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W&L Mock Convention Sees Romney Landslide in Nevada

The student political researchers for Washington and Lee University’s Mock Convention are predicting a landslide win for Mitt Romney in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, with second place going to New Gingrich and third to Ron Paul.

With the Mock Convention itself less than a week away, the student political team has been gearing up to make its prediction of the eventual Republican nominee during the convention’s final session next Saturday, Feb. 11.

The Nevada prediction was issued by Spencer Frantz, a senior from Salem, Va., and the Nevada State Chair for the convention, along with Zach Wilkes, a senior from Farmersville, La., and the convention’s political chair, and the rest of the political team.

“Going into Saturday’s caucus, we expect Romney to garner at least 45 percent of the vote, and he could easily break the 50 percent threshold on Saturday night,” Frantz wrote on the Mock Convention’s blog site. “Gingrich should take 24 to 30 percent, with (Ron) Paul edging into third with 12 to 18 percent, and (Rick) Santorum winning the remaining 6 to 12 percent.”

• Live streaming of Mock Convention will be at mockconvention.com

In preparing their state predictions, members of the Mock Convention political team combine the latest polling data with correspondence with key political figures in each state. Previously, they picked Romney to win Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich to win South Carolina, and Romney to win Florida.

“Since his landslide victory in the Nevada caucus during the 2008 election cycle, Romney has maintained the most well-funded and established organization on the ground in Nevada,” wrote Frantz. “Gingrich is backed by millions of dollars in financing from Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, but his hastily organized campaign efforts in Nevada are a mess, marred by a recent struggle between his local and national campaign advisers about whether to tour the rural areas of the state to obtain support before the caucus.”

As for third place, Frantz notes that while recent polling gives an edge to Santorum, “Paul’s grassroots mobilization efforts are hard to quantify in polling data, and we believe that his supporters will show up and boost him above Santorum, especially considering that Santorum has already begun to campaign in Missouri and has no more official events scheduled in Nevada prior to the close of polls tomorrow night.”

In terms of the implications of Romney’s win, Wilkes wrote that “the sheer scale” of his win there will perpetuate the post-Florida momentum.

“The margin of victory is especially important to the Romney camp, though, because it will allow him to shirk off any potential underwhelming performances in the low turnout elections leading up to Arizona and Michigan at the end of the month,” added Wilkes. “For the Gingrich campaign, the result in Nevada should come as no surprise, but it is absolutely essential for Gingrich to continue to finish ahead of Santorum throughout the rest of the month.”

The quadrennial Mock Convention, in which W&L students choose the nominee of the party out of power, will feature major speakers. It has been correct more than 75 percent of the time, with only two incorrect predictions since 1948.

The Mock Convention festivities begin on Thursday, Feb. 9, with a debate between top Democratic strategist James Carville and GOP pundit Ann Coulter, followed by a speech by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. A parade throughout downtown Lexington will be held on Friday, Feb. 10. The lineup of speakers includes former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, House Majority Leader and Virginia Representative Eric Cantor, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, and former Oklahoma Represent J.D. Watts, among others.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, Feb. 9

5 p.m. — Debate between Ann Coulter and James Carville, moderated by POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Evans

7 p.m. — Opening Address by Gov. Mike Huckabee

Friday, Feb. 10

10 a.m. — Parade through Lexington

1 p.m. — Session One, featuring speeches by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and Virginia GOP leaders Gov. Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

7 p.m. — Session Two, featuring speeches by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and Rep. J.C. Watts

Saturday, Feb. 11

10 a.m. — Session Three, featuring speeches by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Gov. George Allen, Sen. Fred Thompson and Attorney General Henry McMaster

3 p.m. — Session Four, featuring keynote address by Gov. Haley Barbour and the Roll Call of the States, with the final prediction of the nominee

Kali McFarland ’12

(757) 404-1214

Katy Stewart ’13

(704) 560-2120

Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs

(540) 458-8459