Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Santorum Stuns GOP Establishment With Three State Sweep; Scope of Romney Rebuke by GOP Electorate is Staggering

Rick Santorum
Last night was a huge night for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.  Think Silvester Stallone playing "Rocky," an underdog boxer from Santorum's home state who was a huge underdog taking on the world champ, Apollo Creed, but went the distance even knocking down the champ in an inspired performance.  Of course, Rocky eventually lost that match in a split decision which might also  ultimately be Santorum's fate.   But for now let's look at the three punch combination that put Mitt Romney on the canvas last night. 

MINNESOTA
Santorum won the Minnesota Caucus with 45% of the vote.  Ron Paul was second with 27% of the vote while Romney finished third with 17% and Gingrich fourth with 11%..  Romney did not win a single county in Minnesota, a state he won in 2008 by a 41% to 22% margin over eventual GOP nominee John McCain.

MISSOURI
Although the Show-Me (I hate that nickname) State had a non-binding primary, i.e. a beauty contest, that didn't award any delegates, Missouri is still a signficant swing state with considerable population centers of St. Louis and Kansas City.   Santorum won the state going away with 55%, the first GOP candidate to get a majority vote in a primary or caucus in 2012.   Romney finished second with 25% and Paul at 12% brought up the rear.  (Gingrich did not compete in Missouri).  Santorum won every county in Missouri as well as the independent city of St. Louis.

Mitt Romney

COLORADO
Polls leading up to the Colorado caucus consistently showed Romney with a double digit lead.  Voters though had other ideas.  Santorum won the state with 40% of the vote.  Romney was second at 35%, Gingrich third at 13% and Paul at 12%.  Again, this was a state Romney competed in during the 2008 election cycle and won, defeating McCain by a 41% to 22% margin.

COUNTY BREAKDOWN:
Here is an interesting tidbit.  There were 265 counties involved in last nights primary/caucuses, including 64 in Colorado, 87 in Minnesota, and 114 in Missouri.  Here is the scorecard when looking at how many counties each candidate won:

Santorum: 236
Romney: 16 (all in Colorado)
Paul;  4 (all in Minnesota)
Gingrich: 1 (in Minnesota)
Tie (Santorum-Romney in Colorado): 2
Tie (Santorum-Paul in Minnesota):  2
Undetermined:  4 (all in Colorado)

CONCLUSION:
Gingrich was not a factor in the three races last night as he spent his time leading up to those states spending his time and money in Florida which he lost handily to Romney. Santorum and Paul's strategy of bypassing Florida to work on the next round of states appears to have paid off, especially for Santorum, big time.

Rocky, i.e. Rick Santorum, showed how vulnerable Mitt Romney in a race where there is only one conservative.  It appears that Romney desperately needs Santorum-Gingrich splitting the conservative vote in order to be the front runner.

WHAT TO EXPECT:
The Romney independent PAC will step up its assault on Santorum.   Romney's way of winning this race appears to try to viciously savage anyone who dares challenge his right to the GOP throne.  What should be alarming to his campaign though is that attacks on Santorum leading up to these three states did not seem to work and possibly backfired against Romney driving down his numbers.  Since Santorum doesn't have the baggage Gingrich does, he's more difficult to attack than the ex-Speaker.  Romney's message that Santorum is an insider while he's an outsider is not really a credible message for the former Massachusetts governor who has every GOP establishment figure supporting him.

2 comments:

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

The GOP Establishment will have zero problem accepting Santorum.

Paul K. Ogden said...

HFFT,

They're solidly behind Romney. So, yes, they will have a problem accepting Santorum or Gingrich or Paul.

The notion that Romney is the same as Santorum or Gingrich is simply not true. While I agree Paul would be more of a change than Santorum or Gingrich, the notion the Establishment doesn't care if Gingrich or Santorum gets the nomination instead of Romney is contradicted by everythign that has gone on thus far.