March 12, 2012

KARR-KAITIN: Tonight’s Primaries

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After a week of studying the polling in Alabama and Mississippi, and reading predictions about what is going to happen, I’ve come to the conclusion that nobody really knows. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are all within the margin of error in Alabama.

Alabama will be a particularly interesting case study because it borders states won by all three competitive GOP candidates. Anyone who claims to know who is going to win Alabama is lying. It’s a true tossup.

The race is close in Mississippi, but Mr. Gingrich seems to have a slight lead over Mr. Santorum there as the main opponent to Mr. Romney. I would be surprised if it was not either Mr. Romney or Mr. Gingrich who came away victorious there.

Mr. Gingrich has tended to perform very well among southern voters, and it doesn’t get all that much more southern than Mississippi.

A worst possible scenario for Mr. Romney is if Mr. Santorum wins both states, and Mr. Gingrich drops out.

However, if Mr. Romney cannot win either state, and Ron Paul can pick off Hawaii, the race will go on. The media will begin to raise serious questions about Mr. Romney’s viability.

If Mr. Romney wins both states, then we could finally see this race start to draw down, as he will appear to be finally able to win the support of southern social conservatives.

If Mr. Romney only wins one state, I suspect the media will declare a stalemate, and all eyes will be on the next weekend’s caucus in Missouri .

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Original Author: Noah Karr-Kaitin