November 25, 2015

Analysis of the Alabama and Mississippi GOP Presidential Primaries

Here are the exit polls for the Alabama and Mississippi primaries.

Here is my quick analysis on the data presented by the exit polls.

1. In two states with sizable black populations, 93% of the Alabama GOP and 97% of the Mississippi GOP electorate that showed up to the polls were white. Due to Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”, “white flight”, abuse of “states’ rights” appeals with nefarious undertones, and a whole host of other socio-political factors emanating from the GOP over the past half century, the GOP continues to fail to relate to the black community and continues to fail to communicate their platform with inclusive terms and actions.

2. Rick Santorum polls very well among people who describe themselves as “very conservative”. Mitt Romney polls very well among people who describe themselves as “moderate”. Newt Gingrich was pretty even across the board from moderate to very conservative voters.

3. Santorum’s unfortunate choice of words to describe Barack Obama’s efforts to make college education accessible to all did not affect his standing among college educated Republicans in the South. Santorum’s numbers from this crowd fall in line with his overall numbers. College educated Republicans, especially in the South, do not take Santorum’s gaffe of calling Obama a “snob” for wanting everybody to go to college as an insult. That line plays well to a college educated Republican crowd that attended reputable moderate to conservative public and private colleges and view the liberal scholars and culture of Northeast and West Coast public and private institutions with suspicion.

4. Santorum and Gingrich supporters are much more passionate about their candidate than Romney supporters are.

5. Rick Santorum is doing just fine with Republican women. He won a plurality of Republican women according to exit polls conducted in Alabama and Mississippi.

6. Santorum is polling well among Republican working women. Despite caricatures of Santorum in the media as a Puritanical social warrior who would send the country back to the colonial days, Republican working women, many of whom embrace feminism but reject controversial aspects of second and third wave feminism, take a more nuanced view of Santorum’s beliefs and do not view him as a theocrat waging a “war on women”.

7. Santorum wins a majority of people who believe that having strong moral character is the most important trait of a President. Santorum’s appeal is not his experience (he has plenty), his electability (questionable), or his conservative credentials (equally questionable). His trump card is his character.

8. Evangelical Christians (more diverse than you think), were crucial in delivering a victory for Rick Santorum, a Roman Catholic. While many Evangelical Christians believe that the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is sharply distinct from historical Christianity, it does not mean they are anti-Mormon and Mitt Romney’s numbers among Evangelical Christians were very close to his overall numbers. Mitt Romney’s religion is not as big a political issue as some in the media make it to be.

9. Santorum won among people who believed it was important for candidates to be open about their religious faith and to share their religious values. An overwhelming majority of the Southern GOP electorate adheres to the Evangelical tradition of Christianity. It wasn’t too long ago that a Catholic Presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy, had to endure questions about his faith from Protestant Christians fearing that he would be a theocrat taking orders from the Pope. Folks with an elementary knowledge of Evangelical Christianity might scratch their heads at how Evangelicals who value shared religious values can rally behind a Catholic considering that Catholicism has distinct theological differences from Evangelical Christianity. It can be explained in a small part due to the fact that none of the top three GOP Presidential candidates are from an Evangelical tradition. If Mike Huckabee was in the race, he would have an inherent advantage in Alabama and Mississippi.

It can be explained in a larger part due to the fact that much of the anti-Catholicism in this country has disappeared in all sectors of society. Also, contrary to reports and analyses from those with little understanding of Bible Belt politics, Evangelicals on the whole are not looking for a theocrat. Most mainstream Evangelicals like separation of church and state and simply value high moral character and promote values as a means to maintain order in a chaotic world, not to impose a certain brand of faith on the population (The hot button social issues are very nuanced and explaining the different world views here would be a digression.). Yet, these reasons do not fully account for the passion this group of voters feel for Santorum.

Growing up in the South, I know that folks talk openly and honestly about how faith is working in their lives just like how other folks talk about the weather. That is just the culture. It does not matter if the person is a politically conservative Evangelical, a politically liberal Evangelical (yes, politically liberal/theologically conservative Christians do exist), a Roman Catholic, or anything in between. Faith is just a common, casual, non-controversial topic of conversation. People don’t have to agree on every theological issue. They just have to be open to the shared journey of exploring and discovering faith. Modern day American Catholics are not known to be as open about their faith as Evangelical Christians are, but even lay Southern Catholics are more comfortable discussing their faith than their Northeastern counterparts. Rick Santorum, a Christian of the Roman Catholic tradition who is very comfortable talking openly about his faith, naturally scores very well among the group of voters who believe it is important for candidates to be open about their faith.

About Phil Tran

Phil Tran is the premier political consultant and web developer for pro-life female candidates and elected officials in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a political independent.


  1. Leon Day says:

    It is interesting not that Mitt Romney has lived a life what Christians should be–faithful to wife for over 40 years, successfully raised and educated sons and demonstrated compassione heart by giving 15% 0r 7 million dollars from his 2011 earnings to charity (various organizations). Newt, Santorum and Ron did not tithe. These three do not have any experiences in creating jobs, fixing broken economy and governing a State. Mitt Romney has and will turn-around our broken economy, cut spending, cut taxes and cut excess fat out of Washington DC. We need to unite behind Mitt Romney and win in November. Jeb Bush, one of our party leader has endorsed Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney will beat Obama in November.

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    • Leon Day says:

      Nice to hear from you and thanks for your kind words. As I said before, we need to unite with Mitt Romney and win in November. Three cheers for Jeb Bush for endorsing Mitt.

      Santorum is a proven failure and extremist beyond our imagination. Santorum’s own constituents in Pennsylvania judged that he is not fit to be their representative by a large margin. He professes to be a pro-lifer but voted for Planned Parenthood. He professes to be Christian but did not even tithe on a million dollars earnings in 2011. Santorum only gave 1.5%. Santorum is a true FAKE and he failed re-election bid in Pennsylvania by a wide margin. Mitt Romney gave 15% of his 2011 earnings or nearly 7 million dollars. This clearly proves Mitt’s compassionate heart. Mitt is a true compassionate conservative.

      Santorum is an extremist and reminds us of reverand Wright of Chicago. Santorum has attended, identified and embraced extreme ministers. He recently attended a meeting in Lousiana where minister said: “if you do not worship Jesus Christ and agree with his thoughts, you should get the hell out of the US and move out of USA.” Such a thought is dangerous to our hard won constitutional republic and our way of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

      Santorum is uniquely unfit and a fake to be our leader and Pennsylvania voters ejected him with a wide margin. Santorum cannot work with Repbulicans and Dems and will create CHAOS in Washington DC. He will continue with malise in Wahsington DC, accelarate our national debt and shatter our economy endangering capacity to defend our freedom, and our way of life because, healthy and growing enconomy is needed to pay for that freedom and our way of life.
      Santorum recently spoke in Gettysburg reminding voters in Lousiana that Southerners were killed in mass and lost the Civil War and Southerner’s State’s rights. Disgusting!!!– stooping so low to appeal to voters in Lousiana, Arkansas and Texas. Santorum is an irresponsible speaker.

      Mitt Romney has proven and will fix our broken-econmy, cap and balance the budget and turn-around and put us on path toward elminating the CANCER of our nation–growing national debt which is over 70 trillion dollars that includes toal unfunded liabilities. Mitt Romney is a good family man and a model for all Christians–faithful to his wife for over 40 years and raised outstanding sons to be emulated by all parents–the real parenthood to emulate. Mitt has proved and will create jobs and will open new markets for us. Mitt was successful in creating 100,000 jobs and successfully created new businesses for us.

      Mitt Romney is VISIONARY and proved in private sector–created STAPLES and many others to better meet our needs and fix many common consumer problems. MItt is resolute and fixed 3 billion dollars deficit in MASS into 2 billion dollars surplus and importantly, he cut taxes 19 times and worked effectively to push the CONSERVATIVE agenda in DEMOCRAT dominant MASS when he governed that State. We need Mitt to govern the USA.

      We do not need Santorum, an extremist finger controlling our nuclear trigger in the White House. Santorum will get us involved in pointless, wasteful conflicts both in the US and international–his policy would be “everythings goes.”

      As Jeb Bush call for unity and supported Mitt Romney , we need Mitt and it is time to unite and vote for him. Mitt will win in November.

  3. cynthia curran says:

    Dick Nixon actually lost some states in the South to Wallace and Humphrey in 1968. He did better in the west. Richard Nixon had a western winning way not a southern one. Dick Nixon didn’t like the south that much but So Calif was his south.

  4. cynthia curran says:

    RIchard Nixon better to win in Orange County and San Diego than Dallas and Houston Texas.

    • Leon Day says:

      Hi Cynthia, pray that Mitt will win Wisconsin, Maryland, NC, California and NY. A read an article in WSJ indicating that Carl Rove directed Simmons, a billionnaire doner, from Texas to Santorum. I wonder if Carl Rove is working behind the scene with Santorum to achieve a lengthy nomination process that will result in the floor-fight and destroy upcoming 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa.

      Carol Rove was the architect of rise and fall of Bush and his honesty/trust worthiness is questionabel.

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