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Despite Rick Santorum-Mitt Romney Battle, the Michigan Primary Doesn't Even Matter

On the eve of the topsy-turvy Michigan primary that has had Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum jockeying back and forth for the lead in Romney’s home state, a bigger question than who will win looms over the race: Besides the symbolism of being Romney’s home state, does Michigan even matter? Besides a short momentum boost, Michigan may not provide much for either candidate. Here are three reasons why:

The popular election may not win the most delegates.

Michigan hands out delegates based on each individual congressional district, instead of proportionate to the popular vote throughout the state. Thus, Romney could win the popular vote based on high numbers in urban areas but lose the total delegate vote as Santorum wins the most separate congressional districts.

Super Tuesday is up ahead.

Regardless of who Michigan’s 29 delegates and Arizona’s 30 winner-take-all delegates end up with Tuesday night, the big prize is on next Tuesday, Super Tuesday. A total of 416 delegates are at stake from the 10 states’ primaries. And while candidates have opened up 20 point leads in some of Super Tuesday’s races, Ohio’s 63 electoral votes are still tightly contested between Romney and Santorum. Not only does the single state’s delegate total trump Arizona and Michigan combined, but perennial swing state Ohio provides a forecast for the general election.

Obama will win Michigan, anyways.

Regardless of the outcome, Tuesday’s winner is unlikely to be victorious in November. Unlike other rust belt states including Ohio and Pennsylvania, which still remain swing states, Michigan has not voted for a Republican president in over 20 years. And Republicans’ insistence that the auto bailouts harmed the country will not resonate with Michigan voters, many of whom benefitted from the bailouts and resurgent auto industry.

Though hotly contested and with the intrigue of Romney losing his home state, the effect of Tuesday's vote are proves little when considered the delegate allocation, next week's 416 delegates, and Michigan's support of Obama's auto bailout.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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