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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Griper Blade: No End in Sight

Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum
Ezra Klein calls last night's primary contest in Michigan a "win that made Romney look weak." In delegate math, a win is a win and Team Romney's probably happy to take it, but I've written before about polls influencing polls. The candidate is losing his electability argument and last night's performance didn't do much to revive it. If people are looking for a candidate who can win, he didn't inspire confidence. His weak win in one race may affect voters in later ones. This morning, much of the punditry are taking the "he didn't lose" point of view, rather than the "Romney won" side. He's not the winner of last night's primaries, he's the survivor. And Romney didn't help himself much on that point in his victory speech, as Klein points out:

...Romney was right in his victory speech. “We didn’t win by a lot, but we won by enough and that’s all that counts,” he said. His advisers might have preferred if he'd omitted that unusually honest look into the dynamics of the campaign. But Romney did win by enough. He remains the frontrunner. He remains strong enough to dissuade any new entrants. Which means the status quo continues. Romney vs. Santorum. The Republican Party will continue to have nowhere else to turn and independent voters will continue to see a side of Romney they don't much like. You can argue that Michigan produced three kinds of winners last night. Romney, who didn't lose. Santorum, who almost won. And the Obama campaign, which gets to sit back and watch this primary go on for that much longer.

And "that much longer" means beyond Super Tuesday. If anyone drops out of the race after then, it'll probably be Ron Paul (or maybe Gingrich -- more on that later), since he probably won't win any states. And it may not be a big Romney night, either. He's heading for a huge landslide in Massachusetts and a sizable win in Vermont (the RealClearPolitics polling average in those states is +48 and +19 respectively), but other candidates are looking at big wins too. Ten states are up that night and RCP has polling averages for six. Of that six, Mitt takes two...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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