum and Romney in for 18 to 20 delegates each, with Gingrich earning a handful and costing Santorum a big win. Now, Romney's up to 160 to 165, Santorum about 50 to 55, and Gingrich up over 50 as well. (Paul has zero, as he’d need to reach 15 percent in these states to earn delegates, and he will not.)

What remains, besides Ohio, are smaller delegations from Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota. Combined, they're worth 87, but since Paul will be very competitive in each, we can reasonably conclude that no candidate will get more than one-third of those 87. Let's ballpark Romney, Santorum, and Paul at 25 each, with Gingrich at 12. (I suspect Romney and Paul will be a bit higher.) Romney's up to 185, Santorum approaches 80, and Gingrich rides Georgia to be right on Santorum's heals (not counting Ohio). Paul's at 25.

All counted from nine of the ten contests, we've apportioned 371 delegates, with Romney winning about half of those. Remarkably close to half, actually. (It was accidental, I swear!)

All that remains are Ohio's 66. Ohio, you can begin to understand, might be high noon for the Santorum campaign, and the Buckeye State is the subject of Part III later tonight.

Super Tuesday draws nearer!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Latest Primary Standings, Schedule, and Polls

(Note: If you came here via a google search, or even if you didn't, these standings are outdated. Click here for the latest standings and coverage.)


Super Tuesday Preview: Part I

We're almost 48 hours from the first primary results of long anticipated Super Tuesday, 2012. Over the next couple days, we'll see rapid developments across ten states as each of the four remaining candidates try to best position themselves for March 6's 410 available delegates, which account for about 19 percent of primary's total. This post will serve as a base to which we can refer for crucial data regarding my upcoming predictions, questions, and other hunches. Check back in frequently for those.

Below you will find the latest standings, primary schedule, and any polling I deem relevant.

Republican Delegate Counts
Projected
CNN Standings
1. Romney--207
2. Santorum--86
3. Paul--46
4. Gingrich--39

Real Clear Politics Standings (Has yet to award 14 of Washington's delegates)
1. Romney--173
2. Santorum--74
3. Paul--37
4. Gingrich--33

Wikipedia Standings
1. Romney--196
2. Santorum--78
3. Paul--56
4. Gingrich--51

Official (not counting unbound delegates, like Washington's)
1. Romney--136
2. Gingrich--32
3. Santorum--19
4. Paul--9
**********






Republican Primary Schedule (with comments)
Here is the GOP Primary Schedule from now until a week past "Super Tuesday":
January 3: Iowa (caucus) -- SANTORUM
January 10: New Hampshire (primary) -- ROMNEY
January 21: South Carolina (primary) -- GINGRICH
January 31: Florida (primary) -- ROMNEY
February 4: Nevada (caucus) -- ROMNEY
February 4–11: Maine (caucus) --ROMNEY
February 7: Colorado (caucus), Minnesota (caucus), Missouri (primary) -- SANTORUM SWEEP
February 28:
Arizona (primary)--58 delegates (29 after 50% penalty) -- ROMNEY
Michigan (primary)--59 delegates (30 after 50% penalty) -- ROMNEY
March 3: Washington(caucus)--43 -- ROMNEY
-----

March 6: (Super Tuesday)
Alaska (caucus)--27 (Really? That many?)
Georgia (primary)--76 (biggest yet)
Idaho (caucus)--32 (Seems Ron Paul-ish to me)
Massachusetts (primary)--41 (Lock it up for Romney)
North Dakota (caucus)--28 (Another Paul-ish feel)
Ohio (primary)--66 (High noon for Santorum)
Oklahoma (primary)--43 (Big day for Texas's cap)
Tennessee (primary)--58 (surprisingly weighty)
Vermont (primary)--17 (how cute)
Virginia (primary)--49 (Gingrich/Santorum not on the ballot)
=437 combined on Super Tuesday (19.1% of total delegates)

-----
March 10:
Kansas (caucus)--40 (will it matter?)
Guam (caucus)--9 (Respect the territories)
Northern Mariana Islands (caucus)--9 (I SAID RESPECT THEM!)
US Virgin Islands (caucus)--9 (Okay, you can laugh.)
=67 combined on March 10
-----
March 13:
Alabama (primary)--50 (if it does matter, hold on to your seats!)
Mississippi (primary)--40 (ditto)
American Samoa (caucus)--9 (*snicker*)
Hawaii (caucus)--20 (I should go cover this on site)
=119 on March 13
**********


Locks for Romney: Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia
Further probables for Romney: none

Locks for Santorum: None
Probables for Santorum: Oklahoma (21-point lead at last check, but it's well before Romney's 2/28 sweep)

Locks for Gingrich: (Georgia... I hesitate, but he has double-digit leads in recent polling)
Further probables for Gingrich: None

Locks for Paul: None
Probables for Paul: None (Best shot Idaho and North Dakota)

Too close to call: Ohio (Romney/Santorum), Tennessee (Romney/Santorum)
Lacks information: Alaska (Romney/Santorum), Idaho (Romney/Paul), North Dakota (Paul/Romney/Santorum)

What that list alone tells us:
Romney starts the day at 3 states and can build to 8. We can probably pencil him in for a majority of the 10 states.
Santorum starts the day at 0 and can build to 5. We can pencil him for 2.
Gingrich will win one state and one state only. But it's the biggest one.
Paul has a shot at two states, which could mean all four candidates come away with at least one.
As of now, the smart bet for state wins is:
Romney--6 states
Santorum--2 states
Gingrich--1 state
Paul--1 state.
Romney might be coming away with a majority of states, but he's losing the biggest (Georgia) and has serious competition from Santorum in the second, third, and fifth biggest (Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma). Virginia is the fourth largest, and it's only Romney vs. Paul, so it'll likely be a Romney romp. A huge misstep by the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns (not getting on the ballot) comes back to bite them.

What to expect in future Super Tuesday previews:
A much closer look at each state.
Best case scenarios for each candidate.
Worst case scenarios for each candidate.
North Dakota jokes.
A long shot case for a Rick Santorum comeback.
A long shot case for a Newt Gingrich comeback.
Updated polls.
A realistic prediction for Super Tuesday and beyond.

Hope to see you back here. We have an exciting two days coming up!

-IC

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