Nate Silver: Michigan Was The Turning Point For Romney

Yours truly said the same thing at U.S. News & World Report BEFORE Michigan voted. The New York Times' Nate Silver has more:

Nevertheless, I’m interested in the question of what historians will see as the turning point when they look back on the 2012 Republican race. This is intended as a purely retrospective exercise, not a predictive one, making no apology for taking advantage of the hindsight we now have.

Nevertheless, in my view, the consensus of evidence seems to point toward one of these dates in particular: Michigan (and Arizona) on Feb. 28.

Yes, you can look at Michigan as representing just 16 of the 646 delegates that Mr. Romney now has. But it voted at an early enough stage of the race that Mr. Romney’s lead in delegates was not all that large and the delegate math did not matter all that much. Mr. Santorum would have had plenty of time to make up ground if he had won Michigan and changed the momentum of the race.

Had Mr. Romney lost Michigan, perhaps he would have lost Ohio on Super Tuesday and accumulated significantly fewer delegates on the evening. Had he lost Ohio, perhaps he would have lost Illinois. Had he lost Illinois, he might have lost Wisconsin. Who knows — perhaps you would be reading an article about when Rick Santorum had clinched the Republican nomination. Or perhaps a late-entrant candidate would have jumped in. These things follow a path-dependent course. I thought at the time (and still think) that one could make a strong case for Mr. Romney’s vulnerability until he secured Michigan.

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published this page in In The News 2012-04-04 10:05:23 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy