Current and former State Republican Party chairs have two things to say about tomorrow’s G.O.P. caucus:
Here is current Chair Kirby Wilbur with Fox News:
For the first time in decades, Republican caucus-goers in Washington state may have a real say in who runs for president.
“We have always been the ugly sister who never gets invited to the dance,” Washington state Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur said. “But this year we’re the princess, and we really like it.”
And former Chair Chris Vance on KUOW:
Vance explains the candidate who “wins” Washington will have won a non-binding straw poll of caucus-goers. […]
But Vance says the results of the straw poll have nothing to do with which candidate gets the most delegates. And even then, in Washington, delegates aren’t committed to a candidate until they go to the state convention.
“So there is no accurate way to know who has won any delegates from Washington state,” Vance says.
So…tomorrow’s caucus are either: (1) The first time in forever that Washington state actually counts, or (2) a largely meaningless beauty contest.
The truth is somewhere in between. Clearly, whoever wins the beauty contest, will get some inertia and a fundraising boost. A Romney win will help solidify the perception that Romney is inevitable. A Santorum win will throw the contest into chaos until next Tuesday, when everyone will forget us. And a Ron Paul win will make us the laughing stock of the nation for a bit.
Who will win? Several months ago, before there was any polling, I would have said that the G.O.P. sheeple would go for the establishment candidate. In 2008 it was John McCain, who won both the primary and the caucus.
The 2008 primary results were pretty “mainstream” looking with 49.5% going for McCain and 24.1% going to Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul squeaked out 7.7% of the vote.
The 2008 caucus results brought out the fringe side of the state G.O.P. (and some controversy): 25.9% for McCain, 23.5% for Huckabee, and 21.6% for Ron Paul. Now you understand why Paul is focusing on caucus states….
There have been three polls taken this year for the 2012 G.O.P. caucus contest.
A mid-January SurveyUSA poll found Mitt leading the pack with 26%. Second was Newt Gingrich at 22% with Santorum nipping at his heels with 19%. Ron Paul squeaked out 7%.
In mid-February, PPP released a poll that put Santorum on top with 37%, Gingrich second with 20% with Mitt nipping at his heels at 18%. Ron Paul squeaked out 9%.
What a turn-around!
But today PPP released a new poll showing Mitt back on top with 37% and Santorum nipping at his heels with 32%. Ron Paul has surged to 16%, and the smartest man in the world, Newt, tumbling to 13%.
In other words…nobody has any fucking idea what is going to happen tomorrow. The volatility in the polls could be real—pollsters happened to capture the fall of Newt as well as the rise and fall of Santorum and the fall and rise of Mitt over these three polls. Or it could be issues of identifying people who will be caucusing.
From my perspective, the uncertainty adds to the entertainment value.
The uncertainty also provides some incentive for trouble-making—you know, Democrats pretending to be Republicans and showing up to caucus. It’s legal, even if you leave the event with the
taint stain of Santorum….
Here’s how you can participate on Saturday (I mean, you don’t want to miss out on the most important and influential Washington state beauty contest in your lifetime, now, do you?) Mitt Romney has a handy set of instructions to help you find your caucus location.
And don’t forget to stock up on popcorn for the post-caucus show. Entertainment is what you should expect from a “beauty contest.”