Romney Destroys Santorum and Gingrich on Super Tuesday

We’ve seen many headlines tonight stating that the Super Tuesday states were split among the top three contenders, but the story those headlines are missing is that the delegate math delivered a much more decisive result.

Right now, Romney is leading in 7 Super Tuesday states (OH, VA, ID, WY, MA, VT, AK), Santorum in 3 (TN, OK, ND), and Gingrich in 1 (GA).

After today, Gingrich has become a non-candidate, racking up only one 1st place Super Tuesday finish (in his home state), with three 3rd place finishes, and six 4th-place finishes, and one contest in which he didn’t qualify for the ballot.

Santorum, on the other hand, in spite of racking up 3 “wins”, had a very poor showing in delegates. In all three states that he won, it appears likely that he will share a significant number of delegates with Romney. On the other hand, there are four states where Romney is picking up delegates in which Santorum will get few delegates or none: Georgia, where Santorum didn’t cross the necessary 20% threshold to score at-large delegates; Massachusetts, where Santorum didn’t cross the 15% threshold to score at-large delegates; Virginia, where Santorum didn’t qualify for the ballot; and Idaho, where it appears that Romney has captured all of the delegates by virtue of his commanding 67% majority.

And a final footnote on the battleground state of Ohio … even though Santorum had strong support among the Democrats in Ohio who voted in the Republican primary, it appears that Romney has clinched that state with 99.4% of the precincts reporting.

Check out Nate Silver’s site for some great analysis and the Huffington Post’s live update site for a nice “delegate math” dashboard showing the before-Super-Tuesday and after-Super-Tuesday results. The Huffington Post is currently showing 179 Super Tuesday delegates for Romney, 64 for Santorum, and 52 for Gingrich.

Gingrich and Santorum may not figure it out for some time, but the delegate writing is clearly on the wall.

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Republican Primary: Who Has the Numbers?

There’s been lots of talk about the changing winds of the Republican primaries, but let’s take a careful look at the numbers from all of the contests that have been held so far and see where that leaves the final four contenders.

1) Total votes – Romney wins in this category. He is the only candidate who has accumulated over a million votes. He has received 1.4 times as many votes as the second place finisher in this category.

Romney = 1,183,979
Gingrich = 837,611
Santorum = 569,488
Paul = 337,894

Note: if you want to review the state-by-state results, 2012 Election Central has a convenient summary page.

2) Average percentage of the vote – Romney wins in this category. Taking the percentage of votes he earned in the nine contests that have been held so far and averaging that number, Romney has averaged 34% of the vote. This is 1.3 times better than the second place finisher in this category.

Romney = 34%
Santorum = 26%
Paul = 19%
Gingrich = 18%

Note: I boosted Gingrich’s numbers by only averaging the 8 contests he participated in. If I had counted his 0% Missouri finish, that would have dropped his average to 16%.

3) Average Place (i.e., first, second, third, …) – Romney wins in this category with an average place of 1.7, putting him comfortably ahead of the second place finisher in this category, who scored an average place of 2.4. The breakdown of this tally is telling: Romney had only one finish that was not a 1st or 2nd place finish, while Santorum had 5 finishes that were 3rd place or lower, Gingrich also had 5 that were 3rd place or lower, and Paul had 6.

Romney = 1.7
Santorum = 2.4
Paul = 3
Gingrich = 3

Note: I again boosted Gingrich’s numbers by only averaging the 8 contests he participated in. If I had assigned Gingrich a 4th place finish in Missouri, that would have dropped his score to 3.1.
4) Delegate count – Romney wins in this category also. You would have to combine every delegate from all three remaining contenders to tie with Romney’s total.
Romney = 123
Santorum = 72
Gingrich = 32
Paul = 19
My conclusion is that Romney can still safely be considered the Republican front-runner.
  • Gingrich has done well in two high-population states (South Carolina and Florida).
  • Santorum has done well in four states that involved relatively low numbers of voters (the most votes he received from a state that he won was 138,957 in Missouri) and relatively high percentages of Evangelical voters (all his victories came from states where Evangelicals make up more than 20% of the population). He has placed 3rd, 4th, or 5th in the states where Evangelicals make up less than 20% of the population. That may not bode well for Santorum in the evangelical-poor but delegate-rich states of California, New York, Illinois, and possibly even Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania (the latest poll in Pennsylvania shows Santorum and Romney in a statistical deadheat). See the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life for religious composition summaries by state.
  • Romney is the only candidate who has consistently scored 1st or 2nd place finishes almost entirely across the board. He has won all three contests in the states where Evangelicals make up less than 20% of the population, but he has also placed 1st or 2nd in 5 of the 6 states where Evangelicals make up more than 20% of the population.

With the most total votes, the highest average percentage of the votes cast, the best average place in the first 9 contests, and the highest delegate count, Romney is clearly the best-positioned to do well in the long haul.

Republican or Democrat … Who Would Gain Your Vote?

If you could choose from any of the Republican candidates or the likely Democratic nominee, who would gain your vote?