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Picking Winners (Who among the GOP candidates is strongest against Obama?)
National Review ^ | 02/13/2012 | Michael Barone

Posted on 02/13/2012 6:50:01 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Rick Santorum won big victories in three small contests in the Republican presidential race last Tuesday. In doing so, he reshaped the oft-reshaped nomination battle once again. But he has not installed himself as the favorite, and neither he nor Mitt Romney has established himself as the candidate who can do best in the general election.

These were small contests not because the states involved were small — Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado all have populations near the national average — but because the primary in Missouri and the caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado are nonbinding, so their results don’t give any candidate any convention delegates.

So the contests weren’t really for keeps, as all three were in 2008, when Romney won them all. It says something negative about Romney that he wasn’t able to motivate many people to come forward to vote for him. But it doesn’t say everything that Santorum was able to motivate more, with overall turnout tanking in Missouri and lower in Colorado and Minnesota than in 2008.

The one candidate who took a clear loss was Newt Gingrich, who failed to get on the ballot in Missouri, finished a miserable fourth in Minnesota, and beat Ron Paul by one percentage point in Colorado. Those are dreadful results 16 days after his big win in South Carolina. It’s not clear how he maintains the visibility he needs to recover.

Both Santorum and Romney can reasonably claim that he would be a stronger candidate in the general election. Republican voters in contests that count may want to examine and evaluate their claims.

Each can cite some supportive polls. Santorum, not as yet the target of high-visibility negative campaigning, can point to recent national and Ohio polls showing him running stronger against Barack Obama. Romney can cite other national and Virginia polls showing him doing so.

Santorum’s case is that he has shown appeal to blue-collar voters — to the non-college-educated whites whom Democrats have been enticing to return to their fold for decades.

His platform, with its zero corporate tax on manufacturing, is tailored to appeal to these voters. And he believes that his strong conservative stand on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage can establish a link with tradition-minded people in Catholic neighborhoods and old factory towns.

The Obama administration’s attempted decree that Catholic charities must buy health insurance including abortion pills gives him a strong talking point.

But are there as many votes there as Santorum thinks? The old steelworker House district where he was first elected in 1990 has been losing population ever since. And even in 2008, John McCain won non-college whites by a 58 percent to 40 percent margin.

Santorum would probably run better among this group than Romney, whose unforced errors and political tin ear have made him seem aloof.

But there’s also a case to be made that Romney may run better among another, less noticed group — affluent voters.

This year and in 2008, Romney’s best showings in primaries have come in affluent areas. And polling seems to indicate that he does particularly well with affluent women.

Those are groups among whom Republicans have been slipping for more than a decade. In the 2008 presidential election, voters with incomes over $100,000 split 49 percent to 49 percent.

You can see the trend in the four suburban counties just outside Philadelphia. The first George Bush carried them with 61 percent in 1988. Since then, the Democratic percentage has been rising steadily, reflecting the liberal stands of affluent voters, especially women, on cultural issues.

Barack Obama carried them with 57 percent in 2008. You see similar patterns in the suburbs in most major non-southern metro areas.

Santorum carried the Philadelphia suburbs in Senate races in 1994 and 2000. But in 2006, a dreadful year for Republicans, he lost them by 60 percent to 40 percent, a worse loss than McCain’s.

Santorum would probably do better this year, with economics overshadowing cultural issues. But it’s easy to imagine that Romney would run better in what seems to be his natural terrain.

Political analysts have been assuming that Democrats’ gains among affluent voters are solid. But are they more solidly committed than non-college whites?

Both the “Santorum’s stronger” and “Romney’s stronger” theories seem plausible to me now; neither seems proven. I’ll keep them in mind as the race continues.

— Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: newt; obama; romney; santorum

1 posted on 02/13/2012 6:50:04 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Newsflash!!!! Anybody can beat fubo ( see carter, jimmah for further information )....

2 posted on 02/13/2012 6:52:11 AM PST by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
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To: SeekAndFind

Trying to pick who is best now is silly. You can’t say what will happen until all of the debates are done. For all we know, Romney could debate Obama and blow him out of the park like Reagan did to Carter. You never know. Gingrich is down in the polls now and his unfavorable is really high, but if he dominated Obama in debates and made him look like a moron, lots of people would say he looks very presidential. Same for Santorum.

3 posted on 02/13/2012 6:52:25 AM PST by bigdirty
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To: bigdirty

On top of that, the vote amongst those who are not a RINO like Romnesty is split. Verses anyone of the others, he loses IMO.

4 posted on 02/13/2012 6:56:00 AM PST by Mouton (Voting is an opiate of the electorate. Nothing changes no matter who wins..)
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To: joe fonebone
Newsflash!!!! Anybody can beat fubo

Don't count on it. The ministry of propaganda (media) hasn't even warmed up the Pubbie candidate smear machine yet. The Obama beatification machine however, has been humming along at only half throttle and will be pedal to the metal by summer.

5 posted on 02/13/2012 7:01:53 AM PST by Right Brother
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To: SeekAndFind

Romney is no different that BHO, and BHO will point that out every day day in and day out. Romney can not win, why would anyone vote for him, the difference between the two is so insignificance to make it worthless to vote.
Paul is a non entity.
Santorum appears to be a good guy, his message of freedom rings true for conservatives, however the rest of the country looks at him and says huh? He just doesn’t get across to people who are not conservative what he is trying to say.
Gingrich is a no holds bar kind of guy and will rip BHO a new one in debates if and only if BHO will debate. Unfortunately, even though Gingrich has a plan and an articulated message he doesn’t have the funds right now to get the message out.
Someone mentioned its to early to decide, bottom line I agree.
Right now we just need to get rid of Romney.

6 posted on 02/13/2012 7:02:08 AM PST by svcw (Only difference between Romney & BH is one thinks he will be god & other one thinks he already is.)
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To: Right Brother

Allen West driven out of congressional district by America-hating Republicans!

7 posted on 02/13/2012 7:07:07 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: SeekAndFind
Nov. 9th, 2012


(back to sleep Blado)

8 posted on 02/13/2012 7:08:52 AM PST by Blado (Obama's brain is a coprolite from the Late Soviet Era)
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To: SeekAndFind
Here in February Mr. Barone this discussion is largely academic. By November so much more will come out about Obama that the dog catcher could beat him.
9 posted on 02/13/2012 7:09:36 AM PST by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Seems to be shaping up as a two man race between Santorum and Romney.

10 posted on 02/13/2012 7:11:33 AM PST by Old Retired Army Guy
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To: SeekAndFind
Even with both his self-created baggage, coupled with the media-created baggage, I still believe that Newt is the only candidate that can beat obama.

I believe that the obama machine will chew up the others and spit them out.

Romney can't think on his feet and when challenged he stammers and stutters like obama without a teleprompter.

Santorum gets in a snit when he is challenged, and I don't think "richie cunningham" has the wherewithall to win over "uber cool" fonziebama.

And Ron Paul...well, he's Ron Paul.

On the other hand, Gingrich can spout the facts, history and unconstiutionality of obama faster than obama's research team can look them up.

Obama will never out-debate Newt, even on a good day. Also, having been in Congress and speaker, Newt knows the rules ten times better than obama and knows the precedents that will nullify obama's line of bullSh!+.

I don't care if Newt has had 5 wives, and about any of the circumstances surrounding his divorces; the big deal about him leaving the Speakership is bogus, as he was found innocent of all charges. Clinton and his demobuddies wanted Gingrich out for the same reason we need him impede and block the democrats at their own game.

Then they say that Newt is "mean", or has a temper...well, after three years of chronicling obama I can say I've never been a more tempermental and petulent @$$h0!3 in my life.

Insofar as being "mean"...obama has nearly ruined America, taken our jobs, homes, and life's savings, indebted our children for decades to come and imperiled our safety and soverignty as a nation...can someone tell us why that isn't much, much meaner than anything Newt has ever done or said?

obama has 100 more baggage and a doubious past that has been hidden from the public and guarded by the media jackboots. He is the only person to OCCUPY the presidency that has held the level of contempt and hatred for this country.

I can't believe that there are loads of people who are willing to let obama just walk us to a dictatorship and an internal takeover of this country - and that is exactly what will happen if obama gets four more years as a lame duck. If obama wins, this will be the last free election we will ever have in America. And we're going to let that happen because Newt's attention-starved, narcisstic ex wife suddenly comes out of nowhere with tales from the twilight zone?

At this point in America we don't need Richie Cunningham (BTW, Ron Howard AND Henry Winkler are devout obama supporters)OR Thurston Howell III, or even a Perot-job...we need a take-no-prisoners warrior like Newt.

But it appears again that the fickled GOP is going to allow the mainstream media to pick our candidate - just like with McCain...and we all know what a disaster that was.

Folks, we're fighting a domesticated enemy who is trying to destroy us from within, and it would be better to send a warrior than a Richie Rich, a geek, or a fanatic into battle with the obama machine.

Conservatives are not "groupies" by nature, but as independent as we all are, we need to come together behind the one weapon that we have that can throw a monkey wrench into the obama machine, and I believe that the person to do is, is Newt Gingrich.

11 posted on 02/13/2012 7:15:23 AM PST by FrankR (You are only enslaved to the extent of the entitlements you receive.)
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To: FrankR


12 posted on 02/13/2012 7:40:36 AM PST by old school
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13 posted on 02/13/2012 8:51:37 AM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: FrankR

I don’t care if Newt has had 5 wives, and about any of the circumstances surrounding his divorces; the big deal about him leaving the Speakership is bogus, as he was found innocent of all charges. Clinton and his demobuddies wanted Gingrich out for the same reason we need him impede and block the democrats at their own game

....I wish he didn’t have the baggage, but a great analysis!
Well done...


14 posted on 02/13/2012 9:08:33 AM PST by ElectionInspector (Molon Labe...)
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To: FrankR

Frank, that was an outstanding post and it presents my exact thoughts.

I think that you should find additional threads to post that to.

For me, it’s Gingrich or bust. Supporting anyone else is yielding to the GOP-e, a waste of effort and begs for failure.

I will vote for Newt Gingrich.... or I will not vote at all.

GO NEWT GO—it’s about the survival of our country!!

15 posted on 02/13/2012 10:27:23 AM PST by Gator113 (~Just livin' life, my way~..... GO NEWT GO--itÂ’s about the survival of our country!!)
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To: SeekAndFind


For the sake of the country

... Romney Should Pull Out.

16 posted on 02/13/2012 11:18:37 AM PST by Diogenesis ("Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. " Pres. Ronald Reagan)
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