Dixie

Rich Galen
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Posted: Mar 14, 2012 12:01 AM
Dixie

Alabama and Mississippi. Southern States. States that help define the word "Southern" in the United States.

Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania - western Pennsylvania, not southern - won them both.

Newt Gingrich made it clear after Nevada that he had a plan to turbocharge his campaign once the primary calendar moved into the South.

On CNN a couple of weeks ago, Gingrich said he thought he'd win at least two among Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas.

He didn't win Kansas. Santorum won Kansas, too.

That meant, by his own arithmetic, Gingrich needed to win both Mississippi and Alabama.

He didn't he came in second in both to Santorum.

I don't expect Gingrich to get out. He will claim he beat the frontrunner, Romney in both states and therefore, should remain in the race.

Whether it's golf or politics you can't go after the leader without first climbing over the guy ahead of you.

Gingrich, who had significant double digit leads in both states back in the good old days of the Georgia campaign - two weeks ago - couldn't beat Santorum in these two Southern states.

If there is a reason - other than sheer ego - for Newt to go on in this campaign, it's time he let America know what it is.

I don't expect Gingrich to get out. He will claim he beat Romney in both states and should, therefore, be the designated anti-Romney candidate.

There were 47 delegates at stake in Alabama and 37 at stake in Mississippi. We'll probably have to wait a few days to find out what the actual delegate distribution will be, but with the double win, Santorum is likely to grab the lion's share.

Coming into tonight's election the estimated delegate count was:

Mitt Romney - 459
Rick Santorum - 203
Newt Gingrich - 118
Ron Paul - 66

If you were watching the early chatter on the cable news channels you heard a great deal about Mitt Romney doing very well in the deep South. That's because the exit polls which were distributed to the news organizations that participate in them at about five pm showed Romney winning in Mississippi.

The exit polls showed Romney beating Santorum by a very significant eight percentage points, 37.2 - 29.0.

As the night wore on, it looked like it wasn't the polling per se, but the turnout model - which is a big part of modern political polling - that was wrong. Romney did as well as predicted in the major cities, but not as many people voted as the pollsters had projected so Santorum's performance in the rural areas was more than enough.

This week two polls showed President Obama's job approval dropping in inverse proportion to the rise in gasoline prices the New York Times/CBS Poll shows 41 percent of respondents giving him good marks with 47 percent against. In an ABC News/Wash Post poll the numbers were 42-50.

A third poll, Reuters/Ipsos, showed Obama's job approval numbers slightly positive 50-48.

Robert Gibbs, advisor to the Obama campaign, could only say that there will be a poll taken every day between now and election day and they've learned not to be exuberant over good poll numbers nor get depressed when the numbers are not so good.

He has a point. We have learned that statewide polls released on Thursday and Friday are not at all predictive of what will happen on the next Tuesday.

The Republican candidates have not directly thrown punches at one another in a debate in 21 days, since February 22. Without the Twitter-verse pounding on every syllable, vocal pause, nod, and shrug, Americans are focusing again on the guy in charge, Barack Obama.

The GOP race will continue, probably all the way to June. As long as Gingrich stays in this is a three-man race. Santorum has to fight a two-front war. Romney only has to defend against Santorum.

We have a long way to go, and I'm looking forward to it.