I want to make a few observations on the GOP race last night in the deep South States of Mississippi and Alabama.
I have generally not talked the GOP race that much because of two reasons. First the HHS Birth Control mandate politics wise is taking up a lot of my time.
Second I am still undecided who I will vote for in Louisiana. So I don't have a guy in this race. Though I am sort of rooting for Santorum slightly because I think it's good we keep this race going for a while.
-Polls- As noted several times this week Mississippi and Alabama is very hard too poll!!. This will largely be forgotten and I suspoect , but the trend continues. Mitt Romney is partly hurting because the polls maybe gave him and the media a false picture.
-GOP Women Love Santorum- Santorum won all sort of Demographics of GOP women in both States. Though I suspect he lost the over 65 demographic of women which I bet was more Romney friendly.
-Romney still is the over 65 GOP person- We have seen this dynamic now play out in several states. Santorum with sometimes Newt nipping at this heels in places is the "Youth" person.
-Does Religion matter ( The Mormon question)- No doubt there were some folks where Romney's faith was a issue , but again I think this overblown. The demographic was very Born Again Evangelical. It would seem that for older Evangelicals that Romney's Mormon faith might be a killer. But he seems to have done very well with that over 65 Demo again.
Also I am struck how very well Romney did in the some very Delta counties where Evangelicals are in abundance. I think the GOP Farmer dynamic, and those dependent on that industry plays a role here. Like the over 65 crowd Farmers might like the seemly more traditional more well known stable quality of Romney. These Farmers get up and look at the Global market place every morning. This dynamic might also play out in Louisiana to some degree.
-The Catholic vote - I sense that Santorum did well with this vote. While not a HUGE vote in Mississippi and Alabama its significant in a close race. In the Archdiocese of Mobile ,which has 70,000 souls, this political Reporter sensed he was doing well with it. In areas of Catholic population down south in Alabama and in Mississippi Santorum was nipping at Romney in some Counties he carried. A good Coastal showing for Romney was need for him to win. He did not produce enough.
-ROMNEY has a Enthusiasm Problem- Romney did well in the Jackson area and Delta areas. The problem is those likely leaning Romney Voters just did not seem that excited to get out for him compared to the other hopefuls. If that had happened we might be reading a different headline as to Mississippi
- I Slightly underestimated Newt- I thought as to Mississippi the further west we got Newt would have more serious problems. Even though he was the Southern son. I am intrigued how well he did for instance in the Hattiesburg area. It was not a great night for Newt ,and we shall see how he can do in neighboring Louisiana.
-College Football goes to the Polls - Conference USA 's Southern Mississippi likes Newt. In the SEC Mississippi State and Ole Miss Love Romney. Bama and Auburn love Rick Santorum.
-Tennessee GOP really like Santorum- Santorum carried every county in Mississippi and Alabama that bordered Tennessee. Make of that what you will.
Looking to Louisiana-
-I think this SHOULD be a good a state for Santorum but I am not counting Romney out. I am not underestimating Newt again though I think it's hard sledding for him.
-Where will the GOP establishment land-. Even if people think it's likely that Santorum could win here it might be viewed time by many to get on the Romney Bandwagon. Currently Congressman Rodney Alexander is Romney's most loyal supporter. He represents also a Farming district ( see above how Romney performed in the Mississippi Delta). For GOP Congressmen Scalise , Fleming , and Cassidy it might make sense to get on board even if Romney loses the State eventually. Let's face it Romney is still odds on favorite to win the nomination and these Congressmen might be looking long term. Our other two GOP Congressmen down south that will be forced into a race against other might be more cautious. I have to think some other GOP folks are weighing the long term benefits of going ahead and supoorting Romney. What this produces in the final vote total we shall see.
-ISSUES- Newt talks a good game on energy issue ,and seems to get Corp of Engineers issues. That is one reason why Santorum was smack dab in Lafayette at his victory party talking energy issues. I think Newt after not winning Mississippi or Bama is in trouble here, but he can still be a foil to Santorum.