Super Two for Super Tuesday
As I write, tomorrow, March 6 is the vaunted “Super Tuesday”. Conventional wisdom (by the Romney-or-nothing mainstream media, and Fox and the WSJ) is that Romney will sew everything up. We’ve heard that before. Several times.
The reality of the math is that even if Romney were to get 100% of the delegates at stake, he would only be about half-way to the 1144 delegates needed for the GOP nomination. However, since nearly all of the primaries on Super Tuesday are proportional, it is highly likely that over half of the delegates will, as they have in previous proportional primaries, go to others – notably Rick Santorum, but significant numbers to Newt Gingrich (especially in his home state of Georgia), and even to perennial underdog Ron Paul. In this scenario, Romney will likely have less than 1/3, and perhaps less than 1/4 of the needed delegates. The table below shows what the candidates have now, what they would have if Romney won everything, and a more realistic delegate count taking into account the proportional nature of the primaries.
Two states to watch, IMHO, are Ohio and Virginia. Ohio, according to latest polling at Real Clear Politics, is in a virtual dead heat for the lead between Santorum and Romney. I would submit that if Romney cannot win in Ohio, he should get out of the race. Losing Ohio’s 18 Electoral College votes would make it very difficult to defeat Obama. Again relying on RCP, this would give Obama 245 of the needed 270 Electoral College votes. The other 25 could potentially come from swing states Florida (29) by itself, Nevada(6) + Colorado(9) + Missouri(10), Pennsylvania (20) + Iowa(6), Virginia(13) + North Carolina(15), or various other combinations.
Similarly, Pennsylvania, with its 20 EC votes, is potentially even more important than Ohio.
Last, but certainly not least, is Virginia. The interesting thing about Virginia is that the race there, due to state-erected barriers to get on the ballot, is ONLY BETWEEN MITT ROMNEY AND RON PAUL. Anything less than a CRUSHING defeat of Paul by Romney (on the order of 80-20%), will be viewed as a decidedly anti-Romney vote. A 55-45 split for example, should embarrass Romney (and energize Paul). The margin Romney wins by (he will win) in this two-way race could be the most interesting of the night!
1Further complicating things is that the mainstream media has Romney getting 100% of Florida’s delegation, when GOP rules clearly indicate due to the date of the primary that the delegates have to be apportioned proportionally. In this case, Romney would lose about 30 delegates to the other 3 candidates.