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Thursday, March 1, 2012

More on Arizona and Michigan

Analysis reveals some additional details about the Arizona and Michigan primaries.

The Pew Forum finds:
Mitt Romney won the Arizona Republican primary by a large margin and secured a narrow victory in the Michigan Republican primary. In both states, Romney’s support among born-again/evangelical voters was weaker than among non-evangelicals, continuing the pattern from previous primaries and caucuses in other states.Rick Santorum, who finished second in both Arizona and Michigan, received his strongest support from evangelicals and from voters who said it matters a “great deal” to them that a candidate shares their religious beliefs, according to results from the National Election Pool exit polls.
At The Weekly Standard, Jay Cost finds:
Romney’s voting coalition in 2012 is slightly more upscale in terms of socioeconomic status – more educated and wealthier – than it was in 2008. In both states, we see that Romney did better with all socioeconomic groups in 2012 than he did four years prior, but his level of improvement last night was greater among the upscale....

This is one of the most fascinating shifts in the Romney coalition over the last two presidential elections. Relative to 2008, Romney is doing significantly worse among the “very conservative” this time around, but this has been more than balanced out by gains among liberals, moderates, and especially the “somewhat conservative.” Put another way, even though Romney is still pretty well to the right of John McCain was in 2008 – at least in terms of their voting coalitions – he has moved noticeably toward the center this time around.

These results strongly suggest that Romney has successfully positioned himself almost exactly in the middle of the Republican electorate.

This points to the two major points to draw from yesterday evening. First, Mitt Romney has essentially failed to win a majority, or even an overwhelming plurality of Republican voters to date. His average vote haul in the prior states was roughly in line with what we saw last night in Arizona and Michigan – carrying somewhere around 40 percent of the vote. Second, no candidate has yet found a way to topple him, because the non-Romney voters are divided on opposite sides of him. Thus, while Romney is not going to surge to the nomination as the majority choice of the party, it is very difficult to see how any of the declared candidates topples him.