What is Mitt Romney’s Path to the GOP Nomination?

I keep hearing all of these comments about the “inevitability of Romney” as the Republican nominee.  Perhaps I could understand if Romney was really the front-runner–everyone likes a winner, so it would be somewhat understandable to see people moving his way.  What’s troubling me is how a candidate can campaign for president for 5 years, have (virtually) unlimited resources, and still pull barely 20% in national primary polls.

I have asked several of my Romney-supporting friends this simple question and I am yet to receive an answer: “What is Mitt Romney’s path to the Republican nomination?”  What I want to hear is a specific path, state by state.

Will he win Iowa?  Doubtful.  He had reportedly withdrawn from the state, not participating in its straw poll.  A new poll today from Public Policy Polling shows Cain leading there by 8 points.

Will he win New Hampshire?  Yes, probably.

Will he win South Carolina?  It’s possible, but looking increasingly uncertain.  Monday, Cain took a slight lead in a poll out of that state.

Will he win Florida?  Possibly, but again, Cain is surging, rising to a statistical tie with Romney there last week.

Another poll released today shows a statistical tie between Cain & Romney in Virginia.

And at the end of the day, this comes down to simple arithmetic.  There are 8 candidates running for president.  Mitt Romney has about 20% support nationally.  This means that 1 out of 5 Republican voters want someone other than Mitt Romney.  And when the lower tier candidates begin dropping out, the remaining 50-60% of support left in the field is not going to go to Mitt Romney.

Romney may draw some votes from Hunstman supporters, but no one is voting for him anyway.  The other 5 conservative candidates’ supporters–Bachmann, Perry, Paul, Gingrich, Cain & Santorum, minus the one that will ultimately square off with Romney–will go to the non-Romney candidate.  Their cumulative support currently totals about 80%.  The person left standing to face Romney, barring unforeseen events, will likely be the GOP nominee.

What is critical here is timing:  if too many of the conservative candidates stay in too long, they could end up splitting the votes in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida, giving Romney enough of an edge to prevail.  If enough of them get out of the race–soon–they could rally behind one of the top-tier conservative candidates and easily defeat Romney.

I’m not saying Romney can’t win, I’m not saying he can’t beat Obama; but he is a vulnerable candidate with no clear, predestined path to the nomination, despite the conventional wisdom in the media & party establishment.  Nothing is inevitable in politics.

Nicholas Horton


The Arkansas Patriot is a conservative organization dedicated to equipping citizens with the truth, insuring transparent government, and encouraging citizens to question their government boldly.  Contact The Patriot at arkansaspatriot@gmail.com  



  1. Nate Bell

    The Romney key is Herman Cain. He knows that Cain will not have the fundraising ability to slug it out with him down the stretch. His game is to let Cain eliminate the other conservative candidates then use his money to take him out. It appears to be working well. The only path to stopping it is for conservatives to rally around Perry and Bachmann, Paul et al have done an excellent job painting him as someone he isn’t and his lack of debate skill is letting it stick. If Perry sees a fundraising freeze and Cain is still the perceived frontrunner then Romney will be the nominee. If you don’t agree with this analysis ask yourself why Romney asked his delegates to vote for Cain in the Florida Straw poll that precipitated his meteoric rise to the front of the field. Romney knows what he is doing and so far conservatives are playing his game.

  2. Mad in the Middle

    First i think your logic is a little flawed. Not everyone supporting the other candidates is an anyone but Romney person.

    Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry Supporters are predominately the Christian Right and are not likely to ever support Romney in the primary and may not show up if he is nominated.

    The other candidates have a smattering of various other factions of the Republican Party. Gingrich and Huntsman supporters will go overwhelmingly to Romney, they tend to be middle of the road Suburban Republicans. He would get about half of Cain’s current support which is made up of economic issue voters. Romney would also get a large chunk of Paul’s voters who tend to be very Libertarian and are leery of the religious overtones of Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum.

    Perry has some talented people working for him, but ultimately I think he is just not ready for prime time. He got in very late and didn’t have time to build his team properly or for them to prepare Perry and his campaign plan for the big show. He is finding it very difficult to move from statewide campaigning to national campaigning.

    Iowa hasn’t exactly been a good indicator of who will win the nomination. Just ask Huckabee. New Hampshire has a slightly better record of picking the eventual nominee. Romney will take New Hampshire. He is also likely to take Florida, and is competing in South Carolina. Romney can win South Carolina with a good GOTV game. McCain proved this by beating Huckabee in South Carolina in 08′.

    Romney’s path really stems from the strength of the talent he has working for him and their ability to put together an effective GOTV game. This is where Cain will struggle. The gap between them in organization is probably too big for Cain to overcome.

  3. Pingback: National Poll Shows Cain Leading Romney by 8% «

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