(1) The 2008 Democratic primary was more about degrees than differences. Debating whose universal health care plan was more universal or who was against the Iraq war first is different than Romney saying his opponents are attacking the root of capitalism or Santorum/Gingrich saying Romney is really a moderate and not conservative at all. You didn't have the same schism of who the "real" Democrat was.
I don't know about that. It got pretty ugly. Far uglier than the GOP primary last time around.
(2) The 2008 Democratic primary was down to two people before February.
Which could be interpreted a couple different ways though.
We still have four GOP candidates running with no one getting better than a weak plurality. The "best" candidate still has two-thirds of the primary electorate not picking him.
Huh? You're looking at opinion polls, not actual election results. Of secured delegates, Romney currently has twice as many as all the other three candidates combined (so he's won 2/3rds of the delegates). He's won twice as many states as the next closest candidate, and just under 2/3rds of the total (14 out of 23). He's got as many wins as the second place guy (Santorum) has wins and second places
At this point (by number of states, and not date), Obama and Clinton were neck and neck with Clinton having a slight lead. Coming out of super Tuesday (which that year was Feb 5th), neither of them had a huge lead. Compared to either of them, Romney is wiping the floor with the competition.
The shocking thing really is that the media still plays this like he isn't doing well enough.
This is where the split conservative votes between Santorum & Gingrich is really benefiting Romney in the delegates fight.
Only if you assume that if one of them dropped out, their votes would go to the other. And even then, Romney would have a commanding lead. Certainly he has a bigger lead over both of their delegate counts 23 states in than Clinton had over Obama 29 states into the race last time around.
And let's be honest here. Santorum and Gingrich are on kinda distant edges of the conservative envelope. Santorum's faith and values folks aren't likely to all break for Gingrich, and Gingrich's balanced budget/small government supporters are vastly more likely to break for Romney than Santorum. Take either out of the race and Romney's lead likely grows, not the other way around.
(3) The 2008 Democratic primary battle didn't have the same bruising effect.
I think that this is the talking point of the media recently. I don't think I agree with it. There was some brutal stuff that went on between Clinton and Obama last time around.
The worst favorability Obama endured during the 2008 season was -2 during the Jeremiah Wright thing and generally stayed above water throughout. Romney's favorability has gone from -1 (Oct 2011) to -16 today.
Measured how? I'm curious what source you're using because there's a lot of different ways to measure this. What's that number based on? Where do they get their base number?
It's just interesting to me because I keep hearing nothing but journalists and pundits talking about how unpopular Romney is, and how no one supports him, and voters don't like him, even while he turns in one of the most powerful open primary performances I've seen in my lifetime (maybe even the most powerful). It makes me suspect that a lot of that is perception being pushed by the media and doesn't match reality when people actually go out and vote.
None of this is to say it'll cause anyone to win or lose or whatever. But there's a reason why this contest is making the GOP nervous.
Again, I think that's the story. And it's not a bad one. Suppose it gives the pundits something to write about. Edited, Mar 7th 2012 2:54pm by gbaji