The Republican party has held five primaries this cycle to date: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, and Arizona. Mitt Romney won the statewide vote in four of them, including the last three.
Super Tuesday tomorrow will shake all that up, of course. But Ohio looks to be one state Romney may come back to win from Rick Santorum.
It’s a proportional primary, and I doubt any trigger will be hit to turn it winner-take-all. So any win there will be muted in its delegate impact, even though Ohio has the second largest delegate count on the block Tuesday.
And Ohio’s 66 delegates are only part of the haul tomorrow. 350 delegates are up in binding primaries (Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Vermont). 59 more are up in binding caucuses (Idaho, Alaska). North Dakota has 28 delegates, but only holds a non-binding caucus tomorrow.
But in total we see that 409 delegates are to be bound tomorrow. Some day that Super Tuesday has been diminished in the race to January, but 409 bound delegates is more than the total already bound (174) or even the bound delegates plus delegates up in states that held non-binding caucuses (374). Any lead any candidate has can be wiped out all at once tomorrow, so Mitt Romney must show up like a frontrunner in order to remain the front runner.
Normally Georgia with its 76 delegates would be the biggest prize tomorrow, but I think people are discounting it some as Newt Gingrich’s original home state, and sure enough, in the three polls that ended Sunday (InsiderAdvantage, Rasmussen Reports, PPP) Gingrich holds double digit leads, with Romney in second. So Gingrich will almost surely take the largest share of the state’s delegation.
That takes us to Ohio. Sitting between Romney-friendly Michigan and Santorum’s home Pennsylvania, both of the top two candidates have reasons to believe they can do well there. So it’s not surprising to me at all that Ohio has pulled into a polling tie in the last three polls, again all ending on the 4th (Rasmussen, PPP, Quinnipiac). Romney’s range of 31-37 shows a median 34. Santorum’s range of 31-36 shows a median of 33.5. So it’s a miniscule, insignificant lead for Romney by my estimation.
So why do I call this Mittmenum moving to Ohio? Simple. Santorum had double-digit Ohio leads as recently as the 26th. Once Michigan was done, Romney began recovering in Ohio. Is that purely the power of money, or is there more to it? All I can say is the polls point to it happening. Specifically how is a question I leave for history.