Mercer Political Scientist on GOP Presidential Race

7:22 AM, Mar 15, 2012   |    comments
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Mercer Political Science Professor Lori Johnson spoke Tuesday on Eyewitness News Mornin' about the lay of the political land in the GOP race for president. 

Currently, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds 495 delegates; Rick Santorum follows with 252; Georgia's Newt Gingrich comes in third with 131; and Ron Paul lags behind with 48 delegates.  Ron Paul has yet to win a state in a primary or caucus.

Johnson told 13WMAZ's Stephanie Susskind, while a Santorum surge is possible, she believes a Romney nomination to be likely based on the numbers.  She said it would take a major upheaval for Santorum to overcome Romney's lead.

Johnson also analyzed the support base behind Gingrich and Paul.  She shared her opinion that, if he steps out of the race, Paul's voters are unlikely to support another candidate because of their steadfast commitment to his unique ideals. 

But, Johnson believes Gingrich's base would be more likely to back Rick Santorum because of their religious affiliations and social conservatism.

Johnson also shared her opinion that Ron Paul, in spite of his fourth place status, would be unlikely to leave the field before the nominating convention because, in her words, "he's not in it to win it" but rather to promote his platform.

The nominating convention is in Tampa in August.

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