It is the biggest day on the GOP presidential primary calendar. Republicans in ten states head to the polls today and 435 delegates are up for grabs. Mitt Romney has a very good chance to solidify his status as the presumptive nominee with a dominant showing.
Here is a look at the ten states that are on the line today, how the polls stand and what to expect in each contest:
This is the most important state on the docket tonight. It has the second most delegates on the line, after Virginia. Ohio is also probably the most important swing state in the November general election. For Rick Santorum to have any chance of slowing Mitt Romney’s momentum, the Buckeye State is a must-win.
The latest polls are mixed. Some indicate Santorum is narrowly ahead. Others favor Romney. Santorum held a significant lead just one week ago, so the momentum appears to be on Romney’s side. The RealClearPolitics average shows Romney up by 0.1%.
There are no statewide polls so it is difficult to project a winner. Alaska is a caucus state. Those have been the focus of the Ron Paul campaign. He is the only candidate who has personally campaigned in Alaska. Mitt Romney won the state four years ago with 35 percent of the vote. Mike Huckabee placed second at 22 percent and Paul garnered 17 percent of the vote. Paul’s numbers should improve this cycle, but will it be enough to win the state? We shall see.
The former House Speaker should easily win his home state. Most polls show him with a 20+ point advantage. However, a new Rasmussen poll shows Mitt Romney trailing by only 10 points. If that holds true or even gets closer, it is a boost for Romney because delegates are awarded on a proportional basis. Rick Santorum hoped to be competitive in the Peach State, but the RealClearPolitics average places Santorum at 18.2%. He needs to pick up more than 20 percent of the vote acquire any significant number of delegates.
Favorite: Romney, followed by Paul
TIR could not find any polling for the Idaho primary, but the state’s heavy Mormon population indicates Mitt Romney should win there. Romney also has the support of most of the high profile GOP officials in Idaho. This is another caucus state where Ron Paul hopes to do well. Paul won a statewide straw poll in January, but less than 400 people participated. All four candidates have campaigned in Idaho, with Paul investing the most time, effort and money.
Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts and it has been his primary residence since the early ‘70s. Anything less than a landslide victory for Romney would be shocking.
Like Alaska and Idaho, we could not find any presidential polls for this state. North Dakota holds caucuses and the delegates are non-binding. That means it’s a state where Ron Paul is investing heavily. He will speak at the Fargo mega-caucus site before they vote this evening. Mitt Romney won North Dakota four years ago. He and Rick Santorum have also campaigned there. When Santorum won Minnesota a month ago, he did very well in all the Minnesota counties that border North Dakota. This could be a tight three-way race.
Oklahoma is a heavy evangelical state, making it favorable to Rick Santorum. A recent ARG poll shows Santorum in the lead with 37 percent, followed by Romney at 26, Gingrich at 22 and Ron Paul at 9 percent. The delegates are allocated on a proportional basis, but if someone secures the majority of the vote, it becomes winner-take-all. Santorum needs a strong showing in Oklahoma.
Favorite: Santorum, barely
The RealClearPolitics average shows Santorum up 2.6 points. It is another state where he led by double-digits last week. Romney is gaining ground and some polls also show a late surge for Newt Gingrich. This is a southern state that borders his home of Georgia, so Gingrich really needs to do well there to maintain any viability.
It’s a northeast state that borders Massachusetts. Mitt Romney should win easily.
Favorite: Romney, in a landslide
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum failed to qualify for the ballot in Virginia. That leaves the state to just Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. The latest poll shows Romney with a 43 point lead.
Total States: 10
Total Delegates: 435
Current Delegate Totals (projected)
Romney – 203
Santorum – 92
Gingrich – 33
Paul - 25
Total Delegates Needed for Nomination: 1,144
TIR Live Chat tonight at 6 pm
Join TheIowaRepublican.com tonight at 6pm for a live chat as we will constantly update the poll results, breakdown what they mean, and invite you into the conversation. It will be a very interesting night.
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