Primary postmortem

Turnout barely exceeds 2008: Looks like Republican turnout will surpass the 2008 total by only about 125,000 votes, give or take a few. In 2008, 869,169 votes were cast for Republican candidates. This year, two things appeared to contribute to increased turnout:

  • The Democratic race is uncontested this year, and some people who voted for Hillary or for Uncommitted in 2008 either did not vote this time or crossed over.
  • Republicans invested much more heavily in Michigan this time than in 2008. Last time, the focus of the national Republican race was on Super Tuesday, as Romney was more or less expected to win the Michigan primary (which was three weeks before Super Tuesday). This time, a very close race (and the possibility of Romney losing what he should've won in a cakewalk) meant more interest in the race - thus also contributing to higher turnout.

Despite that, Republicans only got around 1 million votes this time.

A lot of money to barely win your 'home' state: Romney and his super PAC spent $3,807,082 in Michigan, while Santorum and his super PAC spent $2,182,786. At the moment, with a few precincts left to report, it comes out to $9.33 per vote for Romney and $5.79 per vote for Santorum. And what did Romney get for that? A 3-point win in a state he should've won in a cakewalk. And as Dana points out, Romney's 41% just barely exceeds his 2008 performance of 39%.

Exit poll sheds light on primary electorate: CNN's exit poll has a load of fascinating info.
  • 9% of Republican primary voters were Democrats, and Santorum got a majority (not just a plurality) of Dems.
  • 39% called themselves moderate or liberal.
  • Santorum gets almost half the vote among those who dislike the other candidates more than they like their own candidates.
  • Nearly 3 in 8 Republican primary voters say abortion should be "always" or "mostly" legal.
  • 44% approved of the government bailing out the automakers.
  • Most fascinating of all (IMHO): Romney and Santorum tied among Tea Party supporters, with Santorum winning among those who do not support the Tea Party.

Republicans' irresponsibility comes back to bite them: Michigan republicans wasted $40 million of our tax dollars to hold this primary so they could anoint Romney as the nominee here in Michigan. Well, how's that turning out for you, Republicans? Your party is at war with itself, and now your frontrunner is trailing Obama by 16 points in Michigan.

State House races offer good signs for Democrats: The 29th and 51st State House districts had special elections to fill the remainders of the terms of Tim Melton (D-29th), who resigned, and Paul Scott (R-51st), who was recalled. Both were succeeded by members of their own parties, meaning there will be no change in the balance of power in the State House.

In November 2008 - a great election for Democrats - Paul Scott got 53% of the vote in the 51st House race. This time, with a much more Republican electorate, Joe Graves got a whopping 54%. One should be careful about reading too much into that, but with a much more Republican electorate voting yesterday (60% Republican statewide, according to CNN), do you not think Graves should've done much better than 54%?

Could it be that Michigan Republicans are in for a backlash for their anti-worker agenda?

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