March 6, 2012

KARR-KAITIN: Where Does the GOP Go From Here? (Answer Enclosed)

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The results are in, and Mitt Romney appears to have vanquished his opponent. Or has he? Mr. Romney still has a little something called Super Tuesday to contend with.

It’s still possible that he or Rick Santorum will make a serious mistake in the next week. Mr. Santorum could continue alienating voters with his ridiculous statements, for example, calling people who want to go to college “snobs” (a comment he’s had to walk back).

We also don’t know if Mr. Romney will get a polling bump in the next few days due to his successes in Michigan and Arizona.

That being said, there are a few things we do know.

On March 6th, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and several other states will go to the polls. According to preliminary polling, Mr. Santorum is heavily favored in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Newt Gingrich (assuming he stays in the race) is heavily favored in his home state of Georgia. Mr. Romney is going to win Virginia, but that’s mostly due to the fact that he’s the only candidate on the ballot, besides Ron Paul.

We don’t have enough polling out in the other states that will be voting, but my gut prediction is that Mr. Romney will also win (conservative hotbeds) Massachusetts and Vermont, but will lose Idaho, North Dakota, and Alaska.

I’m just going by the relative strength of social conservatives in each state, but I feel pretty confident in those predictions.

Here’s what you should be looking for in the next week.

—Polling. Does Mr. Romney get a bump? Do Mr. Santorum’s incendiary statements continue to hurt him?

—Foot-in-mouth syndrome. Mr. Santorum and Mr. Romney both have a serious case of it, and it could end up impacting the race if one of them is really judged to have stepped in it.

—Mr. Gingrich dropping out. This is highly unlikely considering his chances of winning Georgia, and his decision to not contest the Michigan and Arizona primaries, in order to focus on Super Tuesday states. However, if he does drop out, you can expect his remaining supporters to flock to Mr. Santorum, as they are similarly anti-Romney social conservatives. That 8-9% increase in Mr. Santorum’s support could give him a significant advantage moving forward.

The smart money is still on Mr. Romney pulling this out in the end, but the race goes on, and yesterday didn’t make it all that much easier for Mr. Romney.

Noah Karr Kaitin is a junior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at nkarrkaitin@cornellsun.com. The Hill is a politics blog that aims to stimulate discussion on today’s most pressing issues,  be they related to Cornell or national affairs. If you’re interested in joining the conversation, please contact thehill@cornellsun.com.

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Original Author: Noah Karr-Kaitin

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