What should we expect this coming Super Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, when three caucuses and seven primaries are set to happen all in one day? Here’s what I’m expecting:
Note: The numbers in () represent delegates each state has.
Alaska (27) – There is little data on this caucus with which to make a prediction, however, I call it for Romney, with Paul and Santorum too close to call, and Gingrich fourth.
Georgia (76) – It’s Newt’s home state, and polls continue to give him a strong lead. Gingrich takes first place, Romney and Santorum are to close to call, and Paul takes fourth.
Idaho (32) – Romney first, Paul second, Santorum third, Gingrich fourth. Again, this is a caucus state with little data available.
Massachusetts (41) – Romney has an overwhelming lead in his home state. Santorum will be second; Gingrich and Paul are too close to call.
North Dakota (28) – This is the other caucus state, again little data. Santorum first, Romney second, Paul third, and Gingrich fourth is my guess.
Ohio (66) – Santorum has lost some support there since the last debate. It’s now a close race between him and Romney. It’s really too close to call, but I’m going to guess that the polling trend continues and Romney barely takes it. Gingrich will be third and Paul fourth.
Oklahoma (43) – Easy win for Santorum, Gingrich and Romney too close to call, Paul fourth.
Tennessee (58) – Santorum’s overwhelming lead here gives him the state. Romney will be a distant second, Gingrich and Paul too close to call.
Vermont (17) – Romney takes first, Santorum second, Paul third, Gingrich fourth.
Virginia (49) – Romney takes first, with probably 60% of the vote, Paul second. No other candidates qualified.
To recap, that’s 6 states for Romney, 3 for Santorum, and one for Gingrich. Paul has a chance to win any of the caucus states- there is little data available on those states and my predictions there are just barely-educated guesses.
Super Tuesday will further solidify Romney’s lead, but he isn’t yet close to locking up the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Santorum is his strongest opponent, but his problem is not just being the underdog; he failed to qualify in a number of states. For Gingrich, he needs a miracle. Same problem with state qualifications, and worse for him, he is underdog to the underdog. Paul is on all the ballots, and his delegate hunting strategy may mean his chances are better than the polls would lead you to believe. But like Gingrich, he needs a miracle to get the nomination.
Does this mean a brokered convention? No. Sure, chances for that are a tad higher than normal, but no, it’s not going to happen. One or two candidates will drop out within a month of Super Tuesday, I predict, most likely Gingrich. Probably Santorum will stick around longer, and almost certain that Paul will compete in all 50 states.
It will all be somewhat interesting to watch this play out, but in the end, Romney wins the nomination.