As we prepare for tonight’s live blogging, let me warn you about a number of “exit polls” released on the web purporting to show the Romney-Santorum vote. For example, this “exit poll” from Conservative Intelligence Briefing purports to show Mitt leading Santorum by 39%-38%. Alas, this is not an exit poll of actual voters – it is, at best, a poll of likely voters and should be treated as such. The only exit polls that have been released so far deal with some demographic data – I’ll address those later tonight. But even these are early waves, and they may be adjusted somewhat. So be forewarned!
As most of you know, I like to make the night interesting by presenting my own predictions based solely on polling data and intuition (not necessarily in that order!) Tonight I’m calling a split decision – Mitt to take Arizona with 41% of the vote, but to narrowly lose to Santorum, 38%-37%, in Michigan on the strength of the crossover Democratic vote – a testament to my far-reaching blogging power (cue Operation Hilarity!)
A couple of other points to keep in mind. Although Arizona is, as of now, a winner-take-all state, it won’t necessarily stay that way if its delegation allocation system is challenged by Santorum, Gingrich or Paul during the national convention. Remember, Arizona’s decision to go to a winner-take-all system is one of the reasons it was penalized and lost delegates. In this respect, it is similar to Florida. So, it may matter how well Newt and Rick do there (Ron Paul too!)
Of course, if Mitt does lose Michigan, that will be the media story of the night, fair or not, no matter what happens in Arizona. I’ll be back on in about a half hour to begin the live blogging segment. In the interim, put the beers outside, the dog on ice, and kids on the leash, and join in!