(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section.)
Tomorrow is Super Tuesday in the Republican Presidential nomination race where ten states either caucus or hold primaries. There are 437 delegates involved though a few of them (known appropriately as super delegates) are unbound and under no obligation to vote for the a popularly picked candidate. While the race will still remain competitive after Super Tuesday, this is where the nomination race will begin to finalize. In that regard Mitt Romney is expected to do well tomorrow.
Super Tuesdays have been around for a few decades because of individual state’s desires to have more influence on primary outcomes. Historically, it has been southern states that have banded together to block vote for candidates. One example was from 1988 when Walter Mondale received the nod four years previous. Super Tuesdays generally bring the nomination process to a close but that may not happen this year (as it didn’t for the Democrats in 2008).
Media organizations have agreed not to make any declarations or predict winners until all polls are closed; in this case, caucus doors close at midnight in Alaska in Eastern Standard Time.
538refugees has been giving advance reads on the races but in this particular case Nate has done an outstanding article on tomorrow’s contests over at Five Thirty Eight at the New York Times. His analysis cuts through the confusing and varied delegate allocation rules of each of the states. Some states allocate delegates proportionally and some have a threshold that has to be met before a candidate can be considered for any delegates (for example anyone not hitting the 15% threshold would mean that they would not participate in a proportional allotment of delegates).
I pretty much agree with Nate’s assessment with perhaps some differing reasons. For example I think Romney will perform better in Idaho because of the Mormon factor. Whereas he will not do well in some southern states because of anti-Mormon sentiment. Nate also notes that support for Santorum has been waning recently indicating that the honeymoon may be over for him. It’s possible that some of the statements that he’s made of late have alarmed some moderate voters.
Currently most predictions have Romney winning the most contests including, Idaho, Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Ohio, though that race looks to be a nail-biter between he and Santorum. Gingrich will win his home state of Georgia and Rick Santorum will take Tennessee and Oklahoma. Ron Paul could potentially win one of the two remaining caucuses in North Dakota or Alaska (Paul is the only candidate to have visited Alaska), but everyone is calling these races too unpredictable. You’ll have to stay up way past your bedtime to find out for sure. (Ed. Note: 538Refugees predicts Paul will take home Alaska)
The final revised tally of delegates according to Nate is:
- Mitt Romney – 224
- Newt Gingrich – 87
- Rick Santorum – 76
- Ron Paul – 25
- Uncommitted – 25
Other projections are similar though the delegate counts vary depending on how the rules of individual states are interpreted). Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia’s Center for Policy for example puts the totals as follows:
- Romney – 212
- Rick Santorum – 163
- Newt Gingrich – 47
- Ron Paul – 31.
It should be noted that Sabato is including Washington State in this guesstimate. This already skews their numbers since Washington didn’t turn out as Sabato thought it would as he gave Santorum the win. But as many poll watchers have noted, caucus states are notoriously unpredictable and there are three of them on Super Tuesday.
Of course you can always toy around with delegate totals on 538Refugees Spreadsheet to come up with your own conclusions.
- State-by-State Analysis: Romney Could Win Majority of Super Tuesday Delegates (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Political Wisdom: Will Super Tuesday Settle the GOP Race? (blogs.wsj.com)
- Mitt Romney Poised To Do Very Well On Super Tuesday (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Santorum Slumps in Super Tuesday Polls (fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Guide to Super Tuesday (NBC News)
- Santorum’s Super Headache: Why His Best Super Tuesday Outcome Might Be Stalemate (Sabato’s Crystal Ball)
- How the Super Tuesday States Shape Up (Real Clear Politics)
- A Hypothetical Conclusion to the Republican Primary (538Refugees.com)