. . . appears to have picked up considerably since his wins in Michigan and Arizona. Though, there’s some consternation on the right over the way the Michigan delegates have been apportioned. It seems Team Mitt finagled the rules in such a way that wound up awarding him an at-large delegate that should have been given to Rick Santorum. And, of course, Rick Santorum and his supporters are none too happy about it.
A former Michigan state AG WHO SUPPORTS ROMNEY, Mike Cox, also blasts the stealing of the delegate…. Gen’l COunsel of Mich GOP who actually writes the rules also opposed the theft…..
If Romney team has ANY integrity, AND any PR sense, they will ask the Mich Party to recant and go back to the former understanding. A single delegate isn’t worth dirty pool like this, and isn’t worth the PR black eye that should attach to those who use such strong-arm, insider tactics…..
The problem with Quin’s analysis here is that, while Team Mitt may be utterly lacking in integrity, they have plenty of PR sense. They’re well aware of how it looks to Santorum’s and Newt’s supporters. It’s just that they don’t give a damn how they feel. What they care about is how undecided voters feel, and the simple (if sad) fact of the matter is that they know those undecideds don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to the process by which Michigan’s at-large delegates are apportioned.
In fact, it’s not at all hard to envision a scenario wherein Team Mitt, gathered in the proverbial smoke-filled room somewhere in Detroit, got their heads together around the question, “What would be the best way to bait Rick Santorum into whining about a process-related matter that causes normal people’s eyes to glaze over?” BINGO!
One of the biggest turn-offs among undecided primary voters — which correlate very tightly with very low-information voters whose eyes glaze over at process-related debates — is politicians carping and mewling over election outcomes. As they see it, the people voted, one guy won and the other guys lost: Get over it and move on.
“No, no, no,” Santorum and his supporters protest. “Nobody likes it when people cheat. Even the lowest-information voters hate it when people take unfair advantage of the process.”
Well, perhaps that’s the case. But, when you boil the Michigan results down to their bare essence, you see that Mitt Romney narrowly won the state and that the only reason Rick Santorum finished as close in the vote totals as he did was due to some mischief-making among Democrats cynically trying to influence the outcome. As “normal people” see it, if Mitt Romney won Michigan, then he ought to be awarded more delegates than Rick Santorum, even if it amounts to him being award one at-large delegate that otherwise would have been given to Santorum.
And by insisting that this back-room deal is a grave injustice that undermines the integrity of the electoral process, Rick Santorum plays directly into Team Mitt’s hands by cementing his image as a whiner — an image that dogged him in the early stages of the primary race and kept him in the low single digits until the conservative press rallied to drag him into the top tier just as the Iowa caucuses were getting underway.
And, of course, this is the worst possible time for Santorum to play to type. The numbers coming out of Ohio show that Mitt has largely erased the lead the Pennsylvania senator held just a week ago. According to Rasmussen:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Primary Voters in Ohio, taken last night, shows former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum attracting 33% of the vote and Mitt Romney earning 31%. That’s a significant tightening of the race.Two weeks ago, Santorum led Romney by 18 percentage points.
Romney’s gains in Ohio mirror his surge nationwide following victories Tuesday in the Arizona and Michigan primaries. The former Massachusetts governor now leads Santorumamong Likely GOP Primary voters nationwide by a 40% to 24% margin.
Regardless of who they support, 70% of GOP primary voters in Ohio now expect Romney will win the party’s nomination. Only 16% believe Santorum will emerge victorious.
Forty-five percent (45%) see Romney as the strongest general election candidate against President Obama. Twenty-five percent (25%) see Santorum as the strongest potential challenger, and 16% believe Gingrich will be the best.
Given a choice, 49% in Ohio say it’s more important to find a candidate who can beat Obama, while 42% prefer someone who does the best job representing Republican values. Santorum leads by 27 among those who are looking for someone to represent GOP values, while Romney leads by 19 among those who see electability as most important.
There really doesn’t seem to be much Rick Santorum can do to change things at this point. He may have no other choice than to raise hell and point fingers at Romney in an attempt to paint him as a big-money, Rockefeller Republican working in cahoots with the GOP Establishment to buy the nomination by rigging the outcome to the disadvantage his less-moneyed competitors. But that’s going to be a tough case to make after Santorum essentially begged left-wing Democrats to run to the polls for him, using robocalls featuring the kind of class warfare rhetoric you’d normally expect to hear from Michael Moore and his acolytes.
So, unless there’s something huge in the works to bring the Romney Machine to a grinding halt very soon, he’s looking pretty much unstoppable at this point. The train has left the station and Mitt Romney looks to be the locomotive. At this point, Santorum is probably better off thinking about what he can do to maximize his chances of being the caboose.