Factbox: Massachusetts Republican presidential primary

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2012 7:59 PM
Factbox: Massachusetts Republican presidential primary

(Reuters) - The race to win the Republican Party's nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in the November general election reaches a new intensity on "Super Tuesday" when 10 U.S. states, including Massachusetts, hold primaries and caucuses.

Here are some facts about the Massachusetts Republican primary:

* Mitt Romney, a former one-term governor of the northeastern state, is expected to cruise to victory on his home turf. Massachusetts has 41 delegates in total, of which the majority are awarded proportionally according to the candidates' statewide performance or per congressional district.

* Romney will cast his primary vote on Tuesday in Belmont, Massachusetts, about a mile from the two-bedroom townhouse he bought in 2010 to complement properties in New Hampshire and California. The Romneys sold their seven-bedroom family home in Belmont in 2009.

* Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the state. Registered Democrats were 35.9 percent of voters compared to the 11.35 percent who were Republicans, according to data from the Massachusetts Secretary of State as of February 15.

* In the 2008 presidential primary race, Romney's shift to the right to shore up his conservative credentials prompted his two predecessors in the state governor's seat to endorse his rival, John McCain. Romney won the primary but only 51 to McCain's 41 percent. This time around, a recent Suffolk University poll showed him with support of 64 percent of likely Massachusetts Republican voters.

* Of Massachusetts residents 25 years old and over, 39 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher compared to the national average of 28.2 percent, according to the 2010 American Community Survey.

* National political debates over healthcare and same-sex marriage got an early run in Massachusetts. The state Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage in 2003, Romney's first year in the state house. Romney's signature legislative achievement, the 2006 healthcare insurance reform law, mandated a minimum level of medical coverage and became a model for Obama's much-criticized national healthcare reform law.

* State unemployment was 6.9 percent in December 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, below the national average at that time of 8.5 percent. The state's diversified economy has grown at a faster rate than the nation in six of the past eight quarters.

* In 2008, Obama carried Massachusetts with 62 percent of the vote. In the past 11 presidential elections, the state has given Democratic candidates, on average, 56 percent of the vote. Romney would have no home-town advantage in a matchup against Obama. A recent Western New England University Polling Institute survey puts Obama up by 60 percent to 36 percent.

* Before the New Hampshire primary in January, the Boston Herald endorsed Romney while the Boston Globe endorsed former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who dropped out of the race after a third-place finish in the moderate early-voting state.

(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Ros Krasny and Eric Walsh)