Alabama, the Devil Fools With the Best Laid Plan

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 9 2012 9:45 AM

Alabama, the Devil Fools With the Best Laid Plan

Alabama might be the least-polled key state of the primary thus far. Forty-seven delegates are at stake. Only two surveys have been conducted, with less than 1000 total voters. We don't have a great line on who will win; we don't know if Mitt Romney's dream of winning a Southern state will actually work here.

But how much does it matter? On election day Alabama assigns 47 delegates. Twenty-six delegates will be assigned proportionately to anyone earning more than 20 percent. Given the strength of Gingrich and Santorum, it's likely that they and Romney will crack 20 percent. Let's say both Gingrich and Santorum both barely get 20 percent, and Santorum wins the remaining vote in a rout. He gets 16 delegates to their five and five. Same rule applies to the congressional districts. The upshot: In 2008, Mike Huckabee won Alabama but only netted 7 delegates over Mitt Romney.


And this is the not-Romney's dilemma. Unless he's crushed somewhere -- somewhere that's not Kansas, where he's possibly doomed -- he maintains a lead of nearly 300 delegates going into April. Then, finally, states start holding winner-take-all contests. Perhaps the not-Romney can hold out until May, when Texas votes, and June, when California votes.

But it's tough. The best hope Santorum has comes if Newt Gingrich eats pavement in Alabama/Mississippi and drops out before Illinois and Louisiana. He's said he won't.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 17 2014 1:59 PM Ask a Homo: Secret Ally Codes 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.