Live Blogging Super Tuesday

7:00  We open with bad news for Romney – CNN has not given him Vermont, which means he didn’t likely clear the 50% total, which means he doesn’t win a clean sweep of Vermont 17 delegates.  Only Paul and Mitt were on the air here, and I’m surprised he didn’t clear 50%.  If these numbers hold he’s likely going to have to share some Vermont delegates with both Paul and Santorum.  Not the best way to start the night.

Meanwhile, as expected, Newt takes Georgia.  But by how much?  And did Santorum clear 20% statewide?  Exit polls suggest Newt just fell short, but it’s close enough that given the margin of error, it’s not out of the question.  Meanwhile, it looks like Rick just fell short of 20%, meaning he gets no statewide delegates in the biggest delegate state of the night.   Not a good start for Rick either.

also, late call on Mitt in Virginia, which suggests he didn’t do as well there as I might have guessed.  Again, not a good sign for Mitt, but a very good sign for Ron Paul.  Remember, neither Santorum nor Newt were on the Virginia ballot.

Meanwhile, apropos of my latest post, the Gingrich people are arguing that Santorum may be finished tonight, with the bottom dropping out of his support.  Meanwhile, Santorum is arguing that if only Gingrich was out of the race, they would be beating Romney.  sigh – listen to  yourselves!  This isn’t rocket science!  Your strategy is clear…..otherwise, it Operation Brokered Convention.

By the way, we spent a seminar today talking about Mo Fiorina’s argument in his book Disconnect that while elites are focused on social cultural issues, the general public just doesn’t care about these highly divisive issues.   As if on cue, I just listened to the talking heads on CNN spend 15 minutes battling about contraception and so-called “women’s issues.”  Class, I hope you are taking notes!  And CNN people – one more time:  contraception is not a women’s issue, and the gender gap is not premised on differences among women and men these “women’s issues”.

The Ohio results are coming in in five minutes, but I’m guessing they won’t call the state immediately.   Already CNN has hyped this as the big story tonight. You know my take on that.

Wolf just trotted out the whole whoever wins Ohio wins the presidency canard – should someone tell him that’s for the general election?

In Georgia, once again Romney’s support goes up as one moves up the income ladder.   Not much evidence he’s gaining among the Tea Party group.  43% of Mitt’s support comes from  those earning over $220 thousand.   Of course, as Ann would remind us, that doesn’t feel like much money!

Fox has already projected Romney to win Vermont – now CNN agrees.

CNN blathering on about Ohio as the most important state tonight. Not.

The Georgia results are really interesting – Mitt actually beat Santorum 24%-21% among the 69% who are Tea Party supporters. I don’t think Rick is going to make the 20% threshold.  If Newt clears 50%, this is a big big win for him there in terms of delegates.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul is in North Dakota.  That says alot about how limited his candidacy is among Republicans.  He’s hoping for a win there… .Wolf just trotted out the whole whoever wins Ohio wins the presidency canard – should someone tell him that’s for the general election?

Remember, we are still waiting on two key states – Tennessee and Oklahoma. In many respects, Tennessee is a bigger state tonight than Ohio in showing candidates strengths and weaknesses.  And Oklahoma will be a surprise no matter how it turns out, since we have so little polling data there.

Finally, some exit poll data in Tennessee and Oklahoma – huge turnout among evangelicals – about 78% in both states.  But, if that vote is split, Romney can squeak by with about 30% of the vote.  But I’m guessing he’s going to fall short in Tennessee – just a guess at this point.

Wow – exit polls showing Santorum ahead in both Tennessee and Oklahoma – if that holds, that’s big for him, since he can claim he’s the non-Mitt.  It’s bad news for Newt…..and bad news for Mitt.  By the way, CNN is projecting Mitt at about 38%  in Vermont, which means he did not clear the 50% barrier. That means both Rick and Ron Paul might get the minimum 3 delegates each.  Meanwhile, Mitt falls short in Tennessee.  This is not looking like a good night for Mitt, compared to what he might have hoped for at the outset.  He’s still going to win the most delegates, however… .

Same story in Ohio – Mitt’s support maps onto income.  He wins older and better educated voters. Still no sign he’s expanding his coalition.

So, stepping back and looking at the big picture – so far, this is a reaffirmation of the status quo.  Not a great night for Mitt – still no evidence he can expand his support.  Rick and Newt continue to split the tea party evangelical vote.  It will be interesting to see if Gingrich clears 20% statewide threshold in Tennessee – he needs that to win delegates there.  Right now, however, I don’t see this as a great night for Newt.  He wins Georgia, and he’ll pick up delegates in Oklahoma and Tennessee, I think, but he’s not making the case for why he should be the non-Mitt.  The media will fixate on state victories, and Santorum looks like he’ll take at least two (Tennessee and Oklahoma).

So, big news tonight is Sarah Palin doesn’t deny that she would accept draft at a brokered convention!  Go Operation Brokered Convention!

Huge debate on CNN about Sarah Palin’s future.  Filling dead air….. .

Is it me, or has this been a very underwhelming SuperTuesday night?  No surprises at all so far.  But what’s worse – no sign that any of the candidates have changed the dynamics of this race. At all.

Well, so much for Harold Ford!  NBC is projecting that Santorum will win Tennessee.  My guess is he benefited from early banking of votes, but still a big victory for him – and bad news for Newt.  I wonder what this does for the Alabama and Mississippi contests next week?

Newt is coming on – just as he hears he has lost Tennessee.  The crowd looks very subdued.  It’s not by accident that they have begun using Callista more and more – obvious ploy to help with his “baggage”.   But this is not a good night for him.

So far, Newt doesn’t seem like a chicken who recognizes his head is gone.  But I guess that’s the point.

This is sounding more like mean Newt than happy Newt.  He has to be careful  that he doesn’t sound too bitter.

Newt doesn’t sound like he’s dropping out.  New image for cartoonists – Newt is a tortoise.  A very heavy tortoise.

In Newt’s defense, he may still come out ahead of Rick in delegates.   I think I may have said that if Newt gets 50%, he wins all of Georgia’s statewide delegates.  Actually, I don’t think that’s true – that only holds for the congressional districts; he gets all 3 delegates in each c.d. if he breaks 50%.  But he doesn’t get all statewide delegates – Mitt will get a few of them by virtue of clearing 20%.

Newt is suddenly on a roll.  It’s worth watching.  He’s gotten beyond bitter Newt to big ideas Newt.  Frankly, big ideas Newt is a bit more appealing.

Santorum takes Oklahoma – big night for Rick, and more bad news for Newt, although he’s in a battle for second place there.  But in more bad news for Newt – he may not make 20% in Tennessee either, which means he get none of the 21 at large delegates there.

Perhaps the least publicized story of the night?  Ron Paul got 41% of the vote in Virginia!  How much of that was the protest vote from Santorum and Gingrich backers?

Don’t look now, but Santorum is hanging in at 20% in Georgia – if he can clear that, he gets some of the statewide votes.

I’m wondering if the exit polls understated Rick’s vote in GA – if so, did they also understate it in Ohio?   The media will go berserk if Rick wins Ohio, along with Tennessee and Oklahoma….looks like he’s ready to speak!

Rick is holding his “victory party” in Ohio, and not wearing a vest.  Great touch to mention he’s in a high school – contrast with Mitt’s country club roots.

BTW, in response to Chris re: Virginia question:  if Mitt wins 50% plus statewide, he gets all 13 statewide delegates.  Remaining 33 delegates are apportioned three a piece to each congressional district winner.   So Mitt may win all 46 delegates there – or at least close to that.   Let’s not forget that before we say Mitt has had a bad night.

But – Mitt has had a bad night!

Don’t look now, but Rick’s 90 year old mother is ready to keel over.

Mitt is on.  This is early – not a good sign. It means he wants to get on the stage before Ohio is declared against him (if it is)..although they are saying Mitt planned it this way all along. And maybe he did.

Meanwhile, I thought that was a very good speech by Santorum – one that contrasted nicely in a positive way with Newt’s.

BTW, looks like Newt will clear 20% in Tennessee, but it’s very dicey for Santorum to do the same in Georgia….

Parsing the exit polls – the only income group Mitt wins in Tennessee is the greater than $200k income level – as in Georgia and Ohio, his support declines as you go down the income ladder.  Santorum’s increase as you go down the income scale.

Chris points out that Rick is up 12% in North Dakota, with 60% of the precincts counted.   Bad news for Ron Paul, who has to spend his night there. Once again he’s the bridesmaid.  More importantly, it adds to Rick’s luster tonight…

Romney just doesn’t seem to have Rick’s enthusiasm in his speech tonight.  I think he’s knows this is a bad night for him…..

Great comment from Jeff – even Mitt’s audience seems mechanized tonight. They do everything they are supposed to, but it seems rehearsed, not genuine…

meanwhile, Mitt is closing in Ohio as votes come in from lake areas….

Looks like a reprise of Michigan – much as I thought.  Not going to be much difference in the delegate count between Mitt and Rick, but the media narrative will be affected if Mitt loses Ohio.  But I want to go on record as saying this is a big night for Rick no matter what happens in Ohio.

As Chris pointed out, Rick is ahead in North Dakota, and now CNN is giving him the state.  In CNN’s world, that means equivalency with Mitt.  Both have won three states….. .  Remember, however, North Dakota’s actual 28 convention delegates aren’t chosen until late March.  It is supposed to reflect today’s vote, but it doesn’t have to.

So, where does the hard delegate count stand?  This is back of the envelope calculations and much depends on whether Rick meets the 20% threshold in Georgia, and the same for Newt in Tennessee.   But I think Newt and Rick are going to be pretty close in overall delegates.  I’ll know better tomorrow.  But it will be interesting to combine their total and see how well it matches up to Mitt’s.  Harry Enten has Newt taking 29 congressional districts delegates in Georgia and Santorum only 3 – if that.

Meanwhile, Chris wonders about Saturday’s territorial votes in Guam and the Virgin Islands.  I have no idea how they will go – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ron Paul fly out to claim at least one victory.

John King just repeated the idea that no Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio – which is completely irrelevant to tonight’s results.   Somebody smack the entire CNN news crew!

Keep in mind that because he didn’t file a full delegate slate in Ohio, Santorum’s going to lose the delegate race to Romney in Ohio by a bit.  Not that the media will notice that.

Look, Ohio is going to be a dead heat tonight.  I think whoever loses will probably push for a recount.  But the larger story is that this has not been a good night for Mitt, and it has been a very good night for Rick.  But I’ll know better by the light of day what the delegate count is…

What I want to know now – will Santorum move ahead of Newt in Mississippi and Alabama?

Meanwhile, Wolf is about to have a coronary!  Ohio is tightening!

Meanwhile, CNN is projecting that Gingrich gets 6 delegates in Tennessee, compared to 10 for Mitt and 24 for Rick.  In Georgia, they’ve given Newt 33 delegates – none as yet to Mitt or Rick.

Looks like Mitt will pull Ohio out, but it hardly matters except in symbolic terms.  The fact is, this has been a weak night for him. Keep in mind, if you add Gingrich and Santorum vote together in Ohio, they dwarf Mitt’s.

Let’s not forget Idaho – if Romney wins there, doesn’t he win the night using CNN’s ridiculous “state wins” criteria?

Folks, I think we have the gist of what happened tonight – Mitt will get the bulk of the delegates but he probably underperformed, Rick had a very good night, Newt not so good – and the race will continue…

I have an early teaching day tomorrow, so I’m signing off.  If I can (and tomorrow is busy teaching day), I’ll try to do an initial post-mortem.

thanks all for participating!




  1. IS there a good website that helps keep track of delegates won tonight? Or if not won at least “predicted?”

  2. But given that there are 18 congressional districts in Ohio, the five “regions” in the exit poll won’t be all that helpful in getting a head start on the delegate math!

  3. R – I think Tennessee is the biggest state tonight. What are you hearing down there?

  4. Here in Knoxville, we were rewarded with visits from all but Paul…unusual. That’s all the local knowledge, but did I see the TN exit polls with 71% evangelical(!) Harold Ford just held forth on MSNBC, predicting Romney to win TN(?) If so, Knoxville played a role.

  5. @Conor – I think the Santorum camp has already signaled that they’ve given up on Ohio – not that it matters much except to media perceptions. The delegates will be split close to evenly…

  6. Professor,

    You’ve mentioned several times in your posts that for either Gingrich or Santorum to have a chance at uniting the conservatives they need to strike a deal with one another. Can you expand on that? Do you see it as being a Pres-Vice Pres type deal? Or something more complex? Is this an agreement that must be reached before the convention?

  7. Also, CNN just updated the exit polls for Ohio, and it now shows considerably smaller margins for Romney–certainly within the margin of error.

  8. Owen – They need to unite behind one or the other – if both stay in, both lose. I don’t know how that happens – a joint ticket? Whatever, they aren’t going to win if both stay in. We are seeing that tonight – they are splitting the vote in Tennessee and Oklahoma – when one of them dominates, as Newt did in Georgia, that person beats Romney. right now I think Rick has the better claim…

  9. So, its looking like the delegates are going to be split – pretty split actually. So, how much more of this until its impossible to clinch? Also, if someone drops out – say Santorum – what happens to his “delegates” that have already been strawed polled out in places like Iowa, Missouri?

  10. Will this be Newt’s last night if he only manages to grab Georgia? The South is supposedly his home turf and yet Rick is taking it to him so far…

  11. Harold Ford predicted Romney in Tennessee? I don’t see that from the exit polls. Unless he knows something that I don’t, he’s speaking from the heart, not the mind.

  12. Perhaps so, but they (MSNBC) have echoed it (Ford predicting Romney) since, Steve Schmidt just re-stated that prediction.

  13. Chris – It’s hard to calculate where the delegate race stands, because the caucus results really aren’t “hard” counts as yet. By the time those caucus states actually choose delegates, some of the current candidates may no longer be in the race. There’s no doubt that Romney has the lead, and will expand that tonight. I can’t say whether he can clinch the delegate race if Paul, Santorum and Newt all say in. I think it will be a close call regarding whether Mitt could clinch.

  14. Tom – It’s not a good night for Newt as yet. Rick is cleaning his clock in the border states.

  15. Santorum beat all comers in TN (so much for Harold)…BTW L. O’Donnell just mentioned the Ford prediction after calling it for Rick!

  16. Wow, so Tennessee is the first Rick real win, right? HUGE night for him!! So, Gingrich clearly isn’t stepping down tonight – but does he see the writing on the wall – is he the chicken now?

  17. Chris – That’s my read. Newt is gobbling. I suppose if he beats Rick head to head in Mississippi and Alabama that may change things. But it doesn’t look good right now. Keep in mind, however, that I thought Rick was gobbling earlier this year – and I was wrong. So I’m not one to talk about predictions!

  18. And there it is… laying the stage for whats to come. He did however limit his locations to the coming week! He’s not backing down yet!

  19. Newt is really enjoying hearing himself get going here, no? This speech could go on for a while!

  20. WOW!! HUGE NIGHT for RICK!! Ohio is also much closer currently…could be Newt’s “roll” may be his swan song!

  21. I’m sorry, drill baby drill so we have $2.50 gas is NOT a big idea…it is whack.

  22. Looking at the map in Ohio it really looks like Mitt’s strength in Ohio hasn’t really reported strong yet. Its most likely that he’ll start to put some distance between him and Rick as those suburbs and cities start to roll in….. anyone else have a read on Ohio?

  23. Too early to call this the biggest night of the campaign for Santorum? I’d put this above either Iowa or the Missouri/Minnesota/Colorado trifecta, especially if Ohio continues his direction.

  24. R- Hard to tell – exit polls had Santorum falling short, but the actual vote total has him above 20% right now in Georgia. I don’t know the region well enough to tell where the votes are coming from. But I’m beginning to think exit polls have understated Rick’s actual vote totals….which may prove crucial in Ohio….

  25. Owen – I’m not one to overreact to one night. And I’m the first to say that Mitt has never been a strong candidate. But, yes, this is the biggest night of the campaign for Santorum. And potentially the worst for Mitt. Rick is winning actual votes this time, unlike in Minnesota and Colorado….

  26. They just cropped Grandmom out of the picture…yikes. Rick’s speech has an authenticity that Newt’s didn’t and Mitt’s won’t. I’m beginning to think he might be a creditable gen elec candidate.

  27. R – You are exactly right. Rick is doing everything Newt did not. He’s authentic, that’s for sure…

  28. @rstrange – he may be a potential candidate for the general election. But he doesn’t draw the moderates that he needs to – at least I don’t believe he does. He’ll motivate the base for sure – but can he tip places like Ohio? I just don’t know.

  29. Rick also up big in ND. This could just be his night!! Also, not that they are big delegates, but is there a sense of who the US territories support?

  30. Chris, true enough, but I watched the Obama news conference in its entirety today and when Nora O’Donnell asked him about the primaries tonight he said he wished Mitt well, everyone laughed, but was it a joke?

  31. There’s this odd forced enthusiasm in the crowd for Mitt’s speech, too–matching the candidate’s problem with appearing authentic. The cheers are out of whack–almost like a back laugh track on an old sitcom.

  32. Jeff – precisely right! A metaphor for Mitt’s campaign: everything works, but it never sounds genuine.

  33. So, Saturday is the next time folks head to the proverbial polls – what are the thoughts on what is going to happen then?

  34. As recently as this afternoon you could buy a $10 bet for Santorum for $2 (5:1). I tried to buy a piece of this action, but basically it is illegal and you have to send a check to Ireland. Now the bet is $7 to get you $10. So much for retirement…

  35. R – Next time you hear me bragging about how I kept telling everyone how weak Mitt was – remind everyone that I also said Santorum was a headless chicken!

  36. @Chris – Regarding this weekend: I have no clue how Guam or the Virgin Islands will vote – but it would be cool if Ron Paul flew out there to claim victory.

  37. With Rick dropping below 20% in Georgia, with Mitt pulling out Ohio and clearly having the majority of delegates there as well as Mitt likely winning Idaho I don’t see tonight as bad for him as once thought. Winning Ohio is a big deal to the media – which makes it important to Joe Plumber. Romney cleared the biggest amount of delegates by far tonight.

    As the media turns more and more to the delegate count its hard to argue with the guy who has the most and continues to win more than anyone else.

    If we are talking about about getting the candidacy than Romney is doing what he needs to. As far as the general election strength thats another story….

  38. Chris – I think that’s right. When the dust clears, this is another notch in the delegate belt for Mitt. He will have won more delegates than Rick. On the other hand, he still hasn’t shown any ability to win those Tea party conservatives. But maybe that won’t matter in the general election if they decide he’s the lesser of two evils….

  39. Please add me on the automatic notification list! 🙂

    Super Tuesdays on Intrade are getting more and more popular everyday!

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