Connect to share and comment
Polling a state with such a small cadre of dedicated caucus-goers is a risky affair but Romney may be in the lead.
Three days before the ballyhooed Super Tuesday elections, the Washington state will hold its unpredictable GOP primary caucuses tonight, with the potential to give the winner a shot in the arm ahead of the crucial March 6 voting in ten other states.
The doors have opened at caucusing locations where turnout is expected to be low and dominated by the most enthusiastic voters, according to CBS News.
More from GlobalPost: Michigan primary: Romney splits delegates with Santorum despite win
This has made polling difficult and the outcome hard to foresee, according to Nate Silver of The New York Times’ blog FiveThirtyEight.
Public Policy Polling, the Democratic-aligned poling agency, released survey results, yesterday indicating that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who won the Feb 28 Arizona and Michigan primaries, has regained the upper hand among Washington voters after trailing rival Rick Santorum.
Romney now leads Santorum 37 percent to 32 percent with 16 percent favoring libertarian candidate Ron Paul and 13 percent siding with Newt Gingrich, according to the poll.
However Silver calls this assessment “brave” as outcomes in similar circumstances can be erratic. PPP “significantly” underestimated Santorum’s scores in both Colorado and Minnesota, according to Silver.
Silver notes that 25 percent of Washington registered voters identify as evangelicals but since most are Republican they will be a larger share of tonight’s vote. Two percent to 3 percent of voters are Mormons and PPP has estimated that they will account for 14 percent of the vote, Silver observes.
More from GlobalPost: Peru, Latin America's hidden growth story
A Wikipedia map of results from 2008 shows “an almost random-seeming distribution of county winners from among four Republican candidates,” Silver wrote.
According to CBS, the state has 40 delegates for candidates to collect. Ron Paul has been banking on a strong showing, running ads and campaigning in the state while other candidates focus on the battle ground tests in Ohio and elsewhere.
Results are expected starting at 8 pm EST.