Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Romney is the Winner in Wyoming Straw Poll


Mitt Romney has won the Wyoming Republican Party precinct caucuses straw poll. The former Massachusetts governor placed second to Ron Paul in the final precinct/county vote in Sweetwater County. But the dirty little secret of the Wyoming delegate selection process is that while the straw poll had to add the numbers from Sweetwater to the tabulation, the set up for the delegate allocation at the county conventions next week was over last night. That is because Sweetwater County is one of the eleven counties that will only select an alternate delegate to attend the national convention from the county convention. Now, to be sure, what happened at the precinct caucuses this evening will still have an impact on the selection of at-large delegates from the April state convention, but it will be as part of the total gathering at the state convention.

The more important question is what can we glean from the results of the caucuses that will select delegates -- not alternates -- to the national convention next week. As long time FHQ reader, Scott, pointed out on Twitter to me this morning (and before I had a chance to look myself, too!), out of the 12 counties, Romney won the straw poll in five, Santorum in four others and Paul took the remaining three.  Will that be how those 12 delegates are allocated next week at the county conventions? My strong hunch is that it will be, but as is the case in many of the caucus states thus far, there is nothing to suggest that Romney pushed more precinct-to-county level delegates through than Santorum, then Paul, then Gingrich. Much will depend on how that vote -- the county convention delegate vote -- went rather than the snapshot the straw poll provides.

[To review the delegate selection rules the Wyoming Republican Party is using click here.]


Source: Wyoming Republican Party

Recent Posts:
Santorum Inches Closer in Wyoming Straw Poll

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Georgia

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Alaska


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Santorum Inches Closer in Wyoming Straw Poll

With just one final county left to hold precinct caucuses (Sweetwater County later today), Rick Santorum has slightly closed the gap on Mitt Romney in the Wyoming precinct caucuses straw poll. The former Pennsylvania senator shaved about 40 votes off of Romney's 170 lead in the latest round of votes in Converse, Park and Platte Counties on Tuesday evening. That pulls Romney under 40% with Santorum closing in on a third of the overall vote. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich lag behind in the count with 20% and 8% of the straw poll, respectively (click on the most recent date at the bottom of the spreadsheet for the latest total).


Source: Wyoming Republican Party
[Click date for latest total]


Again, this is all part of a non-binding straw poll that leads up to the county conventions beginning on Super Tuesday; a step in the process where 12 delegates to the national convention.


Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Georgia

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Alaska

Romney Still Ahead in Wyoming Precinct Caucus Straw Poll Count


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Georgia

This is the sixteenth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


GEORGIA

Buckle up, folks. Alaska was in many ways the easiest Super Tuesday contest to describe. Many of the rest of the states are where we will finally get a glimpse at how various states have adapted to the oft-discussed Republican proportionality requirement. And folks, it ain't pretty. [Well, I suppose it is plenty "pretty" to someone who can appreciate the vagaries of delegate selection rules. Guilty.]

What better place to start the magic mystery tour through the Super Tuesday states (with crazy rules) than in Georgia, the home of the county unit system. Now, that is perhaps an unfair comparison, but the Georgia Republican Party response to the RNC call for "proportionality" for contests prior to April 1 is no less strangely constructed. [And no, for the record, FHQ is not implying or suggesting that there is anything nefarious about the Georgia delegate allocation plan.] The Georgia Republican Party essentially took what was a South Carolina-like plan (one the party has traditionally utilized) -- winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide -- and turned it into something else. Recall that the quickest and easiest responses to the new RNC mandate were to either 1) make the statewide, at-large delegates proportional or 2) make the overall allocation conditional on a candidate receiving a majority of the vote statewide (winner-take-all if so, proportional if not). Georgia did the former, but added an additional layer by making the congressional district delegates roughly "proportional".

That latter step was superfluous if compliance with the national party rules was the intent. As several state plans have already demonstrated, state parties can continue to allocate congressional district delegates winner-take-all based on the vote in each congressional district. That is fully within the letter of the law. Georgia Republicans, however, will allocated two [2] delegates to the winner of a congressional district and one [1] delegate to the runner up. Should one candidate surpass the majority threshold within the district that candidate will be allocated the full three [3] delegates apportioned to all congressional districts nationwide from the RNC. The potential, then exists for there to be a straight winner-take-all allocation of congressional district delegates so long as a candidate or candidates win majorities in each of the 14 Georgia congressional districts.

The statewide allocation of at-large delegates is slightly more straightforward. It will be proportional for all candidates receiving at least 20% of the vote statewide. That is the highest threshold for receiving any delegates as the RNC will allow.

Here's the delegate breakdown: Georgia has...
  • 76 total delegates
  • 31 at-large delegates
  • 42 congressional district delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
The at-large and congressional district delegates will be allocated as described above. As for the automatic delegates, the state party chair, , was elected last year, but the national committeeman and national committeewoman will be elected at the 2012 state convention in May.2 That said, none of the three are free agents like many automatic delegates are elsewhere across the country. The Georgia Republican Party considers the automatic delegates in the Peach state at-large and they are allocated to the top vote-getter in the primary (statewide). Those automatic delegates are the only directly winner-take-all delegates within the plan with no strings (thresholds) attached.

Georgia, then, has 76 bound delegates heading to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.

--
1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 See Georgia Republican Rule 7:
Georgia Republican Party Rules (adopted Sept. 2011)

Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Alaska

Romney Still Ahead in Wyoming Precinct Caucus Straw Poll Count

Patterns in the Republican Primaries?


Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Alaska

This is the fifteenth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


ALASKA

Well, Alaska is another Republican caucus state, so let's dust off the old "it's like Iowa" line and move on, shall we?

Not so fast.

The delegate allocation process in Alaska, as it turns out, is more like Nevada than Iowa or most of the other caucus states to have held meetings thus far. Yes, that's right. Alaska is another one of those rare, binding caucus states. And just like Nevada, the Alaska process binds its delegates proportionally based on the results of the district conventions to take place between Super Tuesday, March 6 and March 24.2

As the Alaska Republican Party states:
All registered Alaska Republicans are invited to cast their vote for their preferred candidate.  The Presidential Preference Poll vote binds the 24 Alaskan National Convention Delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL from August 27-30. 
The primary goal of the PPP is to develop and run an open, reasonably accessible, fair, valid, logistically pragmatic and secure process which will direct the Alaska Republican Party (ARP) delegates to the Republican National Convention to vote for their Republican candidate(s) of choice for the Presidency of the United States.
Lest this discussion be misleading, allow FHQ to dive into the actual delegate allocation. As is the case in Wyoming, there is only one congressional district in Alaska, and as such the term "district conventions" does not obviously refer to the lone Alaskan congressional district. Instead, the district conventions are a way of subdividing the state into smaller units for the purpose of allocating delegates with a nod toward regional -- intra-Alaska -- and population representativeness. The subdivision of choice is the Alaska state House district (as opposed to the county in Wyoming). Each of the 40 state House districts will hold at least one meeting on March 6, though several will hold multiple meetings throughout the district.

The total statewide vote in the Presidential Preference Poll will determine the way in which Alaska's delegates will be allocated. The breakdown: Alaska has...
  • 27 total delegates
  • 21 at-large delegates
  • 3 congressional district delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
The three automatic delegates from the Last Frontier are free agents as most of the automatic delegates are nationwide. And while they can choose whomever they please, it should be noted that a state party chairperson, the national committeeman and the national committeewoman will all be elected at the April 26-28 state convention (see Article V, Section 14 of the Alaska Republican Party rules). Those delegates will not be known until then. The 24 remaining delegates, however, are the delegates that will be proportionally allocated based on the total statewide House district convention vote on March 6.

--
1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 Yes, this is news to FHQ as well. When I spoke with Alaska Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich back in the fall, I was told that all of the conventions would take place on March 6. But apparently the process will stretch on throughout the month of March. The Alaska Republican Party page devoted to the delegate selection process lists both March 6 and March 6-26 as dates on which the district conventions will occur. It is not clear whether convention attendees will be asked to come to a presidential preference poll vote on March 6 only to return at a later date for the remaining business or if what will take place will be more akin to the processes in Maine or Wyoming. The former does not jibe well with the "open, reasonably accessible, fair, valid, logistically pragmatic and secure" process referred to above. So we are likely talking about more of a Maine/Wyoming situation; a process that will not be complete until March 24.


Recent Posts:
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On the Nature of 2012 RNC Rules Changes


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Romney Still Ahead in Wyoming Precinct Caucus Straw Poll Count

FHQ will not spend too much time discussing the addition of 20 total votes from Niobrara County, Wyoming (click on the most recent date at the bottom of the spreadsheet for the latest total), but needless to say those votes did not alter the general pattern that has developed across counties thus far in the Equality state. Mitt Romney leads and even though he only captured three votes out of twenty in a county that Ron Paul won, it was still a better showing than the goose egg Rick Santorum put up there. The former Massachusetts governor still retains a better than 170 vote advantage with just a handful of counties yet to vote.

There are three more counties to hold their precinct caucuses and straw poll vote and one other (Converse County) where the caucuses that started on Monday will wrap up tonight. The straw poll/precinct caucus portion of the process will be complete on Wednesday.


Source: Wyoming Republican Party
[Click date for latest total]

For more on Wyoming see here and here.

Recent Posts:
Patterns in the Republican Primaries?

On the Nature of 2012 RNC Rules Changes

Romney Leading in Wyoming Precinct Caucus Votes

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Patterns in the Republican Primaries?

Mark Murray oversimplifies the course of the Republican nomination race in his piece over at First Read today.
Just when it looks like Romney is about pull away with the nomination, he loses. And just when it appears that his back is against the wall and when he needs a win, he does.
Look FHQ is all for parsimonious hypotheses, but Murray is doing a little narrative setting here. If only we can just get some Romney wins tomorrow, we'll be set up nicely for a story about Romney underperforming next week on Super Tuesday. The simple truth of the matter is that it is a foregone conclusion that Romney will underperform on some level next week. And the reasoning is just as seemingly simplistic as the misguided pattern above.

1) Regional patterns
I don't think we have enough total data on this yet, but FHQ is still fairly confident in saying that the South is a problem area for Romney (see South Carolina), but that the northeast is comparatively stronger for the former Massachusetts governor. Will Romney have some setbacks in the South next week? Yes, I would say that he will in the wins and losses columns. However, the fact that only Paul and Romney are on the ballot in Virginia means that Romney is well-positioned to use the Old Dominion as a delegate cache to neutralize any delegate losses suffered in Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The big question mark at this time is the midwest. There has yet to be a midwestern primary -- until Michigan -- from which we will have the ability to project onto subsequent midwestern primaries like Ohio on Super Tuesday. From the look of it, Michigan -- and perhaps the rest of the midwest -- will be competitive.

2) Contest/Organization patterns
Romney does well in primaries. Romney does better in primaries in which he can bank early votes (see Florida and Arizona). Romney does well in caucus states in which he has organized (see Iowa and Nevada). Romney does poorly in caucuses in which he has not organized or not organized as much relative to those early caucuses.

What does this all mean for Super Tuesday? It means Romney is very likely to well where there is some overlap between these two patterns: northeastern primaries.  It also means that Romney likely won't do well where there is no overlap: either in the South (except Virginia) and in the caucus states where he has no clear advantage.

The bottom line is that Romney, win or lose tomorrow, will suffer setbacks next week.

...and it has very little to with a the surge and decline theory proffered by Mr. Murray.



Recent Posts:
On the Nature of 2012 RNC Rules Changes


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2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Wyoming


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the Nature of 2012 RNC Rules Changes

FHQ is impatient. FHQ is cantankerous. FHQ just doesn't get it.

Well, we get it [the rules changes], but few others seemingly do. And I don't say that to brag -- I don't know that it is something to brag about.1 -- but merely as a means of pointing out that some of the tomes that are being written on the subject are not accurately telling the story. That's frustrating because it can be misleading to folks that generally just want to gather information about the process. Look, I know the Republican National Committee rules governing the nomination/delegate selection process are difficult to grasp due to the myriad interpretations and implementations of the rules from state-to-state. And mind you, regular readers of FHQ will know that we have gone to great lengths to describe this process without getting too bogged down in the minutiae. But it is nigh impossible to not almost immediately jump into the weeds.

It gets wonky in a hurry.

As FHQ sees it, there is one main misconception going on regarding the rules right now [There are a bunch more, but I'll spare you.]: The overall rules changes are drawing out the process and this is mainly driven by the RNC switch to proportional allocation rules from winner-take-all rules. The first part of that statement is true. The overall rules changes have had the effect of lengthening the nomination process. The second part of the statement, though, is patently false. It is build on a logic that is nothing more than a house of cards. FHQ has raised the myth of proportionality, but I fear that that was perhaps the wrong way of framing it. The real problem in interpreting the nature of the Republican Party rules changes in 2012 is not the myth of proportionality (though it is a part of the problem), but rather the myth of winner-take-all rules. As I have been wont to say for the better part of six months now, too much of the writing on this subject treats the methods of allocation on the Republican side as binary; that a state has or has had either proportional or winner-take-all rules.

This is not the proper way of thinking about this process or the rules changes as a starting point. And because much of the logic behind the various rules changes discussions hinge on this notion -- that binary choice between methods -- they are all or mostly off base. Many of us are doing our taxes now. If you mess up one of the early calculations on the form, it affects the all of the remaining calculations on down the line. By starting off thinking of Republican delegate allocation in binary terms, many are affecting the ways in which they are thinking about the ultimate outcome: who wins the nomination.

There are many points of confusion. Much of it, however, lies in a few places. First of all, as much as there is a misconception that the new rules require the Democratic Party version of proportionality in states with contests before April 1, there is just as much of a problem on the backend; after April 1.2 As that logic goes, if the RNC is requiring proportionality before April 1, then it is requiring winner-take-all rules after April 1. THIS IS FALSE. Let's focus on the post-April 1 part of the calendar to start. The simple truth of the matter is that states with contests after April 1 have the latitude to decide how they would like to allocate delegates. That is the same sort of leeway that all states have traditionally enjoyed on the Republican side. The RNC has left the matter up to the states/state parties in the past and for 2012 took the unprecedented step of laying some ground rules for how states before April 1 should allocated delegates. Very few post-April 1 states, as a result, made changes to their delegates selection rules relative to 2008. To the extent there were changes, it was actually in the opposite direction -- more proportional. In both Connecticut and New York, despite moving back from February 2008 contests to April 2012 contests, the rules were made slightly more proportional. It was far easier for post-April 1 states to leave well enough alone rather than make a change -- presumably to winner-take-all rules. Overall, then, there has been a drop in the number of strictly winner-take-all (as in the electoral college) states from 2008 (10 states) to 2012 (6 states).

Now, for the front half of the calendar, it should be noted that there have been some changes relative to 2008. But let FHQ state once again, for the record, that we have yet to see the impact of those changes.  Why? Well, none of the states that have held contests thus far have rules that differ from 2008 in any way. THE 2012 DELEGATE COUNT WOULD BE THE EXACT SAME AS IT IS NOW USING THE 2008 RULES. Well, that's not true. The Nevada Republican Party made its delegate allocation binding based upon the results of the precinct caucuses this year; something it did not do in 2008. Fewer delegates, then, would have been allocated so far in 2012 using 2008 rules.

What that means is that any changes that we have seen so far are based on two things: 1) the changes to the calendar and 2) the dynamics of this particular nomination race. It has nothing to do with the winner-take-all or proportional delegate allocation balance in 2012 as compared to 2008. None.

...not yet anyway.

Those rules changes -- as FHQ pointed out in December -- will not kick in until Super Tuesday. And as I also pointed out then, the most frequently utilized method of becoming "proportional" was for states to make their entire delegate apportionment or just their at-large delegates conditionally winner-take-all/proportional. If a candidate receives a majority of the vote, that candidate gets either all of the delegates or all of the at-large delegates. But if no candidate receives a majority of the vote, then the entire delegate apportionment or just the at-large delegates (depending on the state) are proportionally allocated. Even that may be overstating things as those states that have traditionally drawn a distinction between at-large delegates and congressional district delegates, have also usually allocated those congressional district delegates winner-take-all. Most of those states are still doing that in 2012 and winner-take-all by congressional district is something that comports with the new definition of proportional allocation on the Republican side.

To FHQ, then, it is kind of, I don't know, sad when opinion leaders/elected officials in the Republican Party get this wrong:
One prominent critic of the current system is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). “These RNC rules that turned to proportional awarding of delegates, this was the dumbest idea anybody ever had,” he said on Fox News on Thursday. “You're running against an incumbent president who will not have a primary, so your idea is make ours longer so we can beat each other up longer?”
...or...
“People do have concerns this has gone on longer than they would like and cost more money than they would like and created more thunder and lightning than they would like. That is a result of people going before the time allotted in the rules," said John Ryder, an RNC committeeman from Tennessee who came up with the idea to assign delegates proportionally. "And had the states complied with the rules the calendar would have been more compressed, orderly and less costly."
In Christie's case, the New Jersey governor has completely missed the point. The proportionality requirement may have an impact but it will be small when compared to the influence the changes to the calendar have had on the process in 2012 versus 2008. If anyone wants to point fingers at culprits for making the process longer, look to the calendar rules not the proportionality rules. Of course, the calendar dispersion, as John Ryder points out, is an issue that comes back to the Florida decision to jump into January which can easily be traced back to the fact that the RNC never adjusted its penalty regime to prevent such a move from happening in the first place.3 Again, the rules were never adjusted for 2012 relative to 2008 on that front. It all comes back to the calendar rules and perhaps more importantly, the penalties for violating the timing rules.

--

One thing that FHQ has faced is some criticism that we are understating the nature of the changes because of the impact the overall rules differences have on the process in 2012 -- especially campaign strategy. I am sympathetic to that criticism, but it ultimately comes back to the same issue. The overall rules -- driven by the calendar differences relative to 2008 -- are having an influence over the 2012 Republican nomination race. Again, though, it is the calendar that is driving the majority of this coupled with the dynamics of this particular nomination race. FHQ does not understate the overall rules. They matter. They always matter. However, the nature of one portion of those overall rules -- the proportionality requirement -- has been grossly overstated. There is no evidence that those rules have had any impact thus far because the states that have held contests have not changed any of their rule as compared to 2008. None. They may play a role in the delegate count but it will be a marginal impact on the overall race as compared to the sequence of adding delegates -- when states hold contests and how spread out they are on the 2012 primary calendar as compared to the 2008 calendar. Even if we begin to witness strong differences in the ultimate allocation of delegates from 2008 to 2012 on the state level, FHQ will and would argue that it has more to do with the competitiveness of the race -- the dynamics of the race -- in 2012 than it does the method delegate allocation, state-by-state.

What those rules changes -- both the calendar and delegate allocation rules -- do is give candidates an argument to take to donors and voters; that the rules allow the race to go on longer. But that logic -- particularly to the extent that it depends on the proportionality requirement -- is a house of cards. It is bound to collapse when and if one candidate begins to establish and increase a delegate lead.

--

I know it sounds self-serving folks, but calendar, calendar, calendar. All of this ultimately returns to the impact the changes to the calendar are having. That is what is driving the slow crawl to the nomination; not the new proportionality requirement. And RNC spokesman, Sean Spicer is absolutely right in that piece from The Hill: it is way too early to be overreacting to the rules changes. This is why parties don't make these changes during the heat of primary season. The RNC will revisit the changes in due time -- in the time leading up to and then during the convention in Tampa this summer.

...assuming they have abandoned thoughts of dealing with this outside of the convention as they did for the first time after 2008 in the form of the Temporary Delegate Selection Committee.

--
1 Look, I admit it: I have no life.

2 By Democratic proportional, I mean that if candidate A receives 50% of the vote in a nominating contest, then candidate A gets approximately 50% of the delegates from the state. Now, even the Democratic Party rules aren't arithmetically proportional because of rounding error or delegate movement from one step of a caucus to the next. The point is that there is a difference between what the Democratic and Republican Parties consider proportional.

3 Ryder is also guilty of assuming that the process "has gone on longer" when again, the reality is that the process would have gone on just as long this time as it has using the 2008 rules.

Recent Posts:
Romney Leading in Wyoming Precinct Caucus Votes

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Wyoming

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Washington State


Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Romney Leading in Wyoming Precinct Caucus Votes

With 50 more votes cast in the Johnson County, Wyoming precinct caucus meeting yesterday, the Republican delegate selection process in the Equality state continued. Over three-quarters of the way through the precinct caucuses, Mitt Romney leads Rick Santorum by 171 votes with just over 1700 votes cast. Romney has garnered 41% of the vote in the 18 (of 23) counties to have held a straw poll votes thus far. Santorum at this point has 31% followed by Ron Paul at 20% and Gingrich well back at 7% of the vote. The remaining precinct caucuses and straw poll votes will be conducted between now and Wednesday when the window in which these meetings closes according to party rules.
  Source: Wyoming Republican Party

--
Now, again, the same basic ground rules apply in the Wyoming as in the other caucus states to have held votes on the precinct level already: There is no rule regarding the method by which delegates are selected on the precinct level to move on to the county/district/state convention level. There is no rule that says that process has to be proportional or winner-take-all based on the non-binding straw poll vote. But if everyone who votes in the straw poll stays around for the selection of delegates who move on to the county level -- in the case of Wyoming -- then the ultimate selection of delegates to the county level, we should assume, would be largely proportional.

It should be noted as a follow up to yesterday's examination of the Wyoming process that the precinct to county transition is a bit blurry. A number of counties did not even break up into subunits/precincts and as a result function like county-wide meetings. From the county convention delegate perspective in those counties that had just one precinct meeting, there won't be any new faces at those county conventions that will take place between March 6-10. This likely will have little impact on the race, but it is worth pointing out. The other thing to note, is that there will be a quick turnaround from the precinct meetings to the county conventions. And while those delegates will be unbound heading to the county conventions there will be less time to move them -- from the campaigns' perspectives.

Romney is likely to maintain the lead in the Wyoming straw poll across the remaining five counties' contests over the next few days, but there will not be any delegates on the line until the counties select either their delegate or alternate in early March.


Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Wyoming

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2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Arizona


Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Wyoming

This is the fourteenth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


WYOMING

Just yesterday FHQ lamented the fact that for most of the caucus states to have held precinct meetings thus far the rules have been largely consistent (non-binding, no direct allocation of delegates, etc.) across states. In Wyoming, however, we have a caucus/convention system with a different set of rules worth examining in some detail.

Quietly over the last two weeks, there have been precinct caucus meetings throughout the Equality state; caucus meetings that have held non-binding straw poll votes. This is similar to what has gone on in other caucus states, but differs from the plan used by Wyoming Republicans in 2008. Four years ago, the party began its convention process with county conventions from which approximately half of the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota were directly chosen. In 2012, however, the state party shifted back the county conventions from January 5, 2008 to  Super Tuesday (through March 10). The party added another layer to the process, though, tacking the straw poll on to the precinct meetings before the county conventions as well.2 Those precinct meetings -- some of which ended up being county-wide meetings3 -- were to be held no more than 25 days and no less than 10 days prior to the point at which the county meeting is scheduled. Since the county meetings are scheduled for a window from March 6-10 that left a window for precinct meetings of February 9-29.4

A certain number of delegates -- a number designated by the county party but no less than two total delegates per precinct -- from each precinct are chosen to attend the county convention meetings. That delegate selection is conducted in addition to the non-binding straw poll vote that is being held at the precinct level. Again, once the process gets to the county level is the point at which national convention delegate selection begins to occur.

Here is the breakdown of Wyoming Republican delegates to the Republican National Convention:
  • 29 total delegates
  • 3 congressional district delegates
  • 23 at-large delegates
  • 3 automatic delegates
  • All delegates attend the national convention technically unbound, though, it is up to each delegate to decide to endorse a particular candidate ahead of time.
Note that FHQ did not discuss how those delegates were allocated (as in other similar posts in this series). That is mainly because the delegate selection is handled differently than most other caucus states. The congressional district delegates are not chosen at a congressional district convention because the state is its own lone congressional district. Similarly, not all of the at-large delegates are chosen at the state convention as in most other caucus state conventions. Instead, the Wyoming Republican Party  treats its counties -- in some sense -- like many other states treat their congressional districts. Wyoming, then, has what could be called county delegates and at-large delegates.

How does this work?

Well, there are 23 counties in Wyoming. Of those 23, 22 are placed into pairs.5 The remaining county, Laramie County, is a super county. In practice, Laramie County choses both a delegate to the national convention and an alternate delegate. For the paired counties, one of the pair choses a delegate while the other county in the pair chooses an alternate delegate. These pairs have previously -- as in across prior cycles -- been set and rotate within the pair the delegate/alternate distinction from cycle to cycle. The county pairs are the same as they were in 2008, but the counties that selected delegates to the convention in 2008 will be choosing alternates in 2012. That means that the counties that selected alternates in 2008 are now selecting delegates in 2012.

Confused yet?

Don't be. All this means is that 11 of the 22 paired counties will directly choose on March 6-10 one delegate to attend the national convention. In addition, Laramie County will choose a delegate as well making 12 county delegates. The remaining 14 delegates -- at-large delegates -- are chosen by and from among those delegates chosen at the county level to move on to the state convention. There is no binding mechanism at any point of this process to ensure that there is, for instance, a proportional or winner-take-all allocation of precinct delegates to the county level or county delegates to the state level.

In summary, then, while the precinct caucuses have been going on quietly throughout this gap in the February portion of the presidential primary calendar, the process -- while staggered -- has been much like what has been witnessed in Iowa or Minnesota or Colorado or Maine. Wyoming Republicans will, however, turn quite quickly around and in early March actually be selecting delegates to attend to the national convention. That will happen at the district level in those other caucus states, but not nearly so fast as what is happening in Wyoming. The state convention will complete the process in April.

NOTE: FHQ will have more later on the votes already cast in non-binding presidential preference straw poll that has been going on since February 11 (the same date as the Maine caucuses two weeks ago).

--
1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 The precinct caucuses during the 2008 cycle actually took place in 2007 but with no straw poll.

3 Most of the precinct meetings were county-wide affairs, but a few counties broke the process up in to smaller subunits. For most of these precinct caucuses, then, the designation is precinct in name only.  The majority were county meetings held before the county convention.

4 The earliest precinct caucus date (February 9) is 25 days before the earliest county convention date (March 6) and the latest precinct caucus date (February 29) allowed is 10 days before the latest county convention date (March 10).

5 Those pairs of counties can be viewed in this memo on straw poll procedures distributed to the county parties by the Wyoming Republican Party in January:
Wyoming GOP Straw Poll Guidelines 1.2.12


Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Washington State

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Arizona

Missouri Republicans Will Caucus Both Before and After March 17


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Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Washington State

This is the thirteenth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


WASHINGTON

A few times in describing the delegate selection process in Republican caucus states FHQ has bemoaned the fact that often such an effort becomes an exercise in stating, "Just look back at Iowa." There is certainly some truth to that: a non-binding precinct-level caucus straw poll vote is taken with little or no discernible direct impact on the actual delegate selection process.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

So, yes, Washington Republicans on March 3 will hold precinct caucuses. And yes, the party will hold a non-binding presidential preference straw poll vote -- taken immediately when caucusgoers sign in at their caucus site -- that will have no direct bearing on the ultimate delegate selection process.2 In fact, having signed in and cast their straw poll vote immediately, caucusgoers will have the option of just turning right back around and heading home. They will also have the alternative option -- an option the party is urging caucusgoers toward -- of sticking around for the delegate selection vote that "actually counts".

This is where it is important what the party and its caucus volunteers do at caucus sites across the state on March 3. Will voters be urged by the party/volunteers to stick around for the delegate selection vote or will that be left unsaid and left up to the candidates organizations to ensure? That's a potentially important question. The difference is mainly in the fact that a prompt is more likely to lessen the sort of ballot roll-off witnessed in previous caucuses where people will vote in the "up-ballot" straw poll but drop out on the "down-ballot" delegate selection vote. With a prompt, Santorum and Gingrich supporters may be more likely to linger. Prompt-less, the advantage would have to go to Ron Paul and his supporters and the Romney folks to the extent they have and are organizing in Washington.

A few notes on the Washington caucuses:
1) This is an open caucus. There is no party registration in Washington, so independents and Democrats are free to participate.
2) Though FHQ has said it a number of times, there are few if any delegate allocation rules changes in the states prior to Super Tuesday relative to their rules in 2008. Nevada bound their delegates based on the precinct caucuses -- a change from 2008. Washington state has similarly had a slight change in its delegate allocation in 2012. In 2008, the party split the allocation across both a primary and a caucus. But because the Washington state legislature canceled the 2012 presidential primary in its session last year, the delegate allocation will be handled solely through the caucus in 2012. The impact is that overall participation will likely be down, though with the absence of the primary, caucus attendance may be up relative to four years ago.
3) It is unclear to FHQ -- but perhaps our Washington Republican readers can weigh in -- as to whether there is other party business to be conducted at the precinct caucuses other than the selection of delegates after the straw poll vote. The time commitment required of caucusgoers matters. Supporter attrition following straw poll votes is probably the most underreported rules-based aspect of this race currently.

Washington Republican delegate snapshot:
  • 43 total delegates
  • 10 at-large delegates selected by the state convention delegates based on their stated presidential preference at the state convention.
  • 30 congressional district delegates selected by the district convention delegates based on their stated presidential preference at the district conventions.
  • 3 automatic delegates who remain unbound regardless of the outcome of the precinct-level straw poll vote or the state/district convention votes. 
--
1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 Incidentally, I have never been a fan of the Washington State Republican Party website. It is awful from my perspective because there is nothing on there about rules or the party constitution. But credit where credit is due: The WSRP has a fabulous Tumblr site for the 2012 caucuses. I am particularly pleased with the this answer in their Q&A in the FAQ:
Is my vote going to be made public?There are two parts to the caucus. When you sign in, you will be asked to state your presidential preference - this will be considered your vote for the presidential straw poll. This vote will be a public vote in your caucus but it will not be made available to the general public. Then at the caucus you will undertake the important business of electing delegates. This is your vote that actually counts. The Straw poll is just a snapshot of who caucus attendees support, but the ultimate determiner of which candidates wins Washington’s delegates will be the delegates elected at the precincts caucuses. [emphasis FHQ's]


Recent Posts:
2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Arizona

Missouri Republicans Will Caucus Both Before and After March 17

A Very Rough Estimate of the Republican Delegate Math Ahead, Part Two


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 Republican Delegate Allocation: Arizona

This is the twelfth in a multipart series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation by state.1 The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2012 -- especially relative to 2008 -- in order to gauge the impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. As FHQ has argued in the past, this has often been cast as a black and white change. That the RNC has winner-take-all rules and the Democrats have proportional rules. Beyond that, the changes have been wrongly interpreted in a great many cases as having made a 180º change from straight winner-take-all to straight proportional rules in all pre-April 1 primary and caucus states. That is not the case. 

The new requirement has been adopted in a number of different ways across the states. Some have moved to a conditional system where winner-take-all allocation is dependent upon one candidate receiving 50% or more of the vote and others have responded by making just the usually small sliver of a state's delegate apportionment from the national party -- at-large delegates -- proportional as mandated by the party. Those are just two examples. There are other variations in between that also allow state parties to comply with the rules. FHQ has long argued that the effect of this change would be to lengthen the process. However, the extent of the changes from four years ago is not as great as has been interpreted and points to the spacing of the 2012 primary calendar -- and how that interacts with the ongoing campaign -- being a much larger factor in the accumulation of delegates (Again, especially relative to the 2008 calendar).

For links to the other states' plans see the Republican Delegate Selection Plans by State section in the left sidebar under the calendar.


ARIZONA

Remember Florida over three weeks ago? Well, in Arizona on Tuesday, February 28 we will all bear witness to Florida, part II. 

...at least in some way, shape or form. 

Arizona, like Florida, has broken the Republican National Committee rules on 2012 delegate selection by holding a binding nominating contest before the first Tuesday in March. Arizona, like Florida, has also broken those same rules in terms of how the Republican Party in the Grand Canyon state will allocate their delegates to the national convention in Tampa. Arizona, like Florida, was also sanctioned for the first violation -- losing half the delegation for a primary too early by RNC standards -- but was not further penalized for maintaining the same (and in violation) winner-take-all formula Arizona Republicans have utilized in the past.2

Now, to be clear, Arizona had a delegation of 58 cut in half and will allocate 29 delegates to the winner of the statewide vote in the presidential preference election (No, it isn't a primary, though it operates like one.) on Tuesday. The end result is the same as it was in Florida: the winner takes all of the delegates. The process behind the ultimate decision to remain winner-take-all, however, was different in Arizona. As you will recall, the Florida delegate allocation has traditionally been winner-take-all with the at-large delegates being allocated to the statewide winner and the congressional district delegates being allocated to the winner of each of the congressional districts. But the state party added a clause to its delegate selection rules prior to the 2008 cycle that allowed the state party chair the latitude, in the event of sanctions from the national party, to make all of the remaining delegates at-large and thus winner-take-all based on the statewide vote. 

There is no similar clause in the Arizona Republican Party rules. The customary method of allocating delegates in the Grand Canyon state has been to allocate all of the delegates -- both at-large and congressional district delegates -- on a winner-take-all basis based on the statewide vote in the preference election. Again, the practical implication of the differences across Florida and Arizona is effectively nil. But the means to the end were different.

Yet, where this may matter is when and [this is a BIG] if there are similar threats by the three runners-up in the race to challenge the allocation method in Arizona as in Florida. Rule 10 of the Republican Party of Florida rules at least gives the party something of a leg to stand on in any argument over a challenge to the winner-take-all allocation of the delegates in the Sunshine state. It establishes that there is a precedent of allocating -- under normal, unpenalized circumstances -- delegates in a way that bifurcates the delegates; splits them into at-large and district delegates. In that situation, Florida Republicans could make the case to allocate only the at-large delegates proportionally,3 thus keeping Florida from having all of its delegates proportionally allocated. 

Arizona Republicans have no similar precedent to fall back on. A stronger case could be made by those challenging any winner-take-all method of allocation that the 29 delegates by strictly proportionally allocated without having made a distinction between at-large and congressional district delegates. 

That being said, the RNC has already signaled that such challenges are very likely to go nowhere. Part of that is borne out by the fact that the RNC is thinking/hoping the nomination process has resolved itself and these delegate questions are moot. FHQ is inclined to follow that line of thought. But IF this gets ugly and the process is forced into a contested convention, these sorts of questions are going to arise. The strong hunch here is that the RNC would likely not differentiate between Florida and Arizona if both have their delegate allocation challenged. The national party -- in a challenge setting -- is likely to proscribe the same remedy in both cases as opposed to doling out different solutions for each. 

The take home message is that while on the surface Arizona and Florida look alike, there are some subtle differences to note after a deeper look at the rules in each state. 

--
1 FHQ would say 50 part, but that doesn't count the territories and Washington, DC.

2 FHQ should also note that, as in Florida, the Romney campaign has stressed banking early votes in Arizona 

3 The at-large delegates are the only delegates in which it is mandated by the RNC that have to be allocated proportionally absent a minimum 50% threshold. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Missouri Republicans Will Caucus Both Before and After March 17

From the Associated Press:
Missouri Republicans in most counties will hold a presidential caucus at 10 a.m. March 17. However, Republicans in Jackson County and St. Louis City plan to meet a week later on March 24. Republicans in Phelps County, which is home to Rolla, still plan to caucus on St. Patrick's Day but will start at 2 p.m. The later presidential caucuses should avoid conflicts with St. Patrick's Day festivities. 
In addition, Wayne County in southeastern Missouri is scheduled to caucus March 16 and rural Chariton County in central Missouri is scheduled to meet March 15. Andrea Rice, the chairwoman for the GOP committee in Chariton County, said Monday the caucus date was changed to coincide with a Republican dinner.
The staggered start times for caucuses across the Show Me state will more greatly resemble the month-long window for caucuses in Maine -- though not nearly to the same extent -- than the single uniform caucus date in the caucus states to have held votes thus far. The March 15 caucuses will occur just two days after the votes in Alabama and Mississippi and the final series of votes on March 24 will fall just days after the vote in neighboring Illinois. [see the 2012 presidential primary calendar here]

The differing caucus times -- and this is something discussed very little around the Maine situation -- begs the question that voters at different times may be [not] activated/motivated by different stimuli. In other words, events of the race may pull more voters in to later caucuses or push them away, giving greater/lesser weight to the earlier contests. There are a couple of addendums to note. First, in both Missouri's and Maine's cases the impact may be muted by the fact that most caucuses took place on a given couple of days. There are, then, only a few outliers. Secondly, this is no different than those who cast early votes in primary states. From the voter's perspective, something may have occurred [campaign effects] post-vote that would have shifted that person's vote in a different direction (rather than keeping them away as was mentioned above).

Regardless, Missouri Republicans -- fresh off their beauty contest primary -- will be caucusing across a week and a half long period in mid- to late March instead of just March 17.

Recent Posts:
A Very Rough Estimate of the Republican Delegate Math Ahead, Part Two

Race to 1144: Maine Republican Caucuses (Updated Count)

Guam Republicans to Select Delegates at March 10 Convention


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Very Rough Estimate of the Republican Delegate Math Ahead, Part Two

This morning, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell on Meet the Press brought up FHQ's delegate numbers from yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Al Hunt of Bloomberg News responded that the conclusion that Romney could wrap up the nomination -- surpassing the necessary 1144 delegate -- on either June 5 or June 26 (depending upon the date on which the Texas primary is ultimately scheduled) was misleading. Hunt is right. Those numbers -- based on an FHQ scenario analysis [see part one here] -- likely are misleading when taken out of context. However, the premise of the exercise was not to project when Romney or any other Republican candidate would or could amass the requisite 1144 delegates, but rather to assemble a reasonable baseline to which the actual and ever-changing delegate count can be compared. [...and, you know, actually utilizes the real Republican delegate allocation rules state-by-state.]

Is Mitt Romney likely to receive 49% of the vote in all the upcoming primaries? FHQ would contend that that is not all that probable. Yet, that scenario sets up a delegate accumulation that projects the current delegate count leader racking up wins, but wins at a level that will keep the growth of the delegate advantage at its slowest given the Republican delegate selection rules on the state level. In other words, Romney would win but would not win at levels (a majority of the vote in most states) that would trigger the winner-take-all allocation of either all of certain states' delegates or all of certain states' at-large delegates. Again, that is a level of victory that would give us a true sense of not only the contours of a stretched-out calendar but the nature of the delegate allocation rules changes in 2012 as compared to 2008.

Let's review the assumptions:
1) This includes the caucus states with defined binding or delegate selection rules (Alaska, Hawaii and Kansas) and primary states through the end of the primary calendar. [The Puerto Rico primary has undefined delegate selection rules at this time and it and the 20 non-automatic delegates are suppressed from the analysis.]
2) Romney wins 49% statewide and in the congressional districts. This is more likely in some states than in others, but recall that this is a baseline sort of scenario for comparison's sake only. 
3) Related to #2, it is probably out of reach for anyone to get to the 66% threshold in Tennessee, so I'll treat it like the rest: Romney gets 49% statewide and on the congressional district level.
4) This may be a shortcut and kind of undermine the "best case scenario" argument, but I'll assume that the remaining vote and delegate allocation centers around one candidate (Santorum) instead of it being split among Santorum, Gingrich and Paul.
5) Romney wins Virginia and all 11 districts outright (+50%).

Delegate count (given those assumptions -- Click link to see full breakdown):
Due to the inclusion of Alaska and Kansas in the count (a slight difference from the numbers reported in the Wall Street Journal), Romney, by gaining 49% of the vote in all the remaining states through the end of the calendar, would cross over the 1144 delegate barrier on June 5 -- with Texas on either May 29 or June 26. 

Notes:
Given that this extends to the end of the calendar, the scenario analysis above is chock full of caveats. Let FHQ mention a few:
1) Again, this all follows the delegate allocation rules state by state. In some states, the automatic delegates are bound delegates. Where that is the case those delegates are included in the at-large total in the linked spreadsheet above. So, if you are studious enough to check my math against the rules, that is why there are a handful of states with at-large delegate totals for Romney that seem to have three too many delegates.
2) Illinois and Pennsylvania are loophole primaries in which delegates are directly elected on the ballot.  Even though both states send delegates to the convention unbound, FHQ has treated those delegates as if they have been allocated proportionally. There is a clearer transference of presidential preference in those two states -- under those rules -- than in non-binding caucus states. But, that is a point on which FHQ will admit that there is some room for debate.
3) As Al Hunt alluded to on Meet the Press -- well, in a sloppy sort of way1 -- this model does not account for momentum. It does not. A candidate could reel off a series of wins at some point on the calendar that would place upon the other candidates some undefined level of pressure to drop out of the race. This is as good a time as any to reiterate a point FHQ raised in part one: The math is not necessarily about getting to 1144 so much as it is about gathering enough delegates -- enough of a lead -- that makes it mathematically impossible for another candidate to overtake the leader (see Norrander, 2000). The decision-making calculus at that point will hinge not only on the pressure to drop out but the desire stay in and prevent the delegate leader from reaching 1144.
4) This model also does not account for the possibility that, unbound though they may be, delegates may [repeat: MAY] emerge in the intervening time from caucus state conventions who have expressed a preference for a particular candidate. As any of that information comes to light, it obviously impacts the calculations in the model above.
5) Similarly, another thing that is lacking above is any consideration of the unbound automatic delegates. If further endorsements are made by automatic delegates that also shifts the delegate count upward in a manner that may push the point at which the delegate leader surpasses 1144 to an earlier point.

Admittedly, that is a long list both of assumptions and caveats. Does that negatively affect the accuracy of the 49% model? Yeah, it probably does in some ways. But this was never going to be the way the delegate count was going to progress anyway. What this exercise does provide us with is something akin to a regression line through the delegate count across the remaining contests on the calendar (using the rules). Romney will overperform that level in some states -- though in only one thus far (Nevada) -- and underperform in others. The balance of those performances along with the addition of known unbound caucus state delegates, unbound automatic delegates and momentum affecting the dynamics of the race will determine when and if a candidate -- most likely Romney -- crosses the 1144 barrier earlier or later than in the above scenario.

--
1 Hunt constructed a scenario in which a candidate gains momentum by winning the upcoming Michigan primary and then sweeping the Super Tuesday contests. There aren't enough delegates there, but that could exert some pressure on the other candidates to drop out nonetheless. It ultimately comes back to the Southern Question FHQ proposed in the aftermath of the South Carolina primary.

Recent Posts:
Race to 1144: Maine Republican Caucuses (Updated Count)

Guam Republicans to Select Delegates at March 10 Convention

A Very Rough Estimate of the Republican Delegate Math Ahead, Part One


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Race to 1144: Maine Republican Caucuses (Updated Count)


The Maine Republican Party on Friday released an updated vote count to account for clerical errors made during the initial vote tabulation in the lead up to and on February 11. It was a then that the final set of caucuses to be included the count were to be held and numbers submitted to the state party. The Friday additions to the count increased Mitt Romney's lead from 194 votes over runner up, Ron Paul, to 239.

The February 18 caucuses in Washington County -- originally scheduled for February 11, but postponed because of inclement weather last weekend -- did little to change the order of or overall result.  Paul won the caucuses in the county with 163 votes (to 80 for Romney, 57 for Santorum, 4 for Gingrich and another 2 for other candidates) and potentially cut the Romney lead -- established Friday -- by a third. That vote may or may not be added to the Friday count. Washington County's inclusion in the overall, statewide tabulation is dependent upon a vote to take place at a March 10 meeting of Maine Republican Party Executive Committee. The outcome yesterday -- with little impact to the original count -- made the case for inclusion much easier for the party and may also increase pressure on the state party to add the numbers from the other post-February 11 caucus meetings. That is especially true considering those areas accounted for just 35 votes in the 2008 caucuses.

If goes without saying at this point -- if you have been a regular FHQ reader -- that this is all non-binding. While the precinct caucuses choose delegates from among their attendees to the district/state conventions there is no party rule that dictates the percentage of those delegates -- under proportional or winner-take-all rules -- who are bound to any candidate. Even then Maine's 24 delegates will go to the national convention unbound though they may carry personal preference for a candidate with them. The overall delegate count remains unchanged.


Recent Posts:
Guam Republicans to Select Delegates at March 10 Convention

A Very Rough Estimate of the Republican Delegate Math Ahead, Part One

A Follow Up on the Maine Republican Caucuses


Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.