'Frontrunner' Romney Barely Getting More Votes Than He Did In '08

On February 7, 2008, Mitt Romney appeared on the stage of the Conservative Political Action Committee to end his pursuit of the presidency — and to unofficially kick off his 2012 campaign. In the following four years, Romney has essentially been running non-stop. So what have four years of campaigning and tens of millions of dollars spent by his campaign and friendly Super PACs gotten him?

About 100 extra votes a day.

In the eight states which have held nominating contests so far, Romney has only received 142,351 more votes in 2012 than he did in 2008. In five of those states (Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri), Romney actually received fewer votes this time around than he did in 2008. Notably, Romney outspent his closest competitor by $12 million in Florida, where he had his biggest vote increase from 2008, and he lost South Carolina — where he had his second biggest improvement — by a whopping 13 points.

This chart shows Romney’s vote totals in 2012 and 2008, and the difference between the two cycles.

According to the most recent figures, Romney’s campaign has spent $37,209,679 on the campaign, and Restore Our Future — the most prominent pro-Romney super PAC — has chipped in roughly $17 million. That means that Romney’s spent roughly $46 dollars on each vote that he’s gotten so far, and roughly $595,604 on each of his 91 delegates. At this pace, in order to reach the 1144 delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination, Romney would have to spend about $681 million.

Despite Romney’s failure to attract much additional support, he has still managed to go from an also-ran to a frontrunner. One explanation for how he’s done it is low Republican enthusiasm. Republicans have not gotten any more excited to vote over the past 6 months than they were before the campaign kicked into high gear, and voter turnout has been lower in 2012 than it was in 2008 in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.

Romney may be the favorite to win the Republican nomination, but judging by these numbers, Republicans aren’t especially happy about it.

*Note: The election results cited above were gathered from the Associated Press and New York Times


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