Nothing decisive has happened since I last blogged about the Republican primary election campaign. That was after the Florida primary. And nothing decisive is likely to happen for a long time yet. But the campaign is now taking a break until February 28 so let’s take a quick look at the race.
Mitt Romney won in Nevada and Maine, while Rick Santorum came first in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. But it was all mostly symbolic victories, without much importance for the battle about the electoral votes which decide U.S. presidential elections.
It is worth noting that Santorum has now taken over second place after Romney. For Newt Gingrich the week was not fun – he came last in three of the four elections in which he participated.
However, most notable was the low voter turnout, which means that the results in all five elections should be taken with a big grain of salt.
In Maine last night, for example, with a population of 1.3 million, only 6,135 people voted. That’s nothing – only two percent of its registered Republicans. Romney won with 2,190 votes against Ron Paul’s 1,996 — that is 194 votes. And it’s been the same all week: in Nevada 12,000 fewer people voted than in 2008; in Minnesota 15,000 fewer; in Colorado 5,000 fewer; , and in Missouri over 50 percent fewer voted compared to 2008.
That tells the story of a Republican electorate both uninterested in the process and lukewarm towards the party’s candidates. That does not bode well for the Republicans in the decisive battle against President Obama, where enthusiasm and a strong, joint effort will be needed to win.
Today, Obama has the upper hand in the polls against all four Republican candidates — over Romney by 48 percent to 43 percent, Santorum by 50 to 40, Gingrich by 51 against 40, and Paul by 48 to 41.
And in the battle for the crucial electoral votes, — it takes 270 to win in November – RealClearPolitics has Obama in the lead by 217 to 181 with eleven toss up states. In 2008, Obama won in ten of these eleven states — Missouri the exception — and defeated John McCain with 368 electoral votes to 173.