Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Tale of Two GOP Primary Electorates

We will have had two big primaries in the South in a 10 day period. One in South Carolina [which already took place] and one in Florida, which is being held today January 31.

If the polls are correct, it looks like we will have two very different results. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina in a big way, 41-28% over Mitt Romney.  The polls and it seems like the momentum on the upcoming vote in Florida indicate that this could be completely reversed, with Romney over Gingrich by almost double digits in the Sunshine State.

Why the difference in such a short period of time?     I believe Newt's big victory in South Carolina was due to Newt's brilliant responses in the debates to questions by Juan Williams [in a Fox News debate] and John King [in a CNN debate] held just before the South Carolina primary. Newt not only had the crowd in the hall of the debates on their feet, he had me on my feet.  We loved his attacking the liberal media for their trying to take down GOP candidates, while giving Obama a pass. Finally someone was standing up against the liberal main stream media. South Carolina voters were almost acting in a backlash fashion against the MSM. I understand that, and I will not criticize that. They were voting with their hearts. A second important reason South Carolina voters voted the way they did is because Mitt Romney still did not, in the debates, show the passion of a true conservative when he was being attacked by Newt Gingrich on issues the left will attack him on. Newt's attacks on him, from the left were wrong, I believe, but Mitt did not defend himself well. So, how could South Carolina voters trust him to be a true conservative. Mitt had already been looked at suspiciously by some conservatives as not being a reliable conservative, so this just added to the mix.

Putting it succinctly, South Carolina GOP voters were looking for the conservative they best thought could beat Mitt Romney.

In Florida, all of the momentum Gingrich had from South Carolina seems to not only have stalled, but is now reversing itself with Romney gaining the momentum. Why?  I believe voters saw that if they gave their votes to Newt Gingrich and he won Florida, there was a real possibility Newt could actually win the nomination.  That gives some Florida voters pause, as I believe they are worried that Newt might not be able to beat president Obama. Another four years of Barack Obama as president is a very scary proposition indeed. This immediately stalled Newt's ascension.

What reversed it? I believe Newt's weak performances in the two debates since South Carolina.  Newt was definitely off his game and not so much the behemoth that would destroy Obama in debates. More than that, in the debates Romney was a lot stronger, willing to attack Newt and more importantly defend himself, capitalism and his wealth.  He finally did what many of us were hoping, to show some passion and fight that he will need if he is to beat Obama in November.

So, while South Carolina voters voted with their hearts, I believe Florida voters will vote with their heads. [I am not criticizing either state in their votes--there was good reason for the way both will have voted]

The GOP voters in South Carolina voted for the man to beat Mitt Romney.
The GOP voters in Florida will vote for the man to beat Barack Obama.

No comments: