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Morning Jay: The Calendar Hurts Romney

6:00 AM, Mar 16, 2012 • By JAY COST
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In other words, Romney ’12 is running a pretty solid 4-to-6 percent ahead of McCain ‘08. Again, not the sign of a particularly dominant front-runner, but also not the sign of a uniquely weak one, either.

Where McCain had an advantage was that he enjoyed a huge delegate haul Super Tuesday (which remember was in early February) from states he dominated – California, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York. That basically sealed the deal for him. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Romney will do just as well as McCain (if not better than him) in these states, but the problem for Romney is that none of them vote until at least April. California -- sure to be Romney's single best state in terms of delegates -- does not cast its ballots until June.

So here’s my bottom line: Yes, Romney looks weak this time around, and I certainly would not argue that he’s a particularly strong front-runner. However, we have to account for the shift in the calendar, in particular the end of front-loading. When we do that, we see that Romney is stronger than McCain and probably stronger than Dole (but weaker than Bush 43). So, he’s not strong per se, but his weakness this time is perhaps a bit misunderstood.

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