Friday, March 9, 2012

In the Romney v Santorum Counterfactual, Romney Still (Probably) Wins

While it's not an exact science, Nate Silver tries to estimate what would have happened if Newt Gingrich had simply not run for President at all. The answer seems to be that his support would be split between and Santorum and Paul, with Santorum getting the lion's share, but that Santorum would still be far, far behind Romney. In this scenario, Romney's delegate lead would be due entirely to taking 100% of the delegates in Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Idaho.

To believe that Santorum could have won the nomination had Newt simply not entered the race, you have to believe that his win in South Carolina would have propelled him into competition with Florida; that Romney's avalanche of negative ads would have been less effective against Santorum, who has higher favorables among Republicans than Gingrich; and that he would have been able to hold Romney to below 50% in Arizona. And even then, Santorum would still trail Romney in delegates.

While the map favors Santorum over the next week—Alabama, Mississippi, and Missouri aren't exactly friendly territory for Romney—we're getting much closer to the end.
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