The Corner

‘Tuesday’s Primaries Changed Nothing’

Please read this excellent Sean Trende piece about how the split in the GOP race is pretty much baked in the cake now:


But as I noted Tuesday, this race is more about demographics than geography. The model I shared on Tuesday predicted that Romney would win 31 percent of the three-way vote in Mississippi, 32 percent in Alabama, and 50 percent in Hawaii. In fact, he won 32 percent of the three-way vote in Mississippi, 31 percent in Alabama, and 56 percent in Hawaii.

At the county level, the model predicted Romney’s vote share within 5 percent in 71 percent of the counties, and within 10 percent in 94 percent of the counties. This is actually a substantial improvement over the model’s previous performance at the county level, suggesting that the demographic factors driving the election are solidifying even further.

Just to re-emphasize this point: By looking at nothing more than the percentage of Mormons, evangelicals, African-Americans, Latinos, and college-educated voters in counties that voted from South Carolina through Super Tuesday, you could forecast Romney’s vote share within five points in 103 of the 146 counties in Alabama and Mississippi that have returned votes so far. You’d be within 10 points in all but nine. It’s not that great of an exaggeration to say that all the advertising, campaigning, gaffes, and everything else are superfluous to these underlying factors right now.

As I’ve said before, if this continues onward, Romney won’t get 1,144 delegates until June, if at all.

Also, there’s this fascinating detail:

I’ll leave with one parting thought that I’ve mentioned in passing before, but which is becoming increasingly salient. New York and California allocate 240 delegates at the congressional district level. There are 12 districts in New York with a PVI (Partisan Voting Index, which shows how a district votes compared to the rest of the country) of D+10 or greater. In California there are 29. Between the two states, 22 districts of these districts are D+20 or greater.

That means, roughly, that 123 Republican delegates will be selected in these two states from districts that gave Barack Obama in excess of 63 percent of the vote. Of these 123 delegates, 66 will have been selected from districts that gave Obama in excess of 73 percent of the vote.

Because there are so few Republicans in these districts, they’ll probably cast a fraction of the statewide vote in these primaries, even though they’ll allocate around half and a quarter of the delegates, respectively. In other words, it is very much possible for all of these districts to be off substantially from the statewide results.


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