Chart from the Abulsme.com 2012 Republican Delegate Count Graphs page. When a candidate gets down to 0%, they have cinched the nomination. If they get up past 100%, they have been mathematically eliminated. Rather than the date on the x-axis, we show the “% of Delegates Already Allocated” as this better represents the progress through the race. Note that these numbers include estimates of the eventual results of multi-stage caucus processes which will be refined as the later stages occur.
So it appears that the last 34 delegates from Super Tuesday, a handful each from Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee, have been determined. 17 more to Romney, 8 more to Gingrich and 5 more to Santorum. But wait, that is only 30! Well, according to Green Papers, 4 of the 63 delegates that were up for grabs in Ohio end up officially “Uncommitted”, which (I think) means we won’t actually know which way they may go until we know which actual human beings end up being those delegates and those people say publicly who they plan on supporting (which they may or may not actually do before the convention).
All in all, today’s results are once again a win for Romney. He got 56.7% of today’s delegates, which was way more than the 48.5% he needed to continue to move closer to the nomination rather than further way. His “% of remaining needed to win” drops now to 48.4%. For the other candidates, the effect on the other side is more dramatic. Santorum is still in 2nd place, but his “% of remaining needed to win” moves up from 64.5% to 65.5%. Romney may not yet be rapidly moving toward cinching the nomination, but the non-Romneys are rapidly moving toward being mathematically eliminated.
Looking at the non-Romney’s for a minute, the next few states are expected to favor them. Perhaps Santorum will win some. Perhaps Gingrich will win some. But to actually be on a pace to win, Santorum has to not just win a state, but win by a huge margin, getting more than 65.5% of the delegates. For Gingrich it is even worse, he would need to win getting 67.8% of the delegates. (For completeness, Paul would need to get more than 71.7%.)
Even with Romney expected to not be strong in these states, with four candidates in the race, you don’t expect anybody to be able to pull that kind of level except in winner take all (or winner take almost-all) states. Of the next few coming up… in Kansas, Guam, Northern Marianas, Virgin Islands, Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa there are as usual complicated delegate rules (and the territories might only select uncommitted delegates), but none of them are straight up winner takes all. (Some allow for certain situations that could lead there though.) Bottom line, 65.5% (or more) is a pretty big ask and seems unlikely.
Which means that even if Santorum or Gingrich win some states (as expected) in terms of delegates they will almost certainly still both be heading closer to mathematical elimination rather than closer to the nomination. The big thing to look at will once again be looking at how well the non-Romney’s collectively block Romney from getting the 48.4% of the delegates he needs to be closing in on the nomination himself. With strong performance by the non-Romney’s in the next few contests, they may well be able to achieve this, even if they don’t actually help themselves individually.