Palladian View is dedicated to spotlighting issues, promoting conservative women and giving women a platform to see their voice. Today, we endeavor to spotlight the national Republican stage, and at the risk of "bean counting" assessing what this all means. In a Republican primary season that has failed to produce a “clear” frontrunner before Super Tuesday (March 6), what do the latest polls and averages mean and how important is the delegate count to the overall race? Will the GOP presidential race be decided by a few power dealers in a smoke-filled room behind closed doors at a brokered convention? Will this race really come down to the bean counters?
While Palladian View does not endorse in contested primaries, and we are not willing to speculate yet the name of the nominee, we do believe that a nominee will emerge before the August 27 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Yes, the media chomps at the bit for a brokered convention and some delegates are intrigued and even excited about the possibility of a Sarah Palin or Chris Christie candidacy, but it is highly unlikely to be the result. Why? It is to the distinct advantage of the current crop of candidates to make sure that a nominee goes to the convention as the nominee. In a brokered convention, it is very rare that any of the candidates currently in the race would become the Republican nominee. These candidates (and their Super PACs) have spent enormous amounts of time and resources to win the nomination; the candidates will broker amongst themselves before letting it go to convention should no candidate reach the 1,144 delegate mark.
That being said, how do we see the race being played out? To the bean counting...
Real Clear Politics takes the aggregate of all the major polls (right and left leaning), and in a national race, Senator Rick Santorum currently leads the field by 4.2 percentage points. The problem with a national poll average, however, is that there is no national race in the primaries. It is a state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate contest, and this year appears to be a slugfest. To get a better look at the ground game right now—the poll averages show Romney up by eight in Arizona and up slightly in Michigan—both states hold primaries Tuesday, which may generate some momentum going into Super Tuesday where 10 states hold either primaries or caucuses, with 437 delegates at stake (most of them proportionally-allocated based on the results).
The lay of the land? From our eyes, Arizona and Michigan are too close to call and will not likely determine the winner. So far, three different candidates won the early primary/caucus states, and the races since have been pretty split.
For Super Tuesday? Palladian View expects that Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich could each win over 100 delegates and Ron Paul will also pick up some, especially in the Caucus states. What Palladian View predicts for Super Tuesday is a regional flair. Gingrich should do well in the South; Santorum in the Midwest; Paul with the Caucus states, and Romney in the Northeast and West. The key for them all is how the delegates split.
By August 27, one of the candidates will need to have 1,144 delegates to be the Republican nominee. The last primary will be held in Utah on June 26. Typically, the nominee is clear long before then. Palladian View expects that this year will be no different.
Though a look at the numbers can be fun, of course, the only numbers that really count will be the ones that take place at the ballot boxes, both in the primary and in November. Rest assured, Palladian View will continue counting.