Thursday, February 2, 2012

Religion and the Republican Nomination

Despite the televised debate fireworks, many pundits admit there really is very little to differentiate one Republican contender's policies from another's - with the notable exception of Libertarian Ron Paul.  Well folks, let me tell you one stark difference between the four that are left is their religious beliefs.  Religion is big in America, and even bigger in the Republican party.  If 83% of Americans associate themselves with some religious sect, within the GOP it's got to be closer to 100%.  (Convenient for us, Dr. Watson.)  There will be 2286 delegates at the convention in Tampa, and the first candidate to get 50% +1 wins the Kewpie doll, and takes on Obama.  Yesterday we discussed Wikipedia's religions in America data which we took pretty much at face value, "scientifically" adjusting it to a minor and consistent degree only to make the numbers add up.  Because something like 93% of Mormon voters supported Romney in 2008, I wondered "what if all the delegates voted according to their religion at the GOP convention?"  Of course, things are not that simple because delegates are garnered in various ways in various states - and there might be fewer than four candidates by then - but, hey, it's fun to speculate.  If we assume that the Republican party enjoys the same religious diversity as the nation it serves, and all Catholics vote for the reinvented New Gingrich (sorry, it's Newt), he would get 22% of the delegates on the first ballot.  Likewise we'll assume all Fundagelicals (there I go again, it's Evangelicals) vote for Santorum, so he'd pocket 26.3%.  Poor old Mitt (what's that short for anyway?) Romney can only count on 93% of the 1.7% LDS vote, for 1.6% of the delegates at the convention based solely on religion.  The "unaffiliated" are probably like herding cats, so we'll give Dr. Ron ("Stirrups") Paul only half of that 26%, or 13% of first-round delegates.  Total delegates so far: 62.9%, based purely on religion.  The remaining 37.1% of delegates would be split probably among the three youngest, most religious nominees, giving another 12.4% to each on the first ballot.  Goodbye Dr. Paul (unfortunately).  Now the religulous horse-trading begins.  Dr. Paul releases his delegates to "vote their conscience".  Sick and tired of the Newt Romney dogfight, they all go to Santorum, who "comes up the middle" and wins with 26.3 + 12.4 + 13 = 51.7%.  The only problem (admittedly one of many re: this "fun with math" exercise) is that Rick Santorum didn't make it to the convention because he ran out of money.  Okay, now let's start all over again with three nominees ...