What a difference 24 hours makes for me. Yesterday I posted on Facebook and talked to a couple of friends that I was ready to get off this anti-Romney train because now that he won Michigan he should probably move forward. Yet after watching some of the pundits and reading up on some of the reaction and analysis and I'm coming away thinking something different.
Romney has only moved forward by a few inches. Super Tuesday does not look particularly friendly and if Santorum sharpens up, he could win Ohio. From the recent polling I've seen Super Tuesday could like
- Romney: Massachusetts (41), Idaho (32), Vermont (17), Virginia (49)
- Paul: Alaska (27)
- Santorum: North Dakota (28), Tennessee (58), Oklahoma (43), Ohio (66)
- Gingrich: Georgia (76)
Most of this is based on polling . . .except for Alaska and North Dakota, where there is no polling available. I give MA, ID, VA and VT to Romney because two are in New England, one has a huge Mormon population, and the other he has major institutional backing.
I've heard murmurs that Paul could be a real player in Alaska, he finished second there last time around and he's more organized then ever and the tea party is fairly active in the state.
Gingrich looks to cruise to a big win in Georgia, which a whopping 76 delegates (a big haul).
Polling right now has Santorum winning OK, TN, and OH which could be important for two reasons. If Santo wins Ohio it completely undercuts Romney's Michigan win and then some. If he wins Tennessee and Oklahoma, he undercuts Newt's claim to the South. Winning Georgia will keep Newt in the game if he wants too because of the amount of delegates he collects, but the next grouping of primaries (after Kansas) is Mississippi and Alabama. Newt needs that, but if Santorum catches fire based on an OH-TN-OK trifecta he could take those.
The problem is, there doesn't look like there is a lot of Romney-friendly states after Super Tuesday and Super Tuesday doesn't look terribly hopeful unless he can take Ohio. This is why Ohio is so important. If you look at the states I outlined above, it looks a lot different for Romney if you add Ohio (and possibly North Dakota) to two other good delegate wins in Virginia and Massachusetts.
I used to think the idea of a brokered convention was ridiculous, and maybe it still is, but if Super Tuesday goes at it could above where Santorum and Romney essentially run neck and neck across the country they could deny each other the nomination, or at least the delegates needed to secure it. Something will have to give and the two big game-changers will be Texas and California, and who knows now when the Texas primary actually will be. It also depends on one of these two imploding spectacularly or Newt suddenly rising up again. Newt's problem is there no more debates. This is going to be a very long haul and if we maintain the course charted before us, this could go on for a long, long, long time.