The Fix: Alabama

Mitt Romney: City slicker

Mitt Romney is definitely not at home on the range.

Primaries in highly rural Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday reinforced what a problem Romney has with rural conservatives, who tend to be more conservative than their urban and suburban counterparts.

Here’s all you need to know:


(The Washington Post)
Notice how Romney’s Alabama support is clustered almost exclusively around the three big cities on the map?

It’s something we’ve seen over and over again.

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Romney survives the conservative gauntlet

Even in defeat, Mitt Romney is nothing if not consistent. In nearly every state where he has campaigned, exit polls show Romney performing basically the same in every major demographic group, give or take a few points.

And despite the results Tuesday night, it’s almost definitely good enough for him to win the GOP nomination.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, at a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Monday, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/ John David Mercer)

That’s because, while those demographics have been too tough for him to overcome in Southern primaries and Midwestern caucus states, those states are basically done voting.

The road forward goes through much less conservative voters.

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Mississippi, Alabama primaries: Evangelicals, evangelicals everywhere

Mississippi, Alabama primaries: Evangelicals, evangelicals everywhere

Approximately eight in 10 voters in today’s Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries identify themselves as evangelical Christians, according to preliminary exit polls, the highest percentage of evangelicals in any early voting state to date.

In Mississippi, 83 percent of the electorate describes themselves as evangelicals while in Alabama that number is 79 percent. These numbers are from early exit polling and could, of course, shift somewhat.

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Mississippi, Alabama primaries: 5 counties to watch

Mississippi, Alabama primaries: 5 counties to watch

Need to know where to look to figure out who’s having a good night in the Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries? We’ve got you covered.

We asked a handful of political operatives in both states to give us the one (or two) counties that will tell us something significant about how former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are faring tonight.

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The best political tweeters in Alabama, Mississippi

The best political tweeters in Alabama, Mississippi

With Alabama and Mississippi set to take center stage in the Republican presidential race today, we asked our Twitter posse — we roll deep! — to tell us the handful of political tweeters in each state we had to follow.

The most-recommended nominees are below. You can also follow the whole list with a single click. Who did we miss? Add your nominees in the comments section below.

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The dirty little secret of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries

The dirty little secret of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries

Here’s a simple fact that has been lost amid Mitt Romney’s newfound love of grits, Newt Gingrich’s desire for gun racks on Chevy Volts and Rick Santorum’s insistence that the South is a home game for him: None of the top three Republican presidential contenders are “of” the South in any meaningful way.

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Alabama, Mississippi primaries: The Fix prediction contest!

Voters are voting in Alabama and Mississippi (and Hawaii and American Samoa)!


Madison United Methodist Church precinct worker Bob Shirley, left, hands off a "I Voted" sticker to a voter in Madison, Miss., Tuesday, March 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
That means it’s time for a Fix prediction contest where you, gentle reader, make the call on how the candidates will finish. If you win, the greatest prize known to man (or woman) — an official Fix t-shirt — is yours.

Here’s what you need to do: In the comments section below, predict the order of finish — with percentages! — for the top three candidates in Mississippi and Alabama. As a tiebreaker, give us your total turnout number for Alabama.

Polls close in both states at 8 p.m. eastern time so any predictions made after that time won’t count. And, to be eligible to win, you must make your prediction in the comments section.

Need some guidance? Here’s the latest polling in Alabama and Mississippi. Now get to it!

Mississippi, Alabama and the power of political surprises

Mississippi, Alabama and the power of political surprises

For all of its unpredictability, there have been few actual surprises since voters began casting ballots in the 2012 Republican presidential race.

Mitt Romney won New Hampshire. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina. Romney won Florida. Even Rick Santorum’s (eventual) victory in Iowa wasn’t entirely surprising since polling suggested he was surging and social conservative candidates have a history of strong performances in the Hawkeye State. Santorum almost won in Michigan and Ohio, both of which would have been real surprises, but he didn’t.

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House incumbents face another test in Tuesday’s primary

Is 2012 another anti-incumbent year?

We should get a good indication Tuesday, when a couple more House incumbents face primaries funded by the Campaign for Primary Accountability, the group that helped unseat Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) in last week’s primary.

Here are five House incumbents facing some real primaries tomorrow. All are favorites, but as was the case in Ohio, anything can happen.

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Southern swing could help Romney by elevating Gingrich

The South doesn’t like Mitt Romney very much.

The South is Mitt Romney’s best friend right now.


Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a Super Tuesday rally on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Those two statements, while seemingly at odds with each other, might both be true in the coming weeks.

While Romney has shown a complete inability to win Southern states (a quirky race in Virginia aside), a succession of Southern states holding contests in the weeks ahead could actually play right into his hands by elevating Newt Gingrich back to the level of serious contender.

And if that happens, Rick Santorum’s path to victory gets much tougher.

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Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis talks party-switching

Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis talks party-switching

Former Democratic congressman Artur Davis, who has been a thorn in the side of Democrats in the aftermath of his loss in the 2010 Alabama gubernatorial primary, is a man without a political party.

In an interview with The Fix, Davis openly speculated about running for office as an independent or even a Republican. In both cases, he suggested his decision not to make the switch has as much to do with the difficulties involved as any desire he has to remain a Democrat.

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