Some pundits, it seems, want to explain away a potential Romney because tonight in Nevada because, well, as Rachel Rose Hartman puts it on Yahoo!’s The Ticket, “Polls continue to show Romney leading Nevada by a wide margin, in part attributable to the heavy Mormon influence in the state.” Now, to be sure, Nevada, percentage-wise, has the fourth largest concentration of Mormons (after Utah, Idaho and Wyoming) of any U.S. state, but members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints make up only 6.47% of the state’s population.
Now, let’s figure Nevada Mormons vote overwhelmingly Republican (though not exclusively, given that the state’s senior Senator is a member of the Church); they may make up 10-15% of all caucus goers The folks at Public Policy Polling project LDS members to “account for 20% of the vote“, but show Romney wining only 78% of their votes. Does that mean the former Bay State governor has to win by a margin of greater than 16% (roughly 78% of 20) for his victory to mean anything?
The latest (PPP) poll shows him up by 25.
Ed Morrissey thinks the “only suspense will come from seeing whether Mitt Romney can win a majority“. Should he do so, his nomination will be all but inevitable. Not only will it mark the first time that he has won back-to-back victories, but will show him taking an increasingly large share of the vote (in three successive contests).
The real question will be how Newt Gingrich runs against Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Should his margin over the former Pennsylvania Senator be substantial, he may be able to make the case that he is the only real alternative to Romney. But, should Romney beat Newt by a 2-to-1 margin (or greater), Republicans will start wondering if it’s time for him to hang up his spurs.
Methinks Romney will win this thing — and win it big — but may not break the 50% mark.