Monday, February 20, 2012

Does Romney have a Midwest Problem?

Mitt Romney has won three states: New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida, and perhaps Maine. This list of primaries is impressive, but I can’t help but notice that there have been three contests held in Midwestern states and that Romney hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in at least two of the three.

 In Minnesota, he finished third behind Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. In Missouri, he was blown out by Rick Santorum. Then there was his narrow loss in Iowa. There’s something about Romney that has failed to connect with Midwestern voters at least at this point.

 If Romney can’t make some headway in the heartland, his candidacy is in trouble.

Because of the electoral college, candidates tend to focus on states with big delegate prizes. While this approach is not exactly improper from a candidates perspective, I mean you want to win the electoral college and the Presidency, so of course, you would pay special attention to California, Texas, New York, Florida, etc.

 But it can be equally problematic for a candidate to be uncompetitive in a specific region of the country. We see this when Republican candidates win large swathes of the southern United States.

Consider  2008 where John McCain was largely non-competitive in the West.

Regional non-competitiveness can doom a presidential campaign.

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