Since this is my last post of the calendar year, I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas to Gingrichites, Romneyites, Paulites, Perryites, Bachmannites, Santorumites, Huntsmanites, Johnsonites, Otherites and Undecidedites. In order to have a brokerage convention under the current rules and landscape, the top two candidates need to be close to each other in national support and there has to be at least one other strong minor candidate. While things can and will change, the current landscape is shaping up to lead to a potential brokerage convention.
According CBS and CNN, Mr. Gingrich certainly slipped further over the past few days or so. PPP and Harris do not show a big slip, but over all, he has lost almost 5 per cent to sit at 31.2 %. ABC and Mason-Dixon would suggest that Mr. Romney is the main beneficiary, but Harris and You Gov suggest that Mr. Romney is himself slipping. All in all, Mr. Romney is stable at just under 26 %. With the exception of Mason-Dixon, most polling companies show that Dr. Paul might be the flavor of the week as he gains over 3 points to sit at 13.6%. Mr. Perry gains a full point to get back into fourth place with 7.6%. Mrs. Bachman slips slightly to also sit 7.6%. Mr. Santorum gains a half point to sit at 4.6%.
With the exception of Ohio moving their primary back up to March 6th, there have not been too many delegate rule changes in the past week or two. Because of loss of national support, especially in the Midwest, but also northeast and West, Mr. Gingrich lost over 100 delegates and now sits at 1062. In other words, he has half of elected delegates. Apart from perhaps the South, Mr. Romney did not gain much in any region of the country, but by closing the gap with Mr. Gingrich, he jumps up to 693 delegates. Dr. Paul’s gains were nationwide as he climbs up to 180 delegates. Mr. Perry is still under 100 at 90. Mrs. Bachmann is down to 55 and Mr. Santorum inches up a little further to 34.
With about 7 candidates in the race and under the delegate rule, it appears that a candidate needs to crack the 30% omark to avoid a brokerage convention. However, since we do not have a national primary, there are many factors at play. While the early states do not determine the winner outright, they influence the vote. Right now, Mr. Romney maintains a healthy lead in NH and while he is slipping a bit, Mr. Gingrich still leads South Carolina. As for Iowa, I actually have Dr. Paul winning, but there are only a few points that separate the three major candidates. I also have Mr. Perry in double digits in Iowa and the other two creeping up. Even a slight change in how Iowans feel about the various candidates could take things in a different direction. I disagree with Mr. D. Morris’ suggestion that it would actually be good for Mr. Romney if he loses Iowa. Mr. Romney not need to win Iowa (although a meltdown for him would not be good) he just needs to do well to stay in the game if not the driver seat. As for Dr. Paul, a win for him would still likely mean that he won’t be the nominee anyway. However, I win for him would give him positive attention that the other two would not have and it would indirectly increase the chance of a brokerage convention.
While it is possible that Mr. Perry, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Santorum all go beyond Iowa, it is very unlikely that they can go the distance. As they all exit the race, unless somebody else has a meltdown, I expect both Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich to crack the 30% mark and momentum will eventually likely give one of them the victory and odds are that momentum will also avoid a brokerage convention. I do expect an interesting contest and I expect that the race will probably go beyond Super Duper Tuesday in at least some capacity. I will not predict a brokerage convention at this point and I tentatively predict that Mr. Romney will eventually win the contest, but I will not predict exactly how it will happen. Mr. Romney still trails in national polling and he only leads in less than 30% of the states. However, his ground game in early states should help him eventually gain the upper hand. Further, it appears that Mr. Romney might has learned from earlier gaffs and he seems to be pulling up his socks.
As an aside, last Sunday during the sign of peace at Church, the man standing beside by son shook his hand and said “peace be with you Mr. Romney.” My son and I almost burst out laughing. “Are you for him now?” I said with surprise. He replied “no, but the party will force him on us.” Interesting, but in the end fortunately, the people still have a say one way or the other. To be sure various camps are campaigning. As I got home from work yesterday ready to eat dinner, my wife picked up the phone and then said to me “do you want to speak to the Gingrich campaign?” “Ah, no” I replied. She said “usually, the Romney people have been calling lately." I received an e-mail from one of Mr. Romney's son yesterday and I even got a Merry Christmas e-mail today from a candidate that is not running; Mrs. Palin. So things are heating up to be sure and it will be interesting to see how things unfold.