Gingrich on the brink, with Romney poised to pull away in Deep South
In one of the closest fought Republican primaries to date, the polls can't split the main candidates
Surprise victories tomorrow in one or even both of the Deep South states voting in the Republican nomination marathon could all but sew it up for Mitt Romney and leave his rivals scrambling for relevancy.
Eve-of-voting polls in both Mississippi and Alabama showed surprising strength for the former Governor of Massachusetts, upending assumptions about his lacking support in the South.
An American Research Group survey last night showed him edging out Newt Gingrich 34 per cent to 32 per cent to win Alabama. A Public Policy Polling survey in Mississippi gave Mr Gingrich a mere one point edge over Mr Romney.
Mr Gingrich's southern strategy, based on his two earlier wins in South Carolina and Georgia, will crumble if he fails to score, as will his reasoning for staying in the race. Were he to withdraw, the boost to Rick Santorum would be invaluable. A double-win by Mr Romney could finally derail both Mr Gingrich and Mr Santorum.
So far the South has largely shut out Mr Romney, but today he may benefit from the splitting of the conservative vote between Mr Gingrich and Mr Santorum. Yesterday, Mr Santorum, who is also near the top in polls in both states and who convincingly won caucus voting in Kansas at the weekend, asserted again that Mr Romney would prove unacceptable to the party grassroots.
The muddle at the top of the polls in the two states voting today – Ron Paul, the libertarian, is way down in both – means it will be as tense as any since the long slog began ten weeks ago. "All we know for sure about Tuesday's primaries is that Ron Paul will finish last in them," Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, commented. "Beyond that it's plausible that any of the candidates could finish between first and third."
Predictions of long-term doom for Mr Romney seem somewhat delusional given his already wide lead in delegates to the national convention. Going into today, Mr Romney has an estimated 454 delegates compared to 217 for Mr Santorum, 107 for Mr Gingrich and a mere 47 for Mr Paul.
"Governor Romney will not make it," Mr Santorum flatly told NBC News. "They are not going to nominate a moderate Massachusetts governor who's been outspending his opponent 10-1 and can't win the election outright. What chance do we have in a general election if he can't, with an overwhelming money advantage, be able to deliver any kind of knockout blow to other candidates?"
A memo attributed to political advisors to Mr Santorum and leaked to the media contained an apparent acknowledgement that catching Mr Romney looks nigh impossible and that dethroning him may have to wait until the party's convention in the summer.
"Mitt Romney must have a majority on the first ballot in order to win the nomination because he will perform worse on subsequent ballots as grassroots conservative delegates decide to back the more conservative candidate," it argued. "Subsequently, Santorum only needs to be relatively close on the initial ballot in order to win on a later ballot as Romney's support erodes."
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
China's 'Inconvenient Truth': video exposing country’s smog crisis watched 100 million times
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...