We're down to hours and counting to Super Tuesday. Will this year's delegate day be decisive?
It’s safe to say that with only a day to go until Super Tuesday the Republican base and any stragglers siding with the right are decidedly undecided. An overhaul in Iowa, a backdoor win in South Carolina and a straight split in Michigan has left the door more or less open for a nominee to break free. Granted the 50 delegates in Florida, the 29 in Arizona and the 30 in Washington this past weekend have given Mitt Romney a sizeable lead, the electoral tides have turned so often since January that the delegates at stake in this year’s Super Tuesday, while somewhat unpredictable, have become all the more valuable.
Here’s where we are as far as the AP is concerned:
With 11 states going to the polls tomorrow and 466 delegates up for grabs, the stakes are somewhat high and unclear. A straight run by Romney seems unlikely given his recent waning in the polls and the blue collar nature of the states in question. Similarly, the name Santorum doesn’t ring too well in New England circles and he didn’t make the ballot in Virginia, putting him down a few delegates out of the gate. Gingrich is a wash, and we’ll call this Tuesday his last while Paul is a wild card, polling decently in the caucus states and a constant thorn in the side of Santorum.
Alaska (27): A fly by night caucus with not a whole lot of polling data available. This could swing any one of three ways, but Santorum’s appeal among tea party members might surprise in a state whose former Governor has led the charge for the movement. Santorum.
Georgia (76): Newt’s home state and probably the only won he’ll win. Gingrich.
Idaho (32): Another caucus targeted by Paul in his moral bid for the presidency, he’ll likely be disappointed to discover that a quarter of the population is Mormon and so is someone else. Romney.
Massachusetts (41): A former Governor whose name is still good, Romney is an easy lock for Massachusetts. Romney.
North Dakota (28): Another electoral college with little polling data to throw around, Paul has focused his efforts here and could surprise, leaving Romney in an unexpected hole and making those battleground states all the more crucial. Paul.
Ohio (66): This is the real prize of Super Tuesday and is a race almost too close to call. Santorum has been leading in recent weeks but faltered a little after the last debate when his stances seemed to soften and wander more to the middle. Expect a Rick roll in the next 16 hours to get the vote out in his neighbor state and narrow win for the surging Santorum.
Oklahoma (43): This one’s a dunk for Santorum with Newt Gingrich a distant second and Romney behind him. Santorum.
Tennessee (58): Another easy win for Santorum will have him closing the gap on Romney. Santorum.
Vermont (17): A close relative of Massachusetts, Romney should pick up most of the delegates here. Romney.
Virginia (49): A two-way race between Romney and Paul with the former leading and the other two candidates not even on the ballot. Paul has made his home base there for the past few weeks trying to pull votes away from Romney and anyone interested in the ABR (Anyone But Romney) campaign might just bite. This might be closer than the polls suggest, this might even be another win for Paul.
What does this all mean:
Carnage come the convention. With the Super Tuesday delegates flying every which way, no candidate will be in a position to garner the 1144 delegates needed to firm up the nomination by the time Tampa rolls around and the Republicans must decide on a nominee. Enter a whole slew of scenarios including left field nominees swooping in to try and steal the vote and some serious desperation tactics from anyone even looking like a real candidate.