What to Watch for in Today's Primaries
Alabama, Mississippi primaries could seal the deal for Romney
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2012 7:24 AM CDT
Updated Mar 13, 2012 7:57 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters who braved the rain during a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Monday, March 12, 2012 in Mobile, Ala.   (AP Photo/ John David Mercer)

(Newser) – Today's primaries in Mississippi and Alabama are playing an unexpectedly pivotal role in the GOP presidential race. What to keep an eye on, per NPR and Politico:

  • Will Mitt finally win in the South? He's failed to take any of the southern states so far, but he's polling well in both Alabama and Mississippi. Will today be the day he proves he can compete in the famously conservative region? Both states veer particularly sharply to the right, so both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum really want to beat Romney here to burnish their conservative bona fides.
  • Will Newt lose in the South? Gingrich has called both states must-win for him; in order to stay in the race, he'll likely have to win at least one and perform well in the other.

  • Will Romney win both? It may seem unlikely based on his history with southern primaries, but polls put him either in the lead or tied in both states, he has the best organization, and many Republican leaders back him. If he manages to win both, he'll basically have the nomination sealed up.
  • What about Santorum? It's Gingrich chasing Romney in both states, meaning Santorum will likely not get his clear shot at the anybody-but-Mitt vote. But even if Gingrich wins, he won't push Santorum out of the race.
  • How are the delegates distributed? It's all about the delegate count at this point, and—assuming no one candidate wins a majority—the delegates will be distributed in both states based on the percentages each candidate wins.

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Mar 13, 2012 4:14 PM CDT
I read half the republicans in those states think Obama is a Muslim. I imagine they'll be confused when they can't find Bachman, Cain, or Perry on the ballot
Mar 13, 2012 3:36 PM CDT
I plan to continue ignoring this freakshow.
Mar 13, 2012 8:22 AM CDT
hmmm ... let's see ... what to watch for ... people standing in lines ... and ... walking to machines, alone and in private, to cast votes ... other people waving signs ... locals seated behind tables verifying residency ... OH ... and on TV ... inCESsant yammering about ANYthing even reMOTEly connected WITH the primary. Computer generated graphs and charts tracking ANYthing that looks like an UPtick or a DOWN turn ... uhhhh ... what else ... OH yeah ... "talking heads" dominating the news channels from at least an hour BEFORE the polls close and "calling" the primaries within MINUTES OF the polls closing ... reports on "exit polling" about what left handed, red headed, union goat herders said about the price of goose down ... Fox News implying that EVery SINgle vote is a comment on Obama's utter incompetence ... and MSNBC being equally vocal about EACH and EVery vote being a comment on the "un-electability" of ANY of the Republicans ... That should cover most of it.