2016 Republicans, March 1, State of the Race, Uncategorized

Forecasting March 1: What About Wyoming?

February 27, 2016

Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to the possible winner of the Wyoming caucus. The candidates aren’t spending any time there. Nobody is polling it. There aren’t any old surveys to comb through either.

It’s not like there are a ton of delegates to distribute. On the road to the 1237 needed for victory, a stop in Wyoming offers 29. Not exactly enough to wrap up the nomination. However, Iowa has 30, New Hampshire 23, and Nevada 30, so that doesn’t explain the snub by itself.

When you get away from Iowa and Nevada, caucuses get hazy. Sometimes delegates are allocated on caucus day, sometimes not. Colorado is caucusing for Democrats on March 1, but the GOP side was cancelled. Republicans are still meeting, but only for non-presidential offices.

Apparently the Republican delegates will get dealt with later at the state convention. The whole thing confuses me. All I know is one of the more important swing states in the country isn’t having individual GOP voters weigh in on the presidential nomination.

North Dakota was originally on the docket for March 1, but is now apparently voting on April 1. This is another caucus. With lower rates of participation, it’s apparently easy to move one of these.

Kentucky set one up for March 5 to aid Rand Paul, who needed to get around the state law prohibiting candidates from appearing in two places on the same ballot. He’s up for Senate re-election in the regular primary a couple months later.

His campaign footed the (relatively) modest bill for setting up the separate event, one that looks favorable to Donald Trump at the moment. Anyway, near as I can tell, Wyoming is still planning on voting this Tuesday.

Their 29 delegates will get allocated, though I’m not sure if the straw poll results will get released the way they were in Iowa and Nevada. So, somebody is going to “win” Wyoming on March 1.

Mitt Romney won in 2012. This is noteworthy because he lost most of the other contested caucus states, usually to Rick Santorum. Ron Paul managed to finish ahead of him in a couple.

That would seem to indicate this isn’t the best chance for Ted Cruz to pull off a victory away from Texas. With the exception of Nevada, where Santorum invested very little effort, Cruz is running at Santorum +3 or so.

We shouldn’t assume a perfectly consistent mirror. Santorum won Alabama, while Cruz currently sits in 3rd place in the most recent poll. But all things being equal, a Santorum state (like Iowa) is a better bet for him.

On the surface, you might think a Romney state would favor Marco Rubio. Nevada was a Romney state. So was New Hampshire. Both had no problem voting for Donald Trump. We know better than to dismiss any state as a possible to likely Trump win at this point.

I think it’s safe to eliminate John Kasich and Ben Carson as likely Wyoming winners. If Trump adds Wyoming to his Super Tuesday haul, it’s just another place he collected more than his share of delegates. However, if Rubio were to pull an upset, it would finally give him a win.

It’s not the highest profile possibility, but it’s far better than getting shut out. If he performs well in Minnesota, where the several week-old poll had him ahead, maybe he gets two.

There are a couple other possibilities. Whether as a lifeline or a way to build a case he has momentum by winning multiple states, Wyoming could help keep Rubio going for a while. As we covered a few hours ago, Marco isn’t going to win Florida unless he wins elsewhere first.

Perhaps Wyoming, the most lightly populated of the 50 states, is that place.


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