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On to Alabama & Mississippi

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:00 pm - March 12, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Earlier today, I had planned a post, forecasting a split decision tomorrow in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, with Newt Gingrich winning the former and Rick Santorum the latter.  I based this forecast on my reading of recent polls and the candidates’ performances in the recent contests in Southern (and Southern-adjacent) states.

In his native Georgia, Newt did well in rural areas, but Mitt Romney won metro Atlanta as he won the Nashville area in Tennessee and Oklahoma City in the Sooner State.  Santorum beat the polling spread in Tennessee (by a considerable margin), yet didn’t match it Oklahoma.  The RealClearPolitics average has Romney up narrowly over Gingrich (by 0.2) and more comfortably over Santorum in Alabama and would have him up in Missisippi had they done the average of the most recent polls–but they include only two such surveys.

The mostly dispassionate analyst Nate Silver acknowledge “that polls in these states have a pretty awful track record“; he also notes “some tendency for polls in the Deep South to understate the standing of Southern candidates, but it is not statistically significant.” His blog projects a different split decision from the one I posited:

These projections could mean game over for the former Pennsylvania Senator. Santorum, Jennifer Rubin observes, “needs to beat Gingrich in both Alabama and Mississippi, or risk having a revived Gingrich battle for the ultra-conservative vote for the rest of the campaign.”  And Silver doesn’t find it likely that he could win either.

Looking at the numbers of Friday, however, Michael Barone found “something of a surge to Romney in these two states and that any of the three candidates have a chance to win.” Santorum could still beat the odds, especially given the intensity of his support among evangelicals.

My sense is that late-deciders might break slightly for Romney as wavering voters accept the inevitability of his victory. But, the social conservative groups and evangelicals should be able to generate a strong turnout for Santorum. And while Newt may not be a native of the South, he was elected from a Southern state–and that may pull a chunk of the electorate into his camp.

The talk about Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi,” writes Barone’s Washington Examiner colleague Byron York

. . . has focused mostly on the consequences for Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Would losses here force Gingrich out of the race? Would victories give Santorum his much-desired one-on-one showdown with Mitt Romney? What would it mean if either man won one state and lost the other?

There’s been less discussion about what the Alabama and Mississippi races mean for Romney. They could mean a lot.

He concludes that “a win in Mississippi or Alabama would be huge” for the former Massachusetts governor.  “In this ‘away game,’ Romney has more to win than to lose.”

Perhaps Romney has a good ground game in these states.  We’ll know tomorrow night.  Barone may well have the best read on the situation, with all three candidates having a chance to win.



  1. Considering theyre facing the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, is anyone even concerned if Alabama even has the money to fund their primary?

    Comment by Cinesnatch — March 13, 2012 @ 1:32 pm - March 13, 2012

  2. […] On to Alabama & Mississippi […]

    Pingback by Right Wing Extremists: March 13, 2012 | REPUBLICAN REDEFINED — March 13, 2012 @ 2:12 pm - March 13, 2012

  3. My advice, Snatchy: you shouldn’t have brought that up.

    What you are referring to is Birmingham/Jefferson County’s municipal bankruptcy.

    What you should also know is that Jefferson County is a Barack Obama and Barack Obama Party stronghold; he won the county decisively in 2008, and it has historically been ruled by the Obama Party.

    Including the former mayor, an Obama Party leader and with overwhelming Obama Party support.

    Larry Langford, a Democrat and former mayor of Birmingham, was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year for his role in corrupt business deals that fueled the multibillion-dollar sewer debt. Langford presided over the county commission during the height of the bond swaps that led to the run-up of the massive debt.

    Moreover, that’s about to be eclipsed by another far closer to home, owned, operated, overseen, and run by Obama Party members, in the state completely owned, operated, and dominated by Obama Party members following the Obama Party principles of punishing businesses, punishing homeownership, giving massive increases and pay to government employees in exchange for campaign contributions, and handing out welfare checks.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 13, 2012 @ 2:14 pm - March 13, 2012

  4. Jefferson county voted 47% for McCain. “Obama country” … ??? Portland, OR … San Francisco …. That’s Obama country.

    P.s. it’s not advice if it’s post facto.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — March 13, 2012 @ 3:01 pm - March 13, 2012

  5. Jefferson County is huge; however, the mayor & the Birmingham City council remains mostly Democrat; most people are leaving Jefferson County for Tuscaloosa & Shelby counties. Jefferson County is indeed a Barack Obama stronghold.

    People are leaving Jefferson county because the demographic has changed; the sewer issue–whicih is the heart of the bankruptcy–is another reason people are leaving the county.

    All the people who are responsible for the sewer crisis is in jail finally. But the sewer crisis remains because the Birmingham City Council & mayor refuses to lead on the controversial issue. There’s no good answers & they don’t want to lead on it for this reason. They are also corrupt scumbags, but that’s beside the point.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — March 13, 2012 @ 3:28 pm - March 13, 2012

  6. Oh, I forgot to add, the people who still remain in Jefferson County live in more upscale neighborhoods such as Hoover, Trussville, Moutain Brook, Pelham, etc al. The black hole is Center Point in Jefferson County. I grew up in Center Point & am devastated by its drastic change. Also Downtown Birmingham is not a safe place to go at night; it’s a ghost town with mostly deserted buildings.

    The Democrat politicians are making things worse for the city of Birmingham as they call for higher taxes. Businesses will not put up with such crap since they can go elsewhere. It’s why Hoover, Mountain Brook, Trussville, & Pelham have flourished.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — March 13, 2012 @ 3:38 pm - March 13, 2012

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