Tuesday, January 31, 2012

There is Absolutely No Reason for Florida to be the End of the Race for the GOP Nomination

There seem to be quite a few people who want to already call the GOP nomination for Romney, as he is expected to win tonight in Florida, probably by a double digit margin.  But there is actually no logical reason for this to be the case:
  1. Assuming a Romney victory tonight, he will be 2-2, winning in New Hampshire and Florida, while losing in Iowa and South Carolina.  How exactly is someone who is 2-2 inevitable?  Are New Hampshire and Florida so important that we don't need to listen to what the next 46 states are telling us?
  2. The next races will be caucuses in Nevada (February 4th), Maine (February 4-11), Colorado (February 7) and Minnesota (February 7).  As we know from Iowa, Caucuses can be decided by very low percentages of the population turning out and can be difficult to predict through polling for that very reason.  If enough Tea Partiers turn out for these, Newt could win 2-3 of them.  Victories in places like Colorado and Minnesota could help Newt regain some of the momentum (there is some evidence that he could do well in those states, though it's based on relatively sparse polling).
  3. This race has had two dramatic turns in the last two weeks (2 weeks ago Romney was leading in South Carolina and 1 week ago Newt was leading in Florida), a lot can happen by March 6th when 10 primaries/caucuses take place.  If Newt can win some races, if Santorum drops out and if some more well-respected conservatives come out for Newt, momentum could shift back in his favor.  Also, the sole reason people seem to be voting for Romney is his electability and that could very well be called into question.  Recent polls show that he is losing his appeal with independents and is starting to do worse vs. Obama.  The more people find out about Romney, the less they like.
  4. History suggests it ain't over until it's over.  In 1976, Reagan, to the establishment's severe dismay, challenged the sitting Republican President, Gerald Ford, in the primaries.  Reagan started out by losing Iowa by 2%, New Hampshire by 1%, Massachusetts by 27%, Vermont by 69%, Florida by 6% and Illinois by 19%.  That means he started 0-6 and went for 2 months without a single victory, the first one coming on March 23rd in North Carolina by 6%.  Can you imagine the amount of pressure he must have been under to quit?  State after state, week after week, he lost, some contests by whopping amounts.  And North Carolina hardly proved to be a respite as he lost Wisconsin by 11% and Pennsylvania by 88%.  It wasn't until May 1st that Reagan scored his second victory (Texas), so through over 4 months of campaigning, he was 1-8.  But you know what?  He ended up doing fantastically well after that and if Mississippi hadn't betrayed him at the convention he could have been the nominee in 1976.  Think about it, a race that started 6-0 for an incumbent President being narrowly decided at the convention, where all 50 states had a say.
Now, I'm not saying that Newt doesn't have an uphill battle.  He clearly does for a variety of reasons (the establishment is backing Mitt, Mitt has a massive warchest which he is using to carpet bomb media markets with negative ads and purchase endorsements, Santorum is still refusing to drop out, etc.) but given how many twists and turns there have been in this race so far, I think it is dangerous to jump to conclusions.


  1. Newt has been talking a lot about how Reagan didn't have the nomination locked up until July. Granted - the primary structure was much different, but I loved the 46 states to go signs. that is the truth.

    When Santorum finally bails (and he must - his money can't last until SuperTue without some kind of spark) it will be come a real race of Tea Party vs GOP establishment.

    1. Youre right it is different but they actually changed it this year so that there is more spacing, more like it used to be, also there is a lot more proportional representation in the early states so even if you blow it early, you wont necessarily be that behind delegate wise.

      Newt needs to win at least 2 of the caucuses that are coming up, that is for sure. If he goes 0-4 and Santorum takes the nonbinding MO primary, then he may very well be toast.