Mitt Romney Competitive In Alabama?

After Tuesday’s results from Georgia, Oklahoma, and Georgia one of the recurring themes among pundits has centered on Mitt Romney’s apparent inability to win over voters in the GOP’s geographic stronghold. For that reason, many people (including yours truly) are assuming that next week’s races in Alabama and Mississippi will be bad for the former Massachusetts Governor. Politico’s Alexander Burns, though, points to a poll that may indicate otherwise:

The statewide poll conducted by Alabama State University’s Center for Leadership and Public Policy showed 22.7 percent of likely Republican voters supported Santorum, who is scheduled to make campaign appearances Thursday in Huntsville and Mobile.

Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney trailed Santorum with 18.7 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House from neighboring Georgia, with 13.8 percent. …

[T]he poll results indicate that support for Gingrich is waning in Alabama, according to ASU political science professor Thomas Vocino.

“The numbers are just not in his favor, and the trend is working against him,” Vocino said. “I can’t foresee a situation where he can rebound and win in Alabama.”

In addition to bad news for Gingrich, a four point difference in Alabama for Romney doesn’t strike me as all that bad. Even if he can’t win the state outright, he’ll still be able to pick up some delegates.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. PD Shaw says:

    Chuck Todd was just on MSNBC saying that Romney’s best chance to win in the next group of states is in Mississippi, if Barbour gets behind him and Gingrich and Santorum split the vote. He’s not saying its likely, but there is a chance that he could win with mid thirty percent support there.

  2. EddieInCA says:

    If I were Mitt Romney, I’d be secretly funneling money to Gingrich to keep him in the race. The moment the race becomes one on one between Romney/Not Romney, Not Romney wins. Right now it’s Romney/Not Romney/Not Romney and the Not Romney’s are splitting the vote. The overwhelming majority of Gingrich voters will flock to Santorum, and since Mitt can’t get much higher than 30% among the GOP base, it will be tough sledding for the Mittster.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    Last night Rachel Maddow presented statistics showing that based on income ranges, Romney beats Santorum only among people making over 100K, and that people over 100K are turning out for the primaries in unusually high numbers. How many people are there in AL over 100K? Enough for Romney to buy his way to the top?

  4. gVOR08 says:

    @EddieInCA: I’ve seen speculation that Adelson is continuing to fund Gingrich’s last stand for precisely that reason, to help Romney by splitting the anti Romney vote. He apparently doesn’t trust Santorum on Israel.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Doug: I think the story you’ve linked has been updated with a more recent poll, that’s even more interesting:

    A separate poll of likely Republican voters showed Romney leading the Alabama primary with 31.2 percent, followed by Santorum with 21.6 percent, Gingrich with 21 percent and Paul with 6.5 percent. A total of 19.8 percent said they were undecided.

  6. PD Shaw says:

    The more recent poll shows how Romney could win Alabama. If the numbers are correct, and the undecided vote non-Romney in these portions, the result would be:

    Romney 31.2
    Santorum 30.3
    Gingrich 29.5
    Paul 9.1

    Not saying its going to happen, but its a plausible scenario according to that poll.

  7. PJ says:

    I seriously doubt that Romney almost has a double digit lead in Alabama….

  8. Marlene says:

    @EddieInCA: The fallacy in your argument is that Romney has more delegates than the other 3 combined. So, if you took all of the non-Romney votes and put them for only one candidate, you still don’t have enough delegates to beat him. Polls have shown that not all of Santorum’s voters would go to Gingrich when he wanted Santorum to bail out, and not all of Gingrich’s voters would go to Santorum.

  9. PD Shaw says:

    @PJ: Perhaps, but I’m not sure 31% is an unreasonable expectation for Romney. The 2008 results:

    Huckabee: 41%
    McCain: 37%
    Romney: 18%
    Paul: 3%

    If the poll is off, its more likely not catching the Santorum / Gingrich numbers correctly, maybe because its shifting.