Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Deep Trouble in the Deep South

Santorum's wins in Alabama and Mississippi are really quite bad news for Romney. They are not a problem in the sense that something major has changed. The problem is that nothing has changed. The tweet of the night goes to Chuck Todd:
In Sept '11, we said we didn't know how Romney gets the nomination and we don't know how he's denied it. Nothing has changed.
Precisely. Well, if nothing has changed, why is the result tonight such bad news for Romney?

It is bad news because Gingrich is now going to fade away. Gingrich may or may not get out of the race. He said tonight he won't. Sometimes, candidates reevaluate the day after. And sometimes (I'm looking at you Rick Perry), candidates even re-reevaluate. But it sorta doesn't matter as much in Gingrich's case. Santorum has clearly become the anti-Romney and Gingrich's cash is drying up. John Harwood reported on MSNBC tonight that Sheldon Adelson is not writing any more checks for Gingrich. Voters who do not like Romney have seen all they need to see. Romney outspent Santorum 5 to 1 in Alabama and even Gingrich outspent Santorum in Alabama ... and Santorum still won ... in a state that borders Newt's stronghold of Georgia. If Gingrich cannot win Alabama, he cannot win anywhere.

So, even if Gingrich stays in, voters will abandon him. Where do these voters go? PPP tweeted this tonight:
Our NC GOP poll coming out tomorrow shows an 8 point shift toward Santorum if Newt was out. Nothing but a spoiler at this point
And I think we'll see he's not a very good spoiler at that.

Next week, Illinois votes and the latest poll has Romney nominally ahead. So far, Romney has spent approximately $3.2M in Illinois and Santorum has spent exactly ZERO. How many times in this race have we said, "If Romney loses [insert state name here], then it will cause panic!!!" Well, let's all say it together then ...

If Romney loses Illinois, then it will cause panic!!!

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