I told you April might prove to be rather the rough month for the presidential campaign of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and it certainly seems to have started out that way:
This past Tuesday- 3 April- former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won all three Presidential Primaries held that day: more importantly, he outscored Santorum in Republican National Convention delegates bound/pledged to presidential contenders in those contests, 83 to 9.
By this website's "soft" count (admittedly, a "best estimate" as to how each presidential candidate is doing- as measured in "delegate equivalence" [through which we try our best to- using the number of National Convention delegates assigned to each State or equivalent jurisdiction- ascertain the effects of the results of the voting in the Presidential Primaries and/or Caucuses held so far on the overall race for the presidential nomination]), Governor Romney is now nearly 400 delegates ahead of Senator Santorum- his nearest rival for the GOP prize- and the math "down the road" looks altogether bleak for the Pennsylvanian, at least in the near term.
Come Tuesday 24 April, the 5 Presidential Primaries scheduled for that day (Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Santorum's own Pennsylvania and Rhode Island), 209 delegates in toto are "up for grabs": if Romney wins just under half of these (a feat seeming, as of this typing, not all that unlikely)- 104- he would end up with over that 750 of which I wrote- back on 28 March:
if Romney ends up with significantly more than that by then [which would then have him running ahead of the percentage of total delegates in States which will have, by then, have already started their Republican National Convention delegate selection process as far as Romney's own percentage of "soft"-counted delegates in relation to the 1144 he would need in order to 'clinch' the GOP presidential nomination], that would not be good for Santorum's presidential ambitions at all!
Granted: 766 (Romney's currently "soft-count"ed 662 + 104 [1/2 of 24 April's 209]) delegates is not really "significantly more than" 750... but 800 would be and that plateau would be reached- at least in our own "soft" count- if Romney takes but at least 138 of these 209 being bound/pledged on 24 April...
Delaware awards 17 delegates Winner-Take-All statewide; Connecticut gives presidential contenders 3 delegates per each of 5 Congressional Districts with 10 at-large delegates given to the statewide winner if that candidate can gain a majority of the popular vote (a trailing contender only gets at-large delegates if he a.) can gain at least 20% of the vote while b.) keeping the Primary winner under 50% of that vote; New York State does the same as Connecticut with its 34 at-large delegates and also gives 2 delegates to the winning candidate in each of its 29 (pre-2010 Census) Congressional Districts; Rhode Island, meanwhile, gives the winning candidate in each of its 2 Congressional Districts 8 delegates... point is: given Romney's track record in New England and the Mid-Atlantic Region so far, it is fairly easy to come up with scenarios in which most (though not all) of the delegates being bound/pledged in these four States would very likely go to Romney... it is far harder to come up with scenarios in these same four Primaries that would allow Santorum to use them in order to close the gap with Romney.
Santorum's "trump card" may well be his own native Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, although it certainly would not at all help his presidential ambitions to lose the popular vote in the Presidential Primary there: still, there is that 'Loophole' system of direct National Convention delegate selection that might still allow Santorum to win more delegates from there even should he lose the "beauty contest" portion of the balloting in the Keystone State...
problem is: my oft-stated premise, on this website, that it isn't about the popular vote; it's about delegates cuts both ways (for what if Santorum actually wins his home State's popular vote, but Romney still comes away with the lion's share of the Pennsylvania delegates?-- such a scenario would then simply have to appear next to the term Pyrrhic victory in the dictionary!).
But, even putting aside the above prognostication as to what might- or might not- happen come Tuesday 24 April, the numbers already don't help Senator Santorum's cause (let alone that of either former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or Texas Congressman Ron Paul):
Right now, there are over 1,120 delegates still unassigned in this website's "soft" count: if we assume (not at all an unlikely scenario now) that Mitt Romney gains but half of these (just over 560) the rest of the way, he will end up with more than 1,220 (more than 100 more than needed to be nominated) in our "soft" count...
but even our site's "hard" count- as of this typing- offers no real "safe harbor" for Rick Santorum's presidential aspirations: give Romney half of the delegates still outstanding there (that would be 557) and add it to his already accrued 536 "hard"-counted National Convention delegates and that gives Romney 1,093, just 51 short of the number necessary for the presidential nomination... there are already 274 Uncommitted delegates in our "hard" count: it would be dangerous to presume that Romney can't get at least 51 of these over to his side (I have already opined that- should Romney come up short at the end of this whole Primary/Caucus "season" but still be in four digits in delegates [1,093 in this hypothetical would certainly apply!]- it would be altogether difficult to deny him the nomination: here's one reason why!).
Senator Santorum- in his speech to his supporters gathered in Mars, PA this past Tuesday evening- said he hoped to have "a great May"... well, he'd better have an even greater late April or he might not even still be a viable presidential contender come May!