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Who’s Craziest Now?

Given a string of crazy statements by Rick Santorum, the latest to rise to the top of the dung heap that typifies the Republican primary candidates, we thought it was time to see where the candidates’s support seems to be from. I found some statistics produced by Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard1 that summarizes the results of the first five primaries. It doesn’t separate out Ron Paul, unfortunately, but it covers the three front runners nicely. It’s likely that Perry’s and Cain’s votes would have gone to Gingrich and Santorum and that Romney would have gotten the rest, so the proportions are probably about right.

I’ve reproduced Jay Cost’s figures in the table below and then shown the percentages of each demographic (Moderate/Liberal, Somewhat Conservative and Very Conservative) in a chart. Bear in mind the fact that we’re talking about Republicans here, so “Moderate/Liberal” is probably a long way from what a Democrat would consider either Moderate or Liberal.

Surprisingly, Newt Gingrich’s claim that Santorum isn’t Conservative enough, at least so far, is born out by the fact that he reaps in the extreme right wing of the voters. It’s also noteworthy that Romney got two thirds of his votes from the Conservatives! It’s no wonder that the others are trying to characterize him as Moderate/Liberal.

It’s hard to categorize “crazy”, but it seems to me that Gingrich must win out on the sheer quantity of crazy statements and positions that he’s taken over the years, but Santorum is using every dog whistle that he can to pull in the uneducated, racist, rabid Christian extremist, Tea Party mob to support his cause. It doesn’t seem likely that he could pull many centrist Independents to his side in the real election. Given his positions on the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, education and the role of religion in government, that’s a good thing.

1 Morning Jay: Mitt Romney and Conservatives, Myths, and Realities.

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