Thursday, January 12, 2012


As I posted on Tuesday night, it is being a bit over-stated. Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner does some math:

When you eliminate independents and Democrats from the 2008 equation, actual registered Republicans made up 61 percent of the roughly 239,000 votes cast in the GOP primary, putting the turnout among Republicans at around 145,790. But last night, actual Republicans only comprised 49 percent of the electorate, according to exits. Even if we round up the final 2012 turnout number to 250,000, which would be slightly higher than current projections, that would only leave actual Republican turnout at 122,500, which would represent a 16 percent drop.

Now obviously, there are a number of caveats involved. More and more voters are identifying as independent, especially in New Hampshire, even though they typically behave in a partisan matter. And perhaps disaffection with Obama also led to a spike in turnout among Democrats and true independents. But either way, this is worth keeping in mind when you hear reports of the "record" turnout. From my observations, Republican events have been generally low energy both in Iowa and New Hampshire, especially when compared with what we saw on the Democratic side in 2008.

So, Romney did well in New Hampshire, yeah. But it is (one of) his home state(s) and it is a primary in which just 28% of the electorate was evangelical. 60% of caucus-goers in Iowa were evangelicals and in South Carolina? Probably about 60%.

I'm not saying Romney is going to lose the nomination. He's not. He will be the nominee. But there are still two things at stake: 1) Will Romney be forced to work for the nomination, expend resources, and take fire? 2) Are Republicans going to be enthusiastic about their nominee?

These numbers from New Hampshire tell me (and I'm having trouble convincing people of this) that Romney is still going to face some bumps in the road and that Republicans are not feeling "Mitt-Mentum" just yet.

UPDATE: 3 polls are showing a very close race in South Carolina. 2 of them are from pollsters I don't trust (ARG and Insider Advantage) at all. But PPP is a VERY good pollster and they've got the race tight. So, Mitt is in for a bumpier ride than the really poor analysis done on New Hampshire Primary Night suggested. Again, Mitt is going to be the nominee. But he's going to have to take some more lumps before it is over.


Jonathan Keller said...

Two quick things:

1) I'm a little bit confused re: why you are having trouble convincing people that Willard will encounter some "bumps in the road." I mean, of course he will! It's just a matter of degree -- i.e. will they be double black diamond moguls, or small hills? In other words, I don't think he has much to worry about, unless he loses *both* SC and FL. I mean:

a) Looking at the calendar, after FL I'd expect him to cruise in at least 4 of the 8 contests before Super Tuesday (ME, NV, MI, AZ).

b) Who can realistically compete w/ him on Super Tuesday?

2) Secondly, related to #1, I think it's a completely open question, re: whether having a drawn out primary season would ultimately benefit or harm Mittens:

a) It clearly helped Obama, in several ways that are obvious.

b) Yes, Willard '12 is not Obama '08, for reasons we've discussed many times (image tarnished, waste $$, and most importantly, dragged right, making the tack back to the middle harder than if he wraps it up quickly, and can "ease it over" nice and slowly, instead of having to elbow back over at 90 degrees). But on the other hand, the longer the campaign goes on, the longer the Republicans have to build the enthusiasm you correctly point out is lacking right now. How many hundreds of thousands of new voters did Hillary and Obama's campaigns register in 2008, in large part because the campaign went all 15 rounds?

Larry Becker said...

Romney won't lose Florida under any circumstances as nobody has money to compete there and the same goes for the Super Tuesday states. Romney could lose South Carolina in theory but Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul are going to split up the anti-Romney vote and my guess is Romney wins South Carolina at this point. As I said in the post, Romney will win the nomination.

On the question of Republican enthusiasm, that is really not the issue. Republicans will enthusiastically vote for Romney in the Fall no matter what. The question is what will Romney be forced to do to make that happen? How much will he have to tack to the right? How much money will he have to expend wrapping up the nomination? How many hits (like Bain) will he take along the way?

The impression is hardening (see SNL last night) that Romney is a rich guy who is out of touch and even thinks it is good to fire regular people. The more that hardens now (with Republicans helping it along for instance) the harder it will be for Romney to win over indies he needs to win in the Fall