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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

An Unsurprising “Shocker”

Mitt Romney’s win in MI yesterday forestalled the possibility of an early McCain sweep to the GOP nomination. But like Hillary Clinton’s “stunning upset” win in NH, the actual voter dynamics were less dramatic than the perceived impact on the race.
As Jay Cost explains at RealClearPolitics after staring at MI and NH exit polls, Romney and McCain pretty much attracted the same kind of voters in the former state as in the latter. Romney won by marginally improving his performance across the board, and also because the composition of the electorate was a bit different (e.g., fewer independents). Given Romney’s native-state status, his spending advantage, and his very blunt promises to bail out MI’s economy with federal money, his win, while a “shocker” in terms of shaking up the race, wasn’t really very surprising.
The problem for Romney is that his MI formula is not replicable elsewhere. And the problem for the GOP is that this continues to look like a nomination contest no one can win–and everyone can lose.
This doesn’t mean the Republican nomination will be decided at the Convention; delegates will be awarded in big batches on February 5, and it’s entirely possible that the field will effectively be down to two or three candidates by then. But the palpable lack of excitement in the GOP over its options is more striking than ever.

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