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Michigan, Arizona and even Washington (a Romney win, with Paul edging Santorum for second) are now behind us. So, with Ohio being the Big Enchilada on Tuesday, amongst these others:

Alaska Caucuses     27 delegates
Georgia Primary     76 delegates
Idaho Caucuses     32 delegates
Massachusetts Primary     41 delegates
North Dakota Caucuses     28 delegates
Ohio Primary     66 delegates
Oklahoma Primary     43 delegates
Tennessee Primary     58 delegates
Vermont Primary     17 delegates
Virginia Primary     49 delegates
Wyoming Caucuses     29 delegates
we have a just released NBC Marist poll, MoE plus/minus 3.4, with the following:
Rick Santorum 34
Mitt Romney 32

In Ohio, a majority of likely GOP primary voters view Romney as the Republican candidate with the best chance of defeating President Obama in November. And a plurality sees Santorum as the true conservative in the field and as the candidate who best understands their problems.

What’s more, Santorum performs better with the most conservative voters (Tea Party supporters, evangelical Christians, those describing themselves as “very conservative”), while Romney does better with more moderate voters and those who aren’t Tea Party supporters.

Yet by a 57 to 36 percent margin, these likely GOP primary voters prefer electability over ideology.

Note also this Ohio result, .pdf (Obama's lead over Santorum in Ohio is 50-36):
NBC Marist poll, Ohio

As it happens, Obama has an even bigger lead in Virginia (17 over Romney and 22 over Santorum):

NBC Marist poll, Virginia
But don't you worry. Getting back to Ohio, Rick Santorum is doing everything possible to blow this last chance to prolong the inevitable:
Campaigning in Ohio, Rick Santorum pushes social agenda and worries some supporters

...Cincinnati-based conservative radio host Bill Cunningham, who like Santorum is Catholic, raised the same concern directly with the candidate during a broadcast Friday.

“When my wife goes to bed at night, and she has rosaries in her hands, I pray as a practicing Roman Catholic you win the presidency,” Cunningham said, suggesting that Santorum’s focus on social issues would limit him to being a “niche candidate” at best. “I want you to win, but I think the tactics you’ve employed are not going to result in victory.”

Santorum fired back that Cunningham was falling victim to the “media hype.”

He just can't hold himself back.

That leaves us with a guy no one likes (Romney's fav/unfav numbers are 34.4/47.5, meaning that when he hits 50 it'll be a fact that most people don't like him) and a guy with doubts about his social agenda and electability—and that, from Republicans.

Now one question we've asked ourselves repeatedly is why would anyone vote for any of these people? As it turns out, there may be a consistent reason: primaries remove the

party label, thereby untethering voters from their usual political cues. Discerning who to vote for becomes work! What's a low-information voter to do without the guidance of party labels?
Voters care about leadership, trustworthiness, compassion and intelligence, although being too intellectual can hurt a candidate, says political science professor Jon Krosnick of Stanford University. They get hints about that from watching televised debates and campaign events, he said.

In fact, debates have become more influential as their number increases and clips show up on YouTube, he said. Some of their punch comes from news media conclusions that a certain candidate performed strongly or weakly, judgments that can sway voters without a strong preference, said John Geer of Vanderbilt University.

Similarly, a poorly known candidate can pick up support by winning primaries, because that attracts news coverage, usually positive, Geer said.

Bottom line is that most people hate politics and don't pay attention to it unless they have to. Without the D vs R label, it's harder for them to choose.

Still, as this ABC News report notes (Analysis: Why Are GOP Primaries Such a Mess?), there have been enough counting errors (see Iowa and Maine), messed up caucuses, ineligibilities due to lack of candidates filing on deadline (see Virginia) ans infighting as to timing of primaries (with final delegate counts to be determined at a later date), that it's nearly impossible for the average voters to keep track of what's going on, other than to get a sense of a Republican party in disarray.

That makes debate and primary night news coverage (see Super Tuesday) more important than ever. Voters need something, some visual, some piece of knowledge, to choose between, for example, the Republican conservative, the Republican conservative, and, in third place, the other Republican conservative. It's what makes the idea of gaining momentum from a win semi-real, although this year, bumps haven't lasted long.

And that makes coverage of Santorum's 13th century values all the more important. If the only thing you know about the candidates is that Mitt is rich, and Santorum thinks you're damned, well, that's a helluva choice to make on Tuesday.

“This is a very unhappy Republican electorate,” [Marist polling director Lee] Miringoff says.
Given the above, maybe it's no wonder Ohio is close between Republicans and not close between Obama and the opposition. Obama's hitting his 2008 numbers, whereas the GOP vote has not yet coalesced. It will, and these leads will shrink.

Still, I'd rather be in Obama's position. As it happens, voters actually like him. That's more than can be said about his opponents.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Santorum has an Ohio problem (16+ / 0-)

    He isn't on the ballot in almost a third of Ohio's districts. Why? Because Ohio requires petitions to be filed in every district where the candidate will be on the ballot. Santorum failed in a good number of them.

    So, he's locked out of a third of the delegates in Ohio.

    This is probably good for John McCain.

    Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

    by elsaf on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:55:47 AM PST

    •  well, that's an interesting twist (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, vcmvo2, MRA NY, OhioNatureMom, deha

      virginia is going to be fun, too, what with newtie not on the ballot.

      My goal is to make the world safe for anarchy. - 4Freedom

      by Cedwyn on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:10:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just to clarify this point (7+ / 0-)

      There are actually going to be two votes for president on the Ohio ballot.  

      Voters will mark one choice for the proportional at-large delegates.  Santorum will be on the ballot statewide for this vote, and this is the vote that the media will be reporting on Tuesday.  

      Voters will also mark a choice for winner-take-all congressional district delegates (3 per district).  This is where Santorum is not on the ballot in three congressional districts.  The theory is that Santorum voters in those districts are supposed to vote for Santorum in the statewide vote, and then strategically vote for Gingrich in the district vote.  However, I have a hard time seeing anyone but true political junkies actually doing that.  

      •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        though whether enough do that is another matter.

      •  I thought it doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

        If Santorum wins one of the congressional districts where he isn't on the ballot, I thought the delegates would be appointed by some GOP committee?

        Anyhow, Santorum will be on the ballot statewide for the proportional vote, and that's what matters most: this is a media thing. If Santorum loses Ohio, it's really truly over.

        If Santorum ekes out a win, however slight and regardless of the district vote, the narrative will be that Romney still can't lock up the important GOP states - he'll lose across the South and the key state of Ohio. He'll still probably get the nomination eventually, but the primary fight will drag on all the way to the end.

      •  This is the sort of comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aufklaerer

        that keeps me coming back here.  I have read this nowhere in the National Press.

        There are 63 delegates at stake in Ohio (there are 3 super delegates).  Of those delegates, 18 are awarded based on the state vote, and the rest are awarded on a winner take all basis by CD.

        This may or may not matter depending on the CD - if he didn't file in CD's he would likely win this is a very big deal.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:10:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mitt has a bigger general election Ohio problem. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Loge

      Too many people in Ohio are either employed by the auto industry or the parts suppliers.

      They know the truth.  Mitt won't be able to BS them.

    •  Actually, it's not almost a third (0+ / 0-)

      It's three out of 16.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:14:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  According to ABC News: (0+ / 0-)

        http://abcnews.go.com/...

        The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign needed to come up with at least three names in each of the state’s 16 congressional districts for full delegate eligibility, but his failure submit full slates in some places will result in “unbound” delegates, which will be up for grabs after Super Tuesday.
        It's more than just the three districts where he submitted no names for delegates. There are another six where he didn't submit a full slate.

        The bottom line is, Romney has a professional campaign organization that crosses all the "t"s and dots all the "i"s. Santorum's organization is sloppy and thin on the ground in many places.

        So, no matter how the Ohio voters go in the statewide vote, Santorum is going to lose Ohio.

        Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

        by elsaf on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:31:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Cunningham's wife goes to bed (11+ / 0-)

    with rosaries in her hands.

    Praying perhaps for a night when her husband just shuts up for once?

    A definition is the enclosing of a wilderness of ideas within a wall of words -- Samuel Butler

    by A Mad Mad World on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:59:00 AM PST

  •  Robocalls are starting to get super annoying! (13+ / 0-)

    I am a registered Democrat and have been getting robocalls from Romney. That's the problem with still having a landline, I guess!

    On the bright side I also got a live call from a real person for Obama. Had a nice chat-thanked him for what he was doing!

  •  Romney's huge head game (12+ / 0-)

    Romney is running on exactly one thrust--inevitability--and he's using huge money to make it so.

    In Iowa turns out he didn't win, but something made the state miscount on the crucial media day.

    In Maine they don't count all the votes, and he seems to win even though votes are lost.

    In Michigan he actually ties for delegates; then the next day they change their mind and he "wins" by one.

    One incident? Two--coincidence? He's manipulating the media here with cash.

    There's lots of documentation to show that conservatives do what they think they are supposed to do.

    There is big money psych going on behind the scenes here.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:15:55 AM PST

    •  Once is happenstance. (0+ / 0-)

      Twice is coincidence.
      Three times is a conspiracy.

      Given the other irregularities, we're well into conspiracy here.  It's extremely obvious that the establishment Republicans are stacking the deck for RMoney.

      (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:50:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Really looking forward to the Virginia results (5+ / 0-)

    The anyone but Romney protest vote for Gold Standard Gramps could be amusing.

    If liberals really "hated America" - We'd vote Republican

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:19:53 AM PST

  •  more from marist (6+ / 0-)
    Seven in Ten Believe Romney Will Be the GOP Nominee
    70% of likely Republican primary voters in Ohio think Romney will ultimately be the Republican nominee.  13% believe Santorum will top the GOP ticket while 5% say Gingrich will be the victor.  Only 3% report Paul will go the distance, and 1% believes none of the candidates will achieve the nomination.  Eight percent are undecided.

    Key points:
    Most Romney supporters – 90% — think he will be the party’s nominee.  Even 67% of Gingrich’s backers, 66% of Paul’s supporters, and 61% of those behind Santorum say Romney will win the nomination.

    http://maristpoll.marist.edu/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:26:42 AM PST

    •  MittLust.......a mile wide and an inch deep. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, OhioNatureMom, a2nite, laurnj
    •  This looks like an outlier (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT, Andrew C White

      Here are the Virgnina polls in February:

      2/6/2012    Quinnipiac   Approve 46% Disapprove    49%        Obama 47 Romney    43     Obama 49 Santorum    41
      2/16/2012    CNU    43%    Approve 53% Disapprove    42 Obama 46 Romney    43 Obama 46 Santorum
      2/21/2012    Rasmussen    51% Approve    46% diapprove        49 Obama43 Romney    51Obama Santorum    43
      2/28/2012    Roanoke       41%    Approve 48% Disapprove    42 Obama    43 Romey     45 Obama    39 Santourm

      I have a measure of pollster leans in state polling.  I take the approval rating in the poll and compare it to Obama's 08 %.  That allows me to see if any pollster leans one way or another.  Here are the active pollsters in Feb:

      PPP (D)      -0.034560993
      Rasmussen -0.041182075
      Quinnipiac -0.087629742
      Marist    -0.012669764
      SurveyUSA -0.076484016

      Marist is leaning Democratic.  Note that PPP and Rasmussen are actually pretty close.  Quinnipiac's numbers are clearly more Republican.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:35:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm confused by one item in the Marist #'s (0+ / 0-)

      In both the Ohio and Virginia polls when they get down to the breakdown of Registered voters by party they also list a separate column of Likely Voters by party. The numbers are widely divergent.

      Are they truly saying that they polled (Ohio) 38% Democrats and 26% Republicans among registered voters but that their likely voter model for that grouping returned 2% Democratic likely voters and 66% Republican likely voters?

      Am I reading that wrong or do they have an explanation for that incredible divergence?

      Without understanding those numbers I don't know whether to pay any attention to the rest of the poll numbers or not.

      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 02:55:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How on earth does GA have more delegates than OH? (5+ / 0-)

    Ohio has a larger population, by approx. 1.5 million. Does the GOP allot delegates by percentage of the state population comprised of ignorant Bible-thumpers?

  •  Those numbers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, wishingwell

    indicate the "Republican Establishment" needs to go on an exercise program so they can kiss their ass goodbye in November.

    "It's too LATE to stop now!" - John Lee Hooker

    by Rolfyboy6 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:29:35 AM PST

  •  Romney's floor in November will be 45% (5+ / 0-)

    All of this stuff now really doesn't matter.  Which is also why he's not running on anything now - he doesn't want to make policy statements now when he'd have to cater to the primary base, he'll wait until he's the nominee to make policy more geared towards the center knowing the GOP base will support him anyways.  

    One good thing about Virginia being a lock fro Romney now - he doesn't spend as much focus organizing it now.  

    If Paul isn't in the pocket of Romney I think he might have had a chance to win Virginia as Santorum and Gingrich would have maybe implored their supporters to vote Paul to keep the delegates from Romney.  But now Paul will get blown out something like 70-30 in Virginia.

    •  Probably. (0+ / 0-)

      But how can it hurt to have him pre-defined? Keeping him on that floor can be easy or it can be hard.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:04:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Paul could never win heads-up (0+ / 0-)

      His foreign policy is so anathema to the Republican base (as opposed to the Republican-leaning independents) that he could never muster anything like 50% in a head-to-head with Romney. Many Santorum and Gingrich supporters just will not vote for Ron Paul because of his radical isolationism.

      Remember that Virginia is a military state that benefits enormously from defense spending, and that has a lot of influence on the GOP electorate there.

    •  Republicans organize? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

      I thought they just had their billionaires bury their opponents in negative advertizing...all very top down.

    •  I actually put it a hair lower (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      newdem1960

      Around 42%.  The right is ticking off women too much to hold more than 40% of that vote at this point.

      Warranted, there's plenty of time, but I don't think they're going to walk back the crazy.  I simply don't think it's possible at this point.

      (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:53:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a weird confidence trap the GOP is in (6+ / 0-)

    "I feel that Romney has a better chance of beating President Obama than Rick Santorum."

    Well, I believe a moldy banana or a fuzzy orange that is a weird shade of yellowish green is probably more nutritious than a bacteria-ridden piece of lukewarm raw fish, but that doesn't lead me to believe that my triumphant moldy banana is more appetizing than a hot medium rare prime rib dinner.

    The only thing that is keeping Romney alive is that he is going 100% viciously negative. He is not making an argument in favor of himself, he's tearing down the other guy each and it's the same deal with every new 'other guy'.

    I'm a strong believer in the idea that you always campaign like you are 10 points down, no matter who you are facing or what the polls say. I'm sure the Obama campaign is not going to take any Republican candidate lightly even if it were Sarah Palin at the top of the ticket and Sharron Angle at the bottom.

    But it's weird watching the GOP convince itself that a rotten banana can beat a steak because it can beat a rotten fish in the divisional contests.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 09:43:19 AM PST

    •  My local hate radio jock spends the first hour of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan

      each of his four hour broadcasts saying what a cretinous piece of crap Obama is. He's been doing this for about two years now. Maybe he should try harder?

      •  I remember the Clinton years (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skillet, wishingwell, TexasTom, fsbohnet

        as the years of the Right throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping that eventually they would find the magic smear that would stick.

        Everything was a scandal. Everything. If he ordered McDonalds it was a scandal. If he ate healthy it was a scandal. If he dressed casually to an event he was dishonoring the universe. If he dressed formally he was being elitist.

        If you say "doo-doo head" once, and it doesn't work, say "doo-doo head" a thousand times and see if that is more effective.

        If they weren't the servants of the rich and powerful, and we the avatars of the poor, sick, young, and aged, they would be so, so screwed.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:12:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The other thing keeping Romney going (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, wishingwell

      is the absolute decrepitude of the other candidates. He does have that going for him, and that cannot be understated.

      If Santorum hadn't stuck both feet in his mouth by dishonoring JFK, he probably wouldn't have lost the Catholic vote in Michigan.

  •  today's 'numbers may not be Nov numbers, so don't (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marzook, laurnj, elmo, wishingwell, glitterlust

    get complacent. Get out and volunteer for Obama,and vote,. Let' not forget 2000 and 2004. Complacency and lack of grassroots efforts is why Bush won twice. Democrats Not voting in 2010 is how we got the terrible House we have today.

    We need to beat back the lunatic fringe by having an even bigger victory than 2008!

  •  Key Word: "Registered" Voters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spock36, wishingwell

    You can practically subtract 4 or 5 points from any poll of registered voters from the Democratic column. Democrats always poll better with registered voters, and even better among all adults, than they do with likely voters.

    Unfortunately, conservatives and the obnoxious evangelicals are more likely to vote than other groups of voters.

  •  One big problem for Republicans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    laurnj, wishingwell, glitterlust

    They really haven't had anyone they liked since Reagan. Reagan's agenda was all about shrinking government, making everyone rich and a capitalist. This was supposed to bring morning in America.

    But it took Bill Clinton to balance the budget and generate a surplus - and an economy that had jobs in it.

    It took Barack Obama to get Bin Laden, and save Detroit. Not to mention health care reform, however compromised.

    They want Reagan back again, but there's no one like him in the GOP - and he'd be too liberal for the extremist base now if he suddenly returned. Further, 30 years of Reaganism has left the country economically weaker, deindustrialized, crumbling infrastructure, more divided than ever.... Reagan's heirs have looted the gains from the new deal, sucked the middle class dry, and generally done their best to run the country into the ground.

    And they have no clue about how to deal with the new problems that have replaced the evil empire: the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, global climate change, global trade and financial problems...

    Their intellectual base ranges from a raving fat pervert on the radio, and whacked-out billionaires creating zombie puppets like the Tea Party, Scott Walker, etc. while they compete to buy the nomination for their own picks.

    The psychology of primary voters under these conditions for the GOP, well... the only thing they have to work with now is hate and fear. The candidate who can capitalize off that is the one to watch out for.

    I'd be less worried about the GOP nominee at this point if I didn't think that A) the primary voters will swallow their disappointment to focus on taking down Obama, and B) the attack machine will come out of the primaries tuned up and ready to go like we've never seen it before.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:01:06 AM PST

  •  Net Results (0+ / 0-)

    All that any of this really means is that it gets harder and harder with each election for anyone to get a majority of the delegates.

    If Romney can land a knockout blow on Tuesday, he can start to pile up enough delegates to do it.

    But if he doesn't, say, Santorum "wins" Ohio and really wins Oklahoma and Tennessee, comes in second in Georgia, then I'm really starting to wonder how Mitt gets to 1144.

    Of course, I think Mitt is still the nominee, but I'm starting to think he's going to have to nominate Rand Paul as Treasury Secretary to get it.

    GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

    by Attorney at Arms on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:01:07 AM PST

  •  Watch out for a Romney-Santorum ticket. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marzook, wishingwell

    That would be very dangerous.

    Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

    by expatjourno on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:01:25 AM PST

    •  Disagree. VP mostly helps by being likable. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, wishingwell, askew, expatjourno

      That's what both Kerry and McCain were trying to pull with the running mates they chose.

      Santorum is not likable. He's shrill and preachy, which is annoying even if you agree with him. Mitt is flat footted enough to choose Santorum, but he'd be better off with someone like Huckabee or Palin, who are wingnutty enough, but are also likable to the base. Even Chris Christie might be better, because although he is not conservative enough for the TPs, they do like him personally.

    •  Don't think so (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, askew, expatjourno

      Romney will only pick Santorum if it's forced on him. He doesn't like him. Santorum doesn't like Romney.

      Romney's choices will come from Christie, Martinez, Rubio, McDonnell, Portman and either Pawlenty or Daniels. That's it.

      I would have said a month ago that he'd go with McDonnell to keep VA in the bag and go after OH and PA strongly, but given the problems McDonnell's had in Virginia, I think all bets are off.

      Rubio's problems have to deal with vetting, Portman's an unknown cipher, Pawlenty's too bland and Daniels would make it easy for Obama to point to Romney as the Bush admin. That leaves Christie and Martinez and if Romney wants to go with a political route, he'd choose Martinez who'd (theoretically) help with Women and Hispanics in the general.

      But I think Romney will go for who he wants to work with and choose Christie (who's been bolstered with Social Cons by vetoing gay marriage) making a Christie-Biden VP debate EPIC.

      •  Christie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, expatjourno

        is, unfortunately, the Koch brothers' VP candidate, and since he is supporting and campaigning for R-money, it's quite possible that he could wind up being the VP nominee. He not only vetoed marriage equality, but he took NJ out of the Regional Greenhouse Gases Initiative (coincidentally, this was after a May, 2011 meeting he had w/the Koch brothers at their NYC home & a month and a half before he secretly traveled to their big retreat and gave an address).

        So it does seem to me that he has demonstrated to them that he is willing to do whatever they want in order to earn their support (read: campaign $$$) & the people of NJ who aren't wealthy be damned.

        Keep in mind that he was appointed US Atty by the Bush administration by virtue of his fund raising on behalf of them--he & his brother are Bush Pioneers. Before he proved his worthiness to the Bush/Cheney campaign, Karl Rove wanted nothing to do with him. It's all about the Benjamins w/the GOP.

      •  I've heard Martinez wants no part... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, expatjourno

        of being running mate.  She's on her own schedule and will have only been a Governor for 1.5 years and before that she was a DA.  If she was on Romney's ticket she'd have to push all of Romney's agenda and allow herself to be framed by the Romney camp.  

        I think she either plans to run herself in 2016 or to position herself to be a top VP candidate by then.  She's have 5 years as NM governor under her belt (assuming she's re-elected), and would be a much more solid candidate.  

        She runs as Romney's VP now and loses - she probably loses NM Gov re-election as well. NM is a trending blue state and Martinez won largely because of her last name.  

        Romney brought in Christie to help him stump in Ohio this weekend - that is a big tip off for me.   However I don't know if Christie would be the good soldier running mate willing to sell Romney's policies.  Christie wouldn't flip NJ either.  I think Christie going to Ohio is more for his own benefit in 2016 - building up his national presence now on Romney's dime.   If Romney was to win, Christie might look for an admin job - maybe AG, but I don't think he wants the VP spot.    

        I still think it's Rubio or McDonnell.  Rubio is campaigning for the job I think as he's pushing for the ethics investigation to publish their findings because he doesn't want the presence of an investigation hanging over his head - now given he was just elected in 2010 and not up until 2016 there is really no reason to push for this to be over (with him cleared).  

        •  Rubio's problems have to do with vetting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          expatjourno

          It came out last week that he was a mormon for a couple of years.  Naturally, you'd think so what? But what it shows with news on his credit cards, his parents' history in Cuba, his still running ethical investigations,  is that he's unvetted. Romney won't risk having an unvetted VP candidate, he's not willing to shake things up like McCain. He's cautious to a  fault.

          McDonnell is getting national attention for the wrong reasons. His image is getting made in front of a national audience as one who's going against women's health. Now, maybe it won't stick and he'll somehow manage to get above it, but the Rs in Virginia are killing that image of his.

          Hence, I'd lean against both of these guys. Doesn't mean they won't be picked but I'm not putting my money on them.

    •  dangerous (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, Erik W, expatjourno

      for Republicans? Oh, yes.

      Personally, I think that really is going to be the ticket. Romney will have to offer the No. 2 spot to Santorum (who is a natural as No. 2 anyway, right?) in order to get his endorsement and his delegates, which Romney will need to get the nomination.

      It will be a ticket no one really likes, with something for everyone to hate.

      •  I think Romney voters are cynical enough... (0+ / 0-)

        ...not to stay home because Santorum is on the ticket as VP.

        And I think that Santorum voters hate Obama enough that they would turn out for a ticket that had Santorum on it. It would be a big step up for their brand of lunacy.

        So then you have a united Rethug Party. Add hundreds of millions more dollars' worth of propaganda than the Democrats will ever be able to come up with, and they'd have a pretty good chance of taking the electoral vote. The race is already close enough in enough swing states to make it up for grabs.

        Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

        by expatjourno on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:58:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do Santorum voters hate Obama more than they hate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          expatjourno

          Mitt Romney? Some may, but don't underestimate how very much conservatives hate wishy washiness. They'd much rather someone be wrong than irresolute. That's why it was so funny Romney chose the word "resolute" to describe himself. There isn't a word in the whole dictionary that fits him less well.

          Other than Mormons, I don't really think there are very many voters you could  call Romney voters. I think most of the other people are voting for him simply because the other available alternatives are distinctly unpalatable.

          I'm not saying to take this election for granted. Far from it. But I like our chances. I really like our chances.

    •  No, I think it would amplify their problems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno

      It would be a nightmare ticket for them. Romney needs someone pleasant, sane-appearing and stable, like Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 08:12:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it would certainly do one or the other... (0+ / 0-)

        ...in a big way!

        Barack Obama: So morally bankrupt that he thinks people who tortured other people to death should get a pass. Likes to prosecute whistleblowers and pot smokers, though.

        by expatjourno on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:20:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  52 + 35 + 12 = 99 (0+ / 0-)

    Not 100.

    When I'm stupid and incompetent financially, I get calls from collection agencies and higher interest rates. When the 1% are stupid and incompetent financially they get billions from the government.

    by tarminian on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:02:20 AM PST

  •  Wait...Obama Up 17 in...Virginia? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgelling, NorthCountryNY, askew

    Holy moly....you definitely buried the lead in this one.

    •  Registered voters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spock36, laurnj

      Not likely voters, so that shaves 4-5 points off it. And that poll is way out of line with other polls that showed Virginia slipping out of reach.

      It'd be interesting to see though: maybe the nasty Republican primary and the recent stumbles of Governor McDonnell, combined with the improving economy has turned Virginia blue again, or at least purple. It swung radically to the right in 2010.

    •  VA will be close. Period. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Harkov311, wishingwell

      I think Obama will ultimately pull it off in Virginia, but it will most definitely be close probably around +- 4 pts.  A 17 pt victory one way or the other will not happen.

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jgelling, wishingwell

        As a Virginian, I can assure you it will be close.  As will the Senate race to replace Webb.  Although the VA GOP is a bit depressed at the moment, probably because their claim after the legislative election that they would be "focused like a laser on jobs" has been exposed for the total lie it always was.

        So the Dems here are getting more fired up.  But we definitely cannot rest on our laurels.  Northern VA, where I live, is generally Dem-friendly, but you have to fight for every vote in more closely-divided areas like VA Beach and Richmond.  And make no mistake: without that help from Hampton Roads and Richmond, Obama might not have won here in 2008.

        All your vote are belong to us.

        by Harkov311 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:26:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Did anyone see Melissa Harris Perry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, askew

    do her jelly bean counting demo? In once jar, the total beans = delegates needed to win. In another, she demonstrated how many Romney had so far, then went on. It was clever. Showed that even if Romney won every Winner-take-all state (I think there are ten), but then got his just under 40% he has, on average, received, in the states remaining, he still be in trouble.  The trouble? She held up a little cup of the beans that were not part of the state's counts, equivalent to Dem's Super Delegates, awarded by high honchos of the party.  One of the other talking heads on another channel mentioned these, too.  Yes, Romney is racking up endorsements, but the enthusiasm gap shows in George Will's column and the pathetic turn outs, for instance in Washington yesterday.  

  •  This may be a little off topic (0+ / 0-)

    but has anyone been able to determine what percentage of Democratic voters will be unable to vote due to all of the new voter suppression laws going into effect?  

    The first thing lost in war is truth.

    by KatHart on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:38:46 AM PST

  •  ROMNEY OR OBAMA.... HERE IS THE GOP (SAD) ISSUE... (0+ / 0-)

    Do we support Romney, which means we get an OBAMA-LITE non-conservative with RomneyCare, Abortion Funding, and all the other MITT-BAGGAGE, for EIGHT YEARS----- OR do we "TAKE THE 2012 HIT" skip voting, and get OBAMA for FOUR YEARS.

    If we allow ROMNEY to win, either he or a "more liberal liberal" will win in 2016, and we won't even have a chance at a CONSERVATIVE until 2020.

    THE LIBERALS HAVE ALREADY WON 2012...

    •  WHY ARE YOU YELLING?! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nice Ogre

      I AGREE with YOU! BUT I would ADVISE to DIAL IT BACK.

      YELLING

      Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth's sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.-Louisa May Alcott

      by YoungArizonaLiberal on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:52:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, Republicans are almost assured to lose (0+ / 0-)

      in 2012. Your party is destroying itself. It no longer comes close to representing the values of the majority of the American people. It hasn't for a long time frankly but the cover is being ripped off the truth of modern day Republicanism.

      I suggest you and your party do some soul searching and hopefully come back to representing a true and respectable option in American politics that reflects American values.

      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 03:01:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. (0+ / 0-)

    With those numbers in Ohio and Virginia, things are looking very bad for the Republican'ts.

    They need both of those states to have a viable path to the White House.  This looks very much like our game to lose at this point.

    I, for one, have no intention of doing that.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 10:48:26 AM PST

  •  Santorum wants to lose (4+ / 0-)

    Last November on Hardball, Chris Matthews spoke with a female journalist (I don't recall her name) who said that Santorum told her directly that he didn't want to win the nomination but he just wanted to push the debate to the right.  I believe this is why he keeps pushing his far right social agenda that he knows will turn off the fiscal conservatives in the GOP.

    •  That's interesting, because Santorum (0+ / 0-)

      is after all fairly cerebral.  Also delusional, but no dumb bunny.  

      It's the delusional part that is worrisome.  Last year this time I gave him little chance to survive the GOP primary this far and was even kind of shocked that after the drubbing from Casey and being tossed out of the U.S. Senate that anyone alive would take a Santorum candidacy seriously.  

      But this afternoon he holds a narrow lead over Romney in Ohio.  

      He may have wanted to move the national discussion to far-Right territory and polarize the electorate -- something the GOP is very good at -- but fairly recently here he seems to be playing for keeps.  

      Not sure what motivates Republicans generally and Santorum voters especially, but we're at a different place now than I ever thought we'd be a year ago.

    •  He probably thought he had no chance (0+ / 0-)

      After all, he's said in speeches that he knows it's Mitt's turn, which is how the Republicans roll. I'm sure last November he couldn't have imagined Romney doing this poorly.

      I doubt he wants to lose - he's just out of his element running a national campaign with micro-scrutiny on every word he says. It's very different from running for Congress or Senate, and Mitt's the only one with experience running a large national campaign.

      Unfortunately, even after 6 years of campaigning, Mitt still isn't a very good candidate. But compared to the other three, he looks competent.

      •  What I mean is... (0+ / 0-)

        Santorum won elections in PA so he can be a capable politician.  For him to get off his manufacturing message that appeals to Reagan Democrats is a minor league mistake unless he wants to lose.

        •  He talked about crazy religious and social issues (0+ / 0-)

          When he was running for Senate in PA too. The difference is people don't pay all that much attention to statewide races. You can say crazy things to pander to various audiences without getting called out too much.

          The level of scrutiny of a leading presidential candidate is a few orders of magnitude more intense. I'm not sure it's fair to say it's a minor league mistake - it's more like a major league mistake made by a minor league player.

  •  So the model I use (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemFromCT, Andrew C White

    that attempts to project momentum is saying right now Romney is going to win everything outside of the South.

    I will run them tonight and post them in a thread (they have been accurate thus far).

    The regional component of the makeup on Super Tuesday is actually creating the possibility of a brokered convention.  Right now I project the following:
    Romney 1043    Santorum 765    Gingrich 167    Paul 89

    Those are elected delegates only, and are based on all polling since Santorum's wins in Colorado.  Those numbers don't include the 198 Super Delegates and the 24 delegates being awarded by the the Virgin Islands, Guam and a couple of other places.

    You need 1144 to get the nomination.  If Gingrich can get some momentum out of Georgia and  Santorum doesn't collapse in the Midwest, Romney might find himself short by more than this projection.  Romney's ace in the hole is the fact that two states where he should do well, California and New Jersey, go late and may help convince super delegates to go with him.

    This is still not over, but Romney wins in the midwest are really going to hurt Santorum.  Santorum needs Ohio.

    And like a vampire, Newt Gingrich is still not undead.  

    A brokered convention is possible, though with my projection I think Romney will find more than enough supter delegates to win.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 11:22:27 AM PST

  •  And this GOP is the gang challenging voter fraud? (0+ / 0-)

    Especially when - as our diarist documents - they, themselves, screw up processes they control from the get-go of rule making to the finale of vote counting and delegate distribution. with ...:

    " ... counting errors (see Iowa and Maine), messed up caucuses, ineligibilities due to lack of candidates filing on deadline (see Virginia) and infighting as to timing of primaries (with final delegate counts to be determined at a later date) ...
    The GOP even shafts its own voters. The results will be what the party leadership, first in the states and then in the convention, say it is, nothing more and nothing less.

    So I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that the Republican Party can't deal fairly with the rest of us, either.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:32:22 PM PST

  •  I want the religious fanatic to win. Santorum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White

    Yes.  I want Rick Santorum, the Christian Taliban's leader to take the lead.

    I want the GOP to start to call each other names, and pull each others hair out.

    I want the billionaire's who have invested millions in these radicals to walk away with less money, and no puppet to play with.

    Go Rick Santorum, Go.  Win.

    Create havoc.  

    "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 02:04:57 PM PST

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