Readers were confident that Mitt Romney would win Arizona (even those who answered before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer endorsement on Sunday.) Opinion was divided on who would win in Michigan.
Those who thought Santorum will win Michigan include Eddiehaskell: “Santorum wins a close one in Michigan, mostly due to the Democratic crossover vote going for Santorum. The Dems still feel Santorum is the weaker candidate for Obama to face, and a Santorum victory will assure the primary extends further, which the Dems feel hurts the eventual Republican nominee.” Others argued that Romney still hasn’t closed the deal with the base. Getjiggly4 writes: “I suspect Santorum will [win]. The base REALLY doesn’t like Romney. Romney is the fakest candidate ever to come down the pike, and he’s clearly very uncomfortable in his own skin. Those are not attractive qualities and don’t make people want to vote for you.”
But a number of commenters think Romney has climbed back and will win both primaries tomorrow. MickeyKovars argues, “Romney probably wins Michigan, but even if he doesn’t, and the vote is fairly close, he still wins as long as he carries Arizona. Santorum’s meltdown may not be complete, but he’s working on it and he’ll be out of the game soon enough. The suggestion that Michigan is a must-win is a MSM creation designed to derail Romney whenever and wherever they can.”
Yahright make a flying analogy: “Romney wins both because he is the only plausible candidate left standing. Mitt carries his own personality baggage, but his flight is still scheduled to arrive on time. The belt tied around Santorum’s bulging suitcase is straining against the pressure of his dogmatic rigidity and near Gingrich-sized ego. Newt’s bloated luggage will spend Tuesday in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, oblivious to the fact that he has already been nominated to the GOP’s No Fly List. ” And then HappyReader make the case: “Romney should win both and the deciding factor will be that Santorum has gone off the rails with his focus on theology and contraception. He is now perceived as a crusader against birth control rather than an advocate for a blue-collar conservatism. This perception makes him look like he is not presidential and a sure loser in November.”
Some readers, like Whatmergister, see a low turnout coming: “The real story will be in the continuing depressed turnout among GOP primary voters. I predict Michigan will see roughly 30% fewer Republicans at the polls this time around.” Tomgil agrees: “Turnout will be lower than 4 years ago in both Arizona & Michigan indicating weak Republican voter enthusiasm which will be dismissed as irrelevant by conservative columnists.”
Certainly, the momentum has been with Romney ever since his strong debate performance last Wednesday. Romney has pulled into the lead in the national Gallup tracking poll and several state polls. His lead in Arizona is bolstered by early voting (as it was in Florida). As for turnout, the GOP candidates should be concerned about generating a positive message and enthusiasm, but we don’t know (since he is not running in any competitive primaries) whether enthusiasm for Obama has likewise dipped.
In any event, given the RNC rules, the race will certainly not end on Tuesday. However the media meme that Romney is unpopular with the GOP electorate may well take a beating.