Monday, January 23, 2012

It's all a numbers game- polls, delegates, and what comes next!

This Republican race is truly unprecedented. We have no historical model to follow, no pattern to expect to emerge. We have four candidates in the race, three have wins, and the fourth one is the only one who has vowed to never drop out of the race! So what happens next? The candidates start looking at the delegate numbers and the polls and weighing likelihood.
  • Total Number of delegates: 2286
  • Unallocated delegates: 2229
  • Number of delegates needed to win: 1144
Gingrich - 25 delegates
Romney- 14
Santorum- 8
Paul - 10

Take a second look at those numbers. Ron Paul who has not won a state, has more delegates than Rick Santorum who can now claim Iowa.

Florida comes next- Jan 31- and it has 50 delegates in a winner takes all state. If you recall, Rudy Giuliani staked it all on winning FL in 2008 (which backfired on him). Five days later will be Nevada with 28 delegates in a proportional allocation state. In other words, win FL you take home 50 delegates. But in NV each candidate may take home a few delegates proportional to how many people have voted for them (which is how Paul has delegates without winning a state).

In 2008 Romney won Nevada in a landslide victory (but no one noticed as they were all focused on the bloodbath in South Carolina).

The pattern in this race has been band wagon mentality all the way. The man that has the best showing in the debate win that week's vote. There is absolutely no clear front-runner, and no one obvious path to follow yet. There are 2 debates this week, which means there are two more chances for upsets and changes.

So let's take a look at the FL numbers-

First, let's discuss the graph and not the actual numbers. Look at the green Gingrich line. He was low, he was high, he dropped, and now, as of today, he's going up again. And there's the red Cain line. Same thing- he's low, he's high, he drops. And then there is Romney with the purple line. He's fairly steady since the summer, with an uptick in the last three weeks, but a sudden fall as Gingrich jumps. Santorum and Paul have remained steady below 12% continuously.
Personally, if I was Santorum or Paul, I'd skip Florida and move on to Nevada. Why? You know you will never win Florida, and it is a winner take all state. Any time spent there is a waste of time and money where you could be elsewhere winning delegates. UNLESS, your goal is not to win the state, but to make you take away support from either Romney or Gingrich to keep them from winning.
I'll be back around later tonight to share thoughts on the debate this evening.

So now- Nevada, and then the slightly less than Super Tuesday. Nevada will holds its proportional caucus on Feb 4. There are few, if any, recent and reliable polls coming out of Nevada yet. But be looking for them to come today soon- like today or tomorrow probably. If it isn't heavily favoring Romney, consider it to be a big surprise. And if you live in Nevada, brace yourselves- the robocalls and pollsters are about to start coming. (And tell the truth to the pollsters!)

Just three days after Nevada comes the mini Super Tuesday. Colorado (36 proportional), Minnesota (40 proportional), and Missouri (52 proportional) will vote on Feb 7. Maine (24 proportional) votes over the course of a week, ending Feb 11. That's 152 proportional delegates in one week, plus the 28 proportional in Nevada. If Florida doesn't produce a clear front runner (and it won't), this race continues to be a massive battle through this first Super Tuesday. After that, the candidates can take quick naps, because the next primary day isn't for 3 more weeks, but is a much bigger Super Tuesday.

In other words, this race is far from defining a winner!

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