Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We're Number 1 ... or Number 2!!!

Mitt Romney got absolutely shellacked in Missouri, is getting shellacked in Minnesota, and he may even lose Colorado. From TPM:

Romney thanked all his supporters, including those who have gone out caucusing tonight in Colorado. "The race is too close to call in Colorado at this point, but I'm pretty confident we'll come in Number 1 or Number 2."

That's right ... he's "pretty confident" that he'll come in "Number 1 or Number 2." As Andrew Sullivan pointed out tonight, it appears that if he doesn't have a week and millions of dollars of negative ads to pound his opponent with negative ads, he can't seem to win.

We've now had 7 contests (IA, NH, SC, FL, NV, MN, MO) with one more pending. Romney has won 3 with CO pending. Santorum has won 3 ... with CO pending. Rick Santorum is pushing Mitt Romney. Really.

UPDATE: Yeah, Romney lost Colorado too. Something really bad has happened with Mitt Romney tonight. The bottom really dropped out. In talking about the low turnout in Florida, I had said Michael McDonald was actually understating what a major potential problem this was for Romney. Nate Silver points out that this pattern has finally cost Romney ... big-time:

We have repeatedly noted the pattern in which Mr. Romney's stronger states and counties have been associated with lower Republican turnout.

So far, it was not clear that this had lost Mr. Romney a state -- save perhaps Iowa, when virtually anything might have altered the result.

But in Colorado, where the demographics were reasonably favorable to Mr. Romney -- he won 60 percent of the vote there in 2008 -- it may have made the difference. Mr. Romney's stronger areas in the state were associated with turnout declines of about 20 percent. But turnout was steady or slightly up in places where Rick Santorum did well.

Among other problems for Mr. Romney, this suggests that suggests that the caucus states could be problematic rather than advantageous to Mr. Romney, with his superior organization being outmatched by very conservative voters who have low levels of enthusiasm for him.

So, we've now had 8 contests, Santorum has won 4 and Romney has won just 3. That's a pretty poor resume for Mr. Inevitable.


William D. Adler said...

But Romney is still ahead in the delegate count. If we learned anything from the Obama-Clinton battle royale it's that delegates are the only thing that matters. The question is whether Mitt's lost too much momentum and won't be able to regain it in time for the big contests coming up.

Larry Becker said...

But the delegate count is not what matters. It is still inconceivable that Santorum or Gingrich could be the nominee. My point is simply that Romney has a very difficult (perhaps inctractable) problem with getting his base on board. He can move to the right and try to get them on board but that creates some problems. Or he can refuse to make an adjustment and deal with the possibility that voter turnout among conservatives will be be lower in the Fall. Neither option is very good. Also, he's going to waste a lot more money now and he's going to have to do more scorched earth campaigning which is driving his own unfavorables up.

Right now, he's losing to Obama in some key swing states like Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire.

It was just a very, very bad night for Romney and I just don't think they saw it coming until very close to Tuesday morning.

Jonathan Keller said...

"My point is simply that Romney has a very difficult (perhaps intractable) problem with getting his base on board."

This mirror image of this exact point was made, *over and over again,* in the 2008 primaries re: Obama's "African-Americans and latte-sippers only 'problem,'" his "weakness w/ white lunchpail Democrats," etc.

All Republicans will need in 2008 is Barack Hussein Obama's name on the ballot.

Talk to me after Super Tuesday, when Romney's sitting there w/ delegates pouring into a bucket like a guy who just hit the Triple Eights at The Trop.

Jonathan Keller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Becker said...

If you think voter enthusiasm among the Republican base in 2012 is somehow analogous to voter enthusiasm among the Democratic base in 2008, you're just mistaken. Sure, conservatives will vote for Romney in the end. But what will Romney have to do to make this happen and what will that mean for independent voters? Sure, Romney can sink tons of cash into negative ads against Santorum and beat Santorum. But what will that mean for Romney's own unfavorables?