Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Was Tuesday Super?

In what the pundits called Super Tuesday - there were some mixed results - here are six things which stuck out for me:

1) Romney - Romney won Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio (by a slim margin) Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming and he picked up at least 147 delegates out of the 1144 needed - that is without results for delegate counts in the caucus states.
2) Santorum - Santorum added 64 delegates but actually lost the Catholic vote in Ohio by eleven points.  
3) Marcy Kaptur - There were a couple of congressional primaries in Ohio including one which pitted lefty March Kaptur versus more lefty Dennis Kucinich.  Kucinich lost 60-40%.  Good Riddance!
4) Gingrich - Gingrich, with a big win in Georgia, picked up 52 delegates.   I am still not sure what he is doing in the race but I suspect that he will be in it for the duration.  With Superpac money he may simply be holding out to be the idea guy for the GOP.  In the 1994 Congressional campaign his "Contract" helped create a majority in the house for the GOP.  He may relish that role again. (Although times may have changed.)
5) Carville Redux - James Carville's notion (it's the economy stupid) seems to have been the major motivator in all of these 10 contests.   I for one do not believe that the apparent improvement in some economic numbers will be necessarily positive for the President but a lot depends on the skill of the eventual GOP nominee in focusing on the concerns that voters seem to have expressed throughout this primary season.  In spite of the nonsense the last ten days about contraception issues (which the democrats skillfully played) if the issue for the electorate in November is the economy - I believe the President will have a tough road.
6) Motivated Voters? - Some pundits said the GOP has lost its energy - they point to the Virginia turnout which was half of 2008.  I think that may be a bit silly - remember that in Virginia there was only a race between Ron Paul (who I believe most GOP voters believe is unelectable) and Romney.  I think many voters are motivated about the president and that a lot of the crowing we've heard from the President and his allies is whistling in the dark.

Romney has begun to make a case why he should be the nominee.  It is unclear whether Romney can avoid making the kinds of gaffes that the media has been playing up.   But clearly when he has focussed on economic issues he has been successful.   I believe Obama is vulnerable on his attempts to enlarge the size and scope of government (Obamacare remains very unpopular - with more than 50% of voters supporting outright repeal).

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