Super Tuesday key for Republican presidential candidates

Feb. 15, 2012

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Beverly Clark
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beverly.clark@emory.edu

With a surging Rick Santorum now equaling and surpassing Newt Gingrich in national polls just behind Mitt Romney, the road to the Republican presidential nomination is ever changing.  The upcoming Super Tuesday primary battle March 6, which will feature numerous states, including Georgia, will determine if Romney is the true front-runner, if Gingrich can re-emerge and if Santorum has staying power.

Super Tuesday is Gingrich’s last shot 

Rick Santorum’s sweep of Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota revitalized a dying campaign. Now, he’s looking more like the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney rather than Newt Gingrich, Emory political science professor and election forecasting expert Alan Abramowitz says. But, there are several primaries on Super Tuesday that give Gingrich a chance to re-emerge.  

“Georgia, obviously, is one, but there are a couple other southern and border states. Tennessee and Oklahoma, are states where he could potentially do very well,” Abramowitz says. “He could force Mitt Romney into a protracted nomination battle if he can win some primaries on Super Tuesday.”  


Romney should take notes from Ronald Reagan

Mitt Romney is still the likely to become the Republican presidential nominee, but he’s already hurting himself by alienating independent voters, says Emory political science professor Merle Black. Black, a national politics expert, believes Romney is attacking President Obama too much, too early and needs to focus on something more substantial, like Ronald Reagan did during his 1980 campaign.  

“What [Romney] needs to do is build up more of what the Reagan people did, build up more Romney, and what he did, and how he would actually perform as the President of the United States,” Black explains. “What we’ve seen thus far is Romney’s already lost [support] among the broader group of independents. His support has already dropped 10-20 points.”