Mitt Romney likely has the LDS community to thank for two of his six wins in yesterday’s Super Tuesday. While there are now entrance polls to verify this fact based on past voting patterns, it is very likely that the Mormon vote is what propelled Romney to both his big win in the Idaho caucus and his narrow victory in the Alaska caucus.
The chart and graph below show how important the Mormon factor has been for Romney. They show how well Romney has done in the Western States compared to each state’s overall Mormon population. The correlation is fairly strong.
In Idaho roughly a quarter of the population are members of the LDS, making it the second most Mormon state in the country. Mormons in Idaho helped give Romney his second largest share of the overall vote, just behind his home state of Massachusetts. Remarkably, Romney did better in Idaho than he did in Virginia, where Ron Paul was the only other candidate on the ballot.
In Alaska Romney just barely edged out Santorum by 3.9 percent. Given how strongly Mormons in other states have turned out to support Romney, I suspect it was the state’s roughly 4.4% Mormon population that put Romney over the top.
There’s been a lot of talk this cycle of how Romney struggles to gain support from strong conservatives. That is not entirely true. Romney’s problem is that he is struggling with non-Mormon strong conservatives, but he has done very well with Mormons who consider themselves conservatives. Fortunately for Romney, Mormons make up a large share of conservatives and the GOP primary vote in most Western states.
The Mormon vote has helped Romney to win six states in the West. It should guarantee him a big victory in Utah and should make him a heavy favorite in Hawaii (5% LDS), Montana (4.6% LDS) and Oregon (3.8% LDS). The combination of Romney support in the North East and Mormon vote in the West is what will let him build his delegate lead.
|Romney Share of the Vote||Romney Margin of Victory||Percent of State that is LDS|