Student leaders of the Stanford Republicans and Stanford Democrats predict that Republican Mitt Romney is most likely to win the party nomination, even after losing by 12 points in the recent South Carolina primary.
“Almost all the talk of [Stanford College Republicans] is about Romney,” wrote Mary Ann Toman-Miller ’14, president of the Stanford College Republicans, in an email to The Daily. [Toman-Miller is a Daily staffer.]
She also noted that College Republicans are enthusiastic about the election as a whole and are actively engaged in the nominating contest.
“Everybody that I have talked to in our group is preparing to strongly support whoever is our…nominee,” she wrote. “Our members have been very active watching the debates and feel that debating all the issues is vital for the country.”
Vice President of the Stanford Democrats Rahul Sastry ’13 agreed.
“In the long run Romney will win out,” he said. “He seems like he has a better-organized campaign that’s less prone to…volatility, and more substantial backing by party insiders.”
However, in a volatile race that has seen three different candidates win in each of the three states that have held votes so far, Romney is far from securing the nomination.
“It’s been really interesting to see the campaign…with so many ups and downs,” Sastry said. “It’s made for some great entertainment for people on both sides of the aisle.”
The Republican primary has had five national poll leaders in 2011, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Romney. Each has enjoyed momentary front-runner status in the press.
Perry and Cain have since dropped out of the race.
This kind of volatility has led news media outlets to dub the 2012 race the “most fluid” Republican primary ever.
Some believe this volatile primary may benefit Democratic nominee President Barack Obama come November.
“I think half [of Stanford Democrats’ membership] would like to see a drawn out race, where Romney, or the eventual candidate, is weakened by the people that are competing against him, so that makes it easier for Obama to campaign,” Sastry said. “But there’s the other argument that a drawn-out and competitive primary season will result in a stronger nominee, which was certainly the case between Hillary [Clinton] and Obama in 2008.”
Romney holds commanding leads in Florida polls, which will close on Tuesday. An NBC News/Marist poll conducted between Jan. 25 and Jan. 27 puts Romney ahead by 15 points in Florida. Despite this, Gingrich leads recent national polls by as much as nine points.
According to Sastry, there is a reason why Stanford students favor Romney.
“I think Gingrich is a bit of an extreme candidate, even by the party’s own measure,” he said. “I think people gravitate to Romney because he’s more moderate than Gingrich or Santorum.”