Many readers took my December 21st advice and changed their party affiliation so they could vote in the Republican presidential preference primary in Florida.
It’s certainly been an interesting couple of weeks since then, when a CNN/ORC poll of 436 Republicans showed Romney and Gingrich tied with 28% of the vote, Paul with 14%, Bachman with 8%, Perry with 7%, Santorum with 4% and Huntsman with 2%.
But as this chart of Gallup’s daily GOP ballot tracking from November 6 – January 11 shows, the Gingrich/Romney tie was just a blip on the radar screen.
The trend – at least through the most recent survey (1/7 – 1/11) – supports what we’ve been hearing and reading: that Romney will be the Republican nominee.
So what was the point of changing our party affiliation? Was our strategy flawed?
No! There were never going to be enough of us to change the ultimate outcome. (See "The new Republicans: Influx of affiliation changes for Florida GOP primary" by Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster in the 1/5 Naples Daily News.)
But what we still might do is help delay the inevitable. We want Romney and his PACs to spend their time and money campaigning against other Republicans as long as possible. Once Romney's nomination is assured, the full force of their war chest will turn against Obama.
That said, it’s too soon to know which candidate has the best chance to keep going beyond Florida. Some pundits say it could be all over with South Carolina’s primary next Saturday, in which case it won’t matter who we vote for. But maybe it won’t be all over. Then a lot of Republican money will be spent in Florida making the case against Republicans. And then maybe we can help keep it going.
So even though you’ve already received your mail ballot (if requested) and even though early voting begins this Monday, sit tight.
Let’s assess the South Carolina outcome and follow-on polls before we decide how to use our vote most strategically.