Monday, February 6, 2012

Republican Primary 2012: Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri

Rick Santorum may count on a much improved performance in the Missouri primary, despite it being non-binding, for him to be a serious contender in the Republican primaries. The fact that he is the only conservative in the fight, since Newt Gingrich is not in the ballot, is an advantage to the former Senator from Pennsylvania. However, better will be a victory in either Colorado or Minnesota. Mitt Romney will be hoping to repeat his performance in these states four years ago. In 2008 primary, Romney won Minnesota with 41 percent and Colorado with a thumping 60 percent. However, according to the recent opinion polls, the fight in Minnesota will be tough as Santorum is leading Romney slightly. Even in Colorado, Romney is set to do worse than in 2008.

Newt Gingrich is once more trailing Romney seriously. Given the current predictions, he is set to do much worse than Santorum, his rival conservative. This shows a trend that was seen in Florida where Santorum managed to turn some conservative votes from Gingrich.

Gingrich's only substantial plus point so far has been the victory in South Carolina. Indeed, religion might have played a considerable role in Romney’s defeat in South Carolina where a considerable number of Republican voters were evangelicals. South Carolina is known to be one of the ‘most religious’ states and evangelicals view Mormons such as Romney as ‘non-Christian’. Romney’s attacks on the integrity of Gingrich’s character won him the day in Florida a few days later. He carried Nevada, with a considerable Mormon population, with much ease although his vote percentage dropped slightly from his performance in 2008 primary.

Although only Romney has shown some consistency in the contest, not falling below second place in any of the five states contested so far, none of the candidates intend to give up the battle at this moment, and they do not have to. Gingrich hopes that his strong message will carry the distance in the event of a longer fight. Even in 2008, Romney was defeated by McCain after some initial success by the former. The only question is whether Gingrich will be able to overcome the challenges from all three contenders and at least remain in second place. With the other conservative, Santorum, likely to do better in the future, it will be a tough ask. If Gingrich would hold the second place until the other candidates are forced to drop out, he will most probably have Santorum’s endorsement. He will need all the backing possible if he is to defeat Romney. With Romney cruising along ahead of him and Santorum catching up from behind, it is the best option open for the former House Speaker.

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