Election Brief: Super Tuesday shows the disunity of Republican Party

On March 6th, 2012, Super Tuesday occurred for the Republicans. Super Tuesday is the day when the highest number of states holds their primary. takes place. Generally, they allow for a clear view of who will win the party’s nomination.  During this election cycle’s Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney did maintain his lead; however the results also showed that the party is not united behind Romney. He managed a win in Alaska with 32% of the vote, however Rick Santorum was close behind his with 29%. Similarly, in Ohio Romney won with 38% of the vote, however Santorum was only one percent behind him with 37% of the vote. States where Romney received decisive wins were Idaho, his home state of Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming. Santorum did manage wins in three states including North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. As for the other two Republican candidates, Newt Gingrich won the Georgia primary with an impressive 47% (though he served as Congressional Representative for Georgia for many years, along with teaching at University of West Georgia), and Ron Paul received over 20% of the vote in the states of Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia, though he did not manage to win in any of those states).

In a conversation about the Republican Primaries, Samuel Langford, ’12, remarked for The Current that “…it seems less about who will beat Barak Obama, and rather about the future of the ideology of the Republican Party. It’s to the point where the Republicans are split, creating a fight between conservatives and moderates as to who will take over the party.” What Langford draws our attention to the Republican Party’s inability to unite behind one candidate and the speculation that this will lead to a win for Obama. The fact that Romney is still failing to pull out a decisive win encourages Langford’s hypothesis about the disunity of the Republican Party. Despite Romney’s financial and organizational advantages, Santorum and Gingrich are both able to threaten and surpass the party’s frontrunner. Moreover, Gallop pole still reports Mitt Romney as leading in overall support (with 36% of the vote, compared with Santorum at 24%, Gingrich at 14%, and Ron Paul with 11%). However Gallop also evaluates the nominees by a “Positive Intensity Score”, which examines the strength of an individual’s favorable (or unfavorable) sentiments towards candidates. The scale can show us the dissonance between voting for a candidate and actually strongly supporting them, which a traditional poll cannot do. What Gallop found was that Santorum has a Positive Intensity score of +15 (with a positive score of 21, and a negative score, so those who feel strongly against him, or 5) while Romney has an overall Positive Intensity score of +13 (a score of 20 for those who strongly support him, and a score of 7 for those who strongly disapprove of him). However, whether or not the continued tension of the primaries is due to an ideological divide within the party is unclear.

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