Anyway, this is a significant factor in the scenario that Walter Shapiro constructed yesterday. If only 10 of the 21 winner-take-all contests are true, statewide winner-take-all primaries, then Sarah Palin's task of winning the 2012 Republican nomination in that fashion becomes all the more difficult. In most of the eleven states that are not true winner-take-all states, the delegate allocation is done at both the congressional district level and statewide level as opposed to simply taking the statewide vote. It would require, in other words, winning some contests within contests to pull off a sweep of a state that allocates delegates in this manner.
It can happen, but it is tough to pull off in a fragmented nomination race like the 2008 GOP contest. McCain, for instance, was able to win 36% of the vote in Florida and 55% of the vote in Maryland and come out with a sweep of both states' delegates.
|2008 Republican Presidential Primaries |
(Winner-Take-All by District & Statewide)
|State||Statewide Winner (2008)||% vote||% delegates|
|*Alabama is winner-take-all at the district level and proportional with the at-large delegates at the statewide level.|
**Indiana allocated approximately half (27 delegates) its delegates under winner-take-all rules by congressional district in its May primary. The remaining delegates were left uncommitted until a June convention where the other half (27 delegates) were allocated in addition to three unpledged, party leaders serving as delegates.
Source: The Green Papers
If the 2012 nomination race winds up being as fragmented as 2008, then Palin faces a steeper climb than was even indicated yesterday. [Editorial note: FHQ is of the opinion that the race will not be as divided in terms of choice. It is incumbent upon the GOP to come to a quick decision on the party's 2012 presidential nominee or so the conventional wisdom holds. The Obama campaign might dispute that, arguing that the prolonged contest helped them in 2008 from an organizational standpoint. Perhaps, but 2012 election will feature an incumbent president with an organizational base already intact. It is much more similar to 2004 than 2008. Would John Kerry have benefited any from an extended primary battle with John Edwards? Would the additional organization have helped the Massachusetts senator against Bush in the fall? FHQ would wager that the answer would have been no.]
Let's look at this in a different way. The eleven states above accounted for 30.9% of the 2008 Republican delegates (777 delegates). Remember, those are the states that are not the true winner-take-all states. The true winner-take-all comprise a paltry 17.8% of the total number of Republican delegates in 2008 (447 delegates). Even if Palin were to sweep those 10 true winner-take-all contests, she would still be faced with likely having to clear 35% in some districts and statewide in those other winner-take-all states. And this doesn't even take into account the proportionally allocated states.
Again, if 65% of the Republican primary electorate is against Palin, her path through the Republican rules to the nomination becomes substantially more difficult, winner-take-all rules or not.
How Palin Could Win the 2012 GOP Nomination. Well, it'll take more than just winner-take-all primaries.
Is the Idaho GOP Still After a Closed Primary?
Pawlenty: Running for 2012, But Will He Be Running in 2012?