Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just Another Tuesday

(Political cartoon by Tom Tomorrow. Click on image to enlarge and then come on back.)

If it's a Tuesday, there's another round of voting for the GOP nomination for president. This time Alabama and Mississippi are the most important places in the world in determining who will be the ultimate winner. I selected Tom Tomorrow's 'toon to lead off this post because I thought it pretty much captured what I thought would be reflective of the outcome. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would do well, with each man taking a state.

Maybe, but then again maybe not.

But the Deep South base is not as predictable as it once was. National polling companies have found a volatile contest in Alabama and Mississippi, a near toss-up among the three leading candidates. And indeed the primaries represent a rather neat slicing of the Southern electorate at the current moment.

“The base is split all over the place on this,” said Mike Ball, a Republican state legislator in Alabama. ...

A common wish is for some combination of the three current frontrunners, a candidate described by one caller to an Alabama talk radio show as having Mr. Romney’s looks, Mr. Gingrich’s brains and Mr. Santorum’s moral fiber.

“Newt, he’s consistent with his beliefs until he changes his mind,” said Cleveland Poole, the head of the Republican Party in Butler County, Ala. “Santorum seems to be more and more at ease in getting his message out, but his problem is he’s more likable than he is presidential.”

Mr. Poole said he knew some Romney supporters, but they were all in the Republican establishment. “Everybody that I talk to says that they flip-flop back and forth every day,” he said.
[Emphasis added]

My feeling as to Mitt Romney's chances in either deep-south state was pretty much captured by Kevin Sier's March 9, 2012 cartoon. He just wouldn't appeal to voters in Scarlett Red south.

Again, I could be wrong, at least that's what some very recent polling seems to suggest:

In a poll of likely voters in Mississippi's Republican primary, Romney led rival Newt Gingrich, 34% to 32%, which was within the poll's sampling margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points, meaning they were essentially tied. The survey was conducted Saturday and Sunday. And a poll of likely voters in Alabama's primary conducted Friday through Sunday showed Gingrich holding a 2-point lead there -- 34% to 31% -- but again within the poll's sampling error.

Rick Santorum trailed in both polls -- 10 points behind Gingrich in Alabama and 12 points behind Romney in Mississippi.

That surprised me, maybe even shocked me. Apparently President Obama is so hated by voters in both states that they would hold their noses and vote for Romney as somebody who could actually win the election in November. Poor Ugg.

Libby Spencer's theory of a brokered convention at which a white knight is substituted for the current candidates is beginning to seem even more plausible, especially since Michael Steele set up the system for this year's primary/caucus season as a way to fire up the entire party, not just the base.

Maybe, maybe not. We'll see late tonight. I'll tell you one thing, though: I'm still bullish on popcorn futures.



Blogger Charles said...

And here I thought the brokered convention thing was my theory. But I only came to that conclusion on January 5th, so Libby beat me by a little over a month.

Props to Libby!

Great cartoons, BTW.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I'll be honest, Charles (and Libby), I thought the idea of a brokered convention was pretty far-fetched when Libby first presented it. My reasoning was that it would really piss off the voters who took the trouble to go to the polls and would piss off the donors (direct and SuperPAC) who spent all that money to back their candidate.

Now, especially in light of Michael Steele's comments, I'm beginning to think it's a very real possibility, one that is inching toward probability.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Well, as we saw in 1996, nothing prevents Republicans from nominating doomed candidates just because they are boss rooster for that year.

But I think a Romney candidacy presents the possibility that the base will stay home, costing the GOP the Congress as well. Same goes for a Santorum candidacy, for different reasons. It could permanently split the party. It's that reason that I suspect that the machers might be willing to try the old razzle dazzle play and bring out someone like Petraeus.

As Michael Lind pointed out, the GOP is really three parties, each with mutually antagonistic goals. It's an astonishment that they have hung together so long. If they split, it could the the start of a return to national sanity.

9:56 PM  

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