Low voter turnout spells problems for Republicans

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.

And now the war of the TV ads is starting….

Political television ads have not played a particularly important role up to now in the Republican primary election campaign.  That’s different from previous years and an interesting phenomenon.

Instead, the campaign’s focus has been the constant panel debates between the eight, well, now seven, candidates, which have benefited those who can talk, like Newt Gingrich, and those without much money, again, like Newt Gingrich.

But Gingrich has now launched his first TV-ad in Iowa, at a cost of 250,000 dollars, and soon political TV ads will flood the media in the State ahead of the January 3 caucuses. There are many similarities with Gingrich’s ad and Ronald Reagan’s classic “Morning in America” from 1984. Take a look!

Gingrich:

Reagan:

But Gingrich will surely not be allowed to play Reagan. Just take a look at Ron Paul’s scathing attack on the former Republican Speaker called “Serial Hypocrisy.” It takes me back to 1988 and the vice presidential debate between Loyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle.

Bentsen to Quayle: “you are no John Kennedy.” It seems to me that Paul is saying about Gingrich: you are no Ronald Reagan…