Patterico's Pontifications


Super Tuesday preview: The 20 percent solution

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 6:42 am

[Posted by Karl]

Yesterday, Mitt Romney hosted a pancake breakfast in Georgia (a state Newt Gingrich is comfortably ahead in the polls), while Rick Santorum spoke at the capitol in Oklahoma (a state where Santorum is comfortably ahead in the polls).  If you ever wondered what drives these sorts of scheduling decisions, as Cox Radio’s Jamie Dupree reminded his Twitter followers, it has a fair amount to do with what I will very loosely call The 20% Solution.

The RNC, in its infinite wisdom, decided to change the delegate selection rules for this cycle, in hopes of prolonging the nominating campaign and thereby generating interest and grassroots base-building a la the Obama-Clinton tussle in 2008.  (They accomplished one of those, anyway.)  The 2012 rules thus dictated that Super Tuesday states have proportional allocation of delegates.  However, these states generally took advantage of the fact that the rules did not require strict proportional allocation.

Thus, in Georgia, the allocation of 42 district delegates depends very much on whether a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, but if no candidate receives a majority in a district, three delegates are split 2-1 between the top two finishers.  Another 31 at-large delegates are awarded to candidates receiving over 20% of the vote.  Looking at the Georgia polling, it becomes easy to see Romney invested in Georgia in hopes of keeping Newt below 50% where he can, and perhaps in hopes of keeping Rick below 20% overall.

In Oklahoma, the allocation 15 district and 25 at-large delegates depend on whether a candidate gets 50% or how many candidates get more than 15%.  Looking at Oklahoma polling, Santorum may be hoping to keep Romney below the 15% threshold.  This makes Tom Coburn’s late endorsement of Romney a potentially key get for Mitt.  Santorum also may have hoped to keep Romney below a key 20% threshold in Tennessee, but polling suggests a late Romney surge there.

In the key state of Ohio, 48 district delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all system per district, while 15 at-large delegates will likely be allocated based on a 20% threshold.  Ohio polling suggests Newt will win few delegates in this system, which makes Santorum’s failure to meet the state’s eligibility requirements in three districts and to file a full slate in six others particularly damaging to Rick.

Lastly, as you may recall, Rick and Newt failed to qualify for the ballot in Virginia, and the polling suggests Romney will win all 49 delegates.  The remaining big prize is Massachusetts (41 delegates), which may be almost as lopsided.

In short, the rules matter and elections favor those with the money and organization to work them (despite complaints from Romney and his supporters about them).  They also explain why Mitt Romney spent Sunday morning serving pancakes in Snellville.


36 Responses to “Super Tuesday preview: The 20 percent solution”

  1. Ding!

    Karl (6f7ecd)

  2. I don’t understand what pancakes have to do with contraception though.

    There’s just too much at stake for us to lose our laser-like focus on this critical issue.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  3. You saw Newt toss off the nonsense this weekend with Mr. Gregory, and redirect and put the other side on the defensive.

    IMO it was also, while addressing the “elite media” and the list of horribles O has wrought and the state of the nation, gave a nice backhand to the party and everyone ABO who’s been sucked up by nonsense, without having to directly criticize.

    Newt has more and better focus than he gets credit for.

    While I was annoyed he called contraceptives “abortion pills” (I think he knows better, too) I thought it was quite an amazing example of making the other side explain and defend, while scoring rhetorical points about the horrific breach of religious liberty.

    In my own view the breach would apply to matters unrelated to conscience – I would be just as affronted if Obama ordered a school to pay for maternity care without copay, or appendectomies. But that’s a much drier argument. Newt went for the gut – a first amendment violation, intrusion on conscience and religious liberty.

    I don’t think Mitt could have done as well.

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  4. first “it was” = “he.”

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  5. Well, TN will have a say tomorrow (currently residing in Clarksville)…

    So what are the choices?

    The policy enacted originator of Obamacare (among other sins), a two time so-so big labor pandering big government senator, and a rep from TX with nothing at all to his specific credit.

    Please vote for Speaker Gingrich. Look at his record and those who are his enemies (from both established parties).

    It is hard to argue against that this is the most important election since 1860. If you don’t believe it, pretend until it sinks in.

    Pieter Nosworthy (6dbcc2)

  6. And I guess “Obama ordering the school to pay” should rather be “Obama ordering a school to choose a group plan”, since the students pay for it and not the school.

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  7. Usually I would rather drive hot needles into me, rather than watch Gregory, but Newt bested him well,
    it must have been opposite day, because I did feel
    that way about Wallace’s interrogation of Santorum.

    narciso (87e966)

  8. Who has difficulty acknowledging the least of evils? Speaker Gingrich has failed God in his moral commitment and hypocrisy to the conservative ideal…

    He did not ally with infanticide and the liberal political machine like a recent MA governor. He did not base his personal success on the backs of the taxpayer (both Romney and Santorum) He did not sell his political soul to antisemitism.

    Jesus was a devout Jew; Newt is the singularly consistent Conservative hope.

    Find fault where honestly applicable, condemn with certainty those that are beyond the political pale.

    Vote Gingrich!

    Pieter Nosworthy (6dbcc2)

  9. He did not base his personal success on the backs of the taxpayer (both Romney and Santorum)

    we are talking about the same Gingrich who went to Florida and assured them we’d borrow kabillions of dollars from our brave and wise Chinese benefactors for to build a moon base yes?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  10. happy,

    Pick a concern with weight…do you believe Romney & Santorum are the viable option to the current SCFOAMF? What are the accomplishments of the the mentioned two, how are they different from the current president? Gingrich is damaged goods but he made a difference where it mattered to conservatives, acknowledged his sins and failures, and honestly has a vision to future success.

    You’re part of Obama’s hope and change if you honestly believe Romney & Santorum are the answer. These clowns are the same problem but RINOs. Gingrich is hated by the establishment, ask yourself why. This is the crux for his consideration.

    Pieter Nosworthy (6dbcc2)

  11. I think Romney is viable, just.

    Santorum is too weird to be elected, and he’s a bigot to boot.

    But there’s no ideological prize to be won by nominating ANY of these whores.

    The best we can do is to nominate the guy who can beat Obama.

    That’s not Newt Gingrich.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  12. can *possibly* maybe beat Obama I mean

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  13. happy,

    I mean no insult when I suggest that those that droolingly proffer the god father of obamacare as our party nominee to be bald-face hypocrites, retarded and non-conservative in any measure.

    Again, I mean absolutely no insult to those that are apparently without any capacity for reason or intellectual capacity to see obvious falsehood or stupidity.

    Romney. Really?

    Pieter Nosworthy (6dbcc2)

  14. Why is it, the only one they say can beat Obama, is the one who stands for little, who more often ratifies their memes than not, wasn’t this the McCain paradox.

    narciso (87e966)

  15. of the four candidates left, Romney is the only one what entered this race with the idea of winning the nomination in mind

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  16. I see he’s aiming for the general electorate, but he’s giving precious little attention to those who understand the totality of the issues, it is the Meg Whitman strategy.

    narciso (87e966)

  17. As many of you know I have always advocated for a presidential nominee with executive experience. That said, we can’t just wave a wand and install Romney in the White House – he has to win it. That’s why I’m calling on all feline lovers to get to the polls tomorrow and vote Romney. Me, I’m stuck at the scratching pole. The double catnip for me is that in Mittens we get not only a great candidate with charisma, but also a fantastic President in January!

    Suffering Succotash


    acat (21fed7)

  18. The Obama administration handed us an election on a silver platter, and we smiled politely, held up our hands, and said, “No thanks. You can hang on to that.”

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    Ghost (c104c9)

  19. I didn’t get this information (about the threshholds) in the New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal.

    Where’d you find it?

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  20. Comment by happyfeet — 3/5/2012 @ 8:35

    The best we can do is to nominate the guy who can beat Obama.

    That’s not Newt Gingrich.

    And if not Romney (who’s afraid to appear on television interview shows) and not Santorum?

    Maybe next time you wouldn’t even have people of that quality running.

    Romney, it’s been said by someone on the Internet, is a self-appointed political moron.

    Jeb Bush, like I said.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  21. This Potemkin ‘Exercise of Democracy’ doesn’t really interest me anymore.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  22. They wanted to extend the process – so that people in other states would have a chance to vote – so they people wouldn’t feel stuck with the wrong candidate – but they only took care of half of the problem.

    What the process is missing is an easy path for soemone else to join in, once people become familiar with all of the candidates.

    There is almost no uncommitted voting mpossible in primaries. And by uncomoitted you really want a particular point of view, and hope the people elected will not betray their voters.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  23. In Virginia, anyone who gets more than 50% of the vote gets all of the delegates, and write-ins
    don’t count and aren’t even acknowledged as spoiled, so Romney is sure to get them for free.

    There seems to be no news of any kind of effort to create a competing delegation and credentials challenge.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  24. From ABC’s The Note:

    Two data points from a NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll out this morning that sting:

    -Just 28 percent of adults view Romney favorably compared to 39 percent who view him unfavorably.

    -In fact, as the poll points out, “Romney’s image right now is worse than almost all other recent candidates who went on to win their party’s presidential nomination.”

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  25. 14. Comment by happyfeet — 3/5/2012 @ 9:03 am

    of the four candidates left, Romney is the only one what entered this race with the idea of winning the nomination in mind

    I don’t think that’s true at all for Newt Gingrich, although cynics said that about him (and Herman cain too) that he wanted to get betetr book deals, speaker’s fees etc.

    It is probably true for Santorum – or at least he understood he was the longest of long shots:

    Jan. 19, 2012 South Carolina CNN Republican debate:

    …If there’s one thing, just one thing in this campaign you could do over, what would it be?

    ~~~~~~~~~~ cut ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    MR. SANTORUM: I actually thought about that, and you know what, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s — for — for me to be standing here in the final four is about as amazing a thing that I could have ever conceived of happening…

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  26. Well fark me, Newt went off on a tangent again, just when I thought he was stepping out of the weeds. “Romney’s rich enough to not worry about gas prices.” Great Newt. Just Great.

    As hubs reminds me, N. just can’t help himself. He just can’t stop it. I thought he was over that crap but I guess not.

    He hasn’t figured out he, in particular, has to shine and stand out as the best guy, without reference to Mitt or Santorum.

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  27. Newt was done a while back, he just hasn’t realized it yet.

    JD (ddebbb)

  28. Not done, til it’s done. Anything could happen.
    Apophis promises one heck of an inaugeral ball.

    Sarahw is now a SMODerate (b0e533)

  29. Well it does seem an almost proforma action, on his part, Sarah, as Mitt dismissed the impact of down stream expansion of drilling,

    narciso (87e966)

  30. But Newt went with the class war attack again.

    It’s not that Mittsnark isn’t deserved by Mitt, That approach is just not going to play with primary voters and the people who write about them.

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  31. Mitt dismissed the impact of downstream expansion of drilling?

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  32. “Romney’s rich enough to not worry about gas prices.” Great Newt. Just Great.

    As hubs reminds me, N. just can’t help himself. He just can’t stop it. I thought he was over that crap but I guess not.

    He hasn’t figured out he, in particular, has to shine and stand out as the best guy, without reference to Mitt or Santorum.

    Comment by Sarahw

    Yeah, I can just picture Newt standing at the self-serve pump, filling his 1997 Mercury Villager and heading into the mini-mart for a box of Twinkies and a 12-pack of Bud-Lite.

    Colonel Haiku (fddb79)

  33. I think Newt has to know on some level that it’s highly unlikely his wife will ever be first lady.

    Her being such a creepy chubby chasing skeezer and all.

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  34. Newt will get my vote on tues. abo will get my vote in Nov.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  35. 3. Comment by Sarahw — 3/5/2012 @ 6:56 am

    You saw Newt toss off the nonsense this weekend with Mr. Gregory, and redirect and put the other side on the defensive.

    At first it looked like he was avoiding the actual question, but he came back to it.

    He even had David Gregory correcting a later guest: (and himself too earlier, but the transcript maybe skips over this)

    MR. GREGORY: But to raise Speaker Gingrich’s point, who is saying that access to contraception will be cut off in any fashion?

    REP. SCHULTZ: Well, because…

    MR. GREGORY: Even the president’s rule on the compromise allows–it’s just that the insurers would have to pay for it directly, but there would still be all the access that you fought for.

    REP. SCHULTZ: Because the president’s policy has made sure that contraception, which is expensive…

    Sammy Finkelman (728434)

  36. Yesterday, Tuesday, the New York Times *did* have details about the delegate selection rules, for all the states that voted on Super Tuesday. When you do find these things out, its often on the day or the day after he election.

    This basically repeats a 538 post, which gives you a state by state breakdown of how the delegates are selected in the Super Tuesday states (plus makes delegate and voting projections) :

    Virginia actually apportioned both by district and for the entire state. The ones per Congressional district (11×3 = 33) were officially winner take all in each district – thirteen selected statewide were not winner take all unless somebody got over 50% – but with only two candidates on the ballot, it was impossible for somebody not to get over 50%.

    Each state’s system is explained here.

    Sammy Finkelman (a1f34f)

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