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Monday, February 06, 2012

Republican Turnout In Nevada Caucuses Down 25 Percent

By Susan Duclos

In the final tally for the Nevada caucuses, Mitt Romney took Nevada with less of a margin than he did in 2008, this time with 50 percent, where in 2008 he took 51.1 percent of the vote and went on to lose the nomination to John McCain in the end.

Newt Gingrich came in second with over 21.1 percent in Saturday's Nevada caucuses. Ron Paul coming in third with 18.7 percent percent, topping his 2008 total by five percentage points. Rick Santorum came in last with 9.9 percent.

As is becoming a worrisome pattern, Republican turnout was way down, this time by over 25 percent compared to the turnout in 2008.

Via CNN's Political Ticker:

Nearly 33,000 Republican voters participated in this year's caucuses, 11,000 less than in 2008.

Nevada Republican Caucus Turnout 2008- 44,324
Nevada Republican Caucus Turnout 2012- 32,963

This is not isolated to Nevada, as FiveThirtyEight found, even in states where overall turnout was higher for the 2012 caucus/primaries, Self-identified Republican turnout was down except in South Carolina which Newt Gingrich won with the state's Republicans showing a 20 percent rise over the totals of 2008 turnout.

Mitt Romney won in Florida and Republican participation was down by 16 percent, but as the two graphs below will show, in the 34 out of 67 counties in Florida that Gingrich won, participation was up and the 33 counties where Romney won participation was down.

Areas Romney won vs areas Gingrich won

The breakdown

Via LA Times, the creator of the chart, Michael McDonald of George Mason University, one of the country’s leading experts on voter turnout, explains the chart above.

The dots represent Florida’s counties. Dots in the upper right-hand part of the graph show places where Newt Gingrich did particularly well and turnout was up. The large number of dots in the lower left-hand of the graph show counties where Gingrich did badly and turnout was down. The overall message: “It was primarily the counties Gingrich did well in” – mostly conservative, rural areas in northern Florida – that saw an increase in turnout, McDonald said. By contrast, the large urban and suburban counties where Romney won heavily had big turnout declines.

The pattern indicates that Romney fails to excite voters and the enthusiasm that gave Republicans the edge in the 2010 midterms for historic wins has evaporated the harder the media, Romney and the Republican establishment pushes the "Romney is inevitable" meme onto voters.

Whether it is the contrast between Romney's former liberal policies and actions vs his conservative campaign rhetoric, or his inability to connect with voters, his gaffes or just that damn perpetual smirk and air of entitlement he projects, or perhaps all of that together, isn't the issue, they are just possible reasons behind the issue.

The issue is that if he cannot excite the conservative Republican base, and with his unfavorability numbers with Independents rising 20 percent, his chances of beating Obama in 2012 are dwindling by the day.

5 states down, 45 to go with another three caucuses and two primaries set for February (with the Missouri primary which awards no delegates until they hold their caucuses in March) and Mitt Romney is positioned to do well in those February contests.

In March there are 20 primaries/caucuses set for March, including the 10, which are on March 6, 2012, known as Super Tuesday.

In April there are 9 primaries/caucuses scheduled.

(Full Republican primary/caucus schedule found HERE)

Bottom Line:

One of two things must happen by the end of April... either Mitt Romney has to find a way to connect with voters and excite the Republican base or American caucus-goes and primary voters need to vote for a candidate that can to be the GOP nominee.

Disclaimer- I am a former Perry supporter who now supports Newt Gingrich.