Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hey Hey, Ho Ho. This Romney Protest's Got to Go?

...or something like that.

FHQ will take the bait and fan the smoldering embers of the fire that is the 2012 Republican presidential primary race. First Read's Michael O'Brien actually brings up a fairly interesting question about the factors surrounding/likelihood of a protest vote against Mitt Romney throughout the rest of the primary calendar. No, I'm not going to dwell on the question of whether there will be a protest vote -- there will be1 -- but FHQ will look at the factors that will likely play into Romney meeting or surpassing the mostly arbitrary 70% mark in the remaining primaries and caucuses. Let's look at the factors that may keep Romney under that particular share of the vote:

[ know, before those inevitable stories about how weak Romney is because there are still voters voting against him.]
  1. Opposition by numbers: Simply put, the number of active candidates still in the race matters in this instance. The more candidates involved, the higher the collective vote share. Ron Paul will get his share of the vote. If anything proved that, it was the Texas congressman's performance against John McCain in 2008. Paul's voters were never going to jump ship to Romney anyway. Gingrich is another matter. The former speaker will likely pull in some of the displaced Santorum vote, but so too will Romney. And Santorum is still on the ballot in most states. Some of those Santorum votes will stay home. Well, they may actually stay home or stay home by voting for Santorum -- their preferred candidate.
  2. Open primaries: Now that the race is effectively over -- Eh, who am I kidding? It's over. -- Democrats are even less likely to cross over to vote in the Republican primary. However, Paul will continue to pull in both Libertarian-minded Republicans and independents in some of the more open primary states (see O'Brien's example of Idaho in 2008, Paul's high water mark in terms of vote share). 
  3. Geography/evangelism: Yeah, it still matters.
The combination of these factors makes North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Arkansas and Texas states to most closely watch for that 70% mark that other recent Republican nominees have been able to garner against only token opposition.2

1 And to be clear, this will have no impact on the outcome of the Republican nomination. Romney will be the Republican nominee.

2 Throw Rhode Island in for good measure, too. The Ocean state allows independents to participate. [Thanks to the Green Papers for the data on primary participation across states.]

Recent Posts:
Santorum Suspends: A Nomination Race in Context

Cart Before the Horse: Pennsylvania/Colorado Edition

Maine Legislature Exploring Presidential Primary Option for 2016

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Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is still in the game. He has a lot of hidden delegates. See St. Charles/Missouri events yesterday. If it comes to a brokered convention, they will un-hide. If it doesnt come to a brokered convention, it doesnt matter. But until Romney get the 1144 its not over. We are still fighting.

Anonymous said...

New Rasmussen Poll, April 12th:

In a hypothetical Election 2012 mat"chup, President Obama and Mitt Romney are tied at 45%.[...] Texas Congressman Ron Paul holds a one-point edge over the president, 44% to 43%."


uknowme said...

very nice post,usefun,

Anonymous said...

Results of Colorado's District Conventions:

10 Unpledged (47.6%)
6 Santorum (28.6%)
5 Romney (23.8%)

It is somewhat known that most if not all of the Unpledged delegates are Ron Paul supporters.

Romney received 34.9% at the straw poll but so far has only received 23.8% of the delegates.

Anonymous said...

Minnesota's National Committeewoman, Pat Anderson, said that Ron Paul won all 9 delegates and 9 alternate delegates elected today in Congressional District 3, 5 and 6.!/patandersonmn/status/191283723298287616