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US ELECTIONS/ Samples (Cato Institute): Super Tuesday to Romney but race far from over

JOHN SAMPLES, director of the Center for Representative Government, comments on the results of Super Tuesday, the future of the Republican primary and the race for the American presidency.

Mitt Romney  (Infophoto) Mitt Romney (Infophoto)

“After Mitt Romney’s victories in key states like Michigan and Ohio, Rick Santorum’s possibilities are running out. Romney will probable win because voters think that he will be more likely to beat Obama”. This is the comment by John Samples, director of the Center for Representative Government of the Cato Institute think tank in Washington DC. Romney was able to win five of the ten states up for grabs on Super Tuesday, and now he is closer to the 1,144 delegates he needs to win the nomination and go against Obama for the presidency. Mitt won by a lot in Massachusetts, Vermont e Idaho, coming in first in Virginia e Ohio as well. Santorum, instead, was able to win North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. According to Samples, “a very important variable is the state of the economy.  In the end it will probably be a very close election”.

Could you comment on the results of Super Tuesday?
I would say on the whole that it was a victory for Romney, though it was not a great victory that finishes the race. The system has been set up by the National Republican Party in such a way that it is hard to accumulate delegates quickly; however, Romney remains the frontrunner. He also is better organized and has more resources to run in future elections, and future primaries. The real hope for Rick Santorum was that he could win in a place like Michigan or Ohio, where it would have been an upset. Tennessee and Oklahoma were not upsets. They were expected to be victories for Santorum. Indeed, a week before the elections, he was expected to win Ohio, and he had as much as a twenty point lead in Ohio. In that sense, I think he missed an opportunity to really do damage to Romney, and that is another opportunity that is not going to happen to knock Romney out. I would say that the chances are running out for Santorum and that this is Romney slowly running up the delegates that he will need. He is going to win because Republican voters think that he is the most likely candidate to beat President Obama and the polls support that view.

We have seen that the Republican base is not convinced about Romney. Why has Romney not been able to convince a majority of Republicans to vote for him?