msnbc | April 03, 2012
>>> ropes in wisconsin with front-runner mitt romney hoping to deliver a crushing political blow that will send his opponent reeling and open up a clear path to the 1,144 delegates needed. here is what's at stake tonight. 39 delegates in the badger state , but also a campaign statement on the victor on the march to tampa . also casting votes in maryland and washington , d.c. two primaries where governor romney is expecting to cruise. santorum is trying to close the gap . there's a new message popping up on the trail. santorum is fighting the calls to step aside, calling on grass roots conservatives to lead the charge at the polls.
>> let me ask you, small town maryland . rural america and rural wisconsin to come out and speak loudly.
>> while the numbers come in from pennsylvania , mitt romney will be in milwaukee ,burban voters will come out and deliver a resounding win.
>> i need you to get out and vote it get your friends to do the same thing. get me the support we need to keep america, the america we know and love.
>> nbc 's peter alexander live for us this morning in milwaukee . peter, the romney camp hasn't been shy about their hopes for this evening. what's the message they wanted to deliver and how crucial is wisconsin to rick santorum and continuing his campaign.
>> good questions, thomas . a senior adviser for the romney campaign telling me today they expect to have a good night. they say they'll do well in maryland . they'll do well in washington , d.c. they also say wisconsin will be in their eyes closer than the polls show. they're trying to build up in their eyes expectations for rick santorum . he has spent more time than the romney campaign has. romney is hered too. rick santorum raising money in texas before heading to his home state of pennsylvania this evening. they've put the pressure on santorum , going ahead to the next state . april 24th , one of the next states to vote, pennsylvania . they made the point the romney campaign won with more than 70% of the vote in his home state of massachusetts . gingrich won in his home state of georgia . they say santorum should win in pennsylvania . here's what the latest figures from quinnipiac show. they show that santorum leads there by just six percentage points there now, 41%-35% according to the latest figures. they're confident an upset could put the nail in the coffin for the santorum campaign. nonetheless, here in wisconsin , a state that's not used to having much of a say during the primary process voting so late in the season -- i spoke today to a tea party board member outside of milwaukee about an hour and a half away, she tells me, we will have to be satisfied with mitt romney if he becomes the republican nominee and says, we'll be forced to vote for him this fall. thomas ?
>> nbc 's peter alexander for us in milwaukee . peter, thank you.
>>> joining me now is hogan, the national campaign director for the santorum campaign. it's great for you to make time for us this morning. i know you guys are hoping for big results. as we talk about senator santorum vowing to stay in the race no matter what happens today, does he just continue to be a roadblock to mitt romney reaching that magic number of 1,144 before tampa ? as we look at it, no matter how you slice it, your candidate ends up with a major delegate disadvantage. how will you say your candidate will represent the republican party for president when he doesn't represent the sum of republicans?
>> first, as you mentioned, this is a march to tampa . you don't wake up in tampa and you're the nominee. you've got to get to 1,144 if you want to be the nominee. mitt romney is a long way off from that. we have a long way to go. we're at the halfway point. this starts the second half today. obviously, wisconsin is going to be a close race. we're not sure about maryland or washington , d.c. we expect romney to do well in the d.c. area, no shock there. it might be unanimous. i don't know if we'll pick up a single vote because of the vitriol they have for someone like rick santorum in wanting to shake up the process. we have a long way to go, though. pennsylvania will play a huge role in that, not just in the primary, but also in the general. we think rick santorum has the ability to win pennsylvania . we think he has the ability to have the conservatives coalesce behind him, but at this point, we're still halfway through the proce process, and two-thirds of republicans don't want mitt romney to be the nominee. i'm sure he thought it was going to be a coronation, but it's not. it's an election process, and he takes a long time. mitt romney 's staff said we'd go ahead and win pennsylvania . fine, if they want to see pennsylvania and pull out every dollar they spent and pull out for the next states, we're happy to do that.
>> we know this is a fight.
>> as you say, mitt romney being a long way off, if that's the way you describe him and his campaign, then the santorum campaign will be a long, long way off, delegate count of 1,144. as you say, the senator wants to push on to pennsylvania , but as we take a look at the numbers in his home state , a march quinnipiac poll had rick santorum up 14 points on mitt romney , now it's down to 6. shouldn't you be crushing mitt romney in pennsylvania right now?
>> pennsylvania is a diverse and large state , but it also reflects the fact that mitt romney has already spent a ton of money on robocalls. i talked to ten people in the state who already said they received 11 robocalls from mitt romney alone. he really is playing for keeps , and that's fine. we need to do well in pennsylvania . it's his home state . they know him best, and he's got a relationship with people. he's been able to deliver many things for that state and represent them very well in washington . we think that's going to help us in the eventual turnout and the eventual outcome. make no mistake, mitt romney 's doing the same thing he's done everywhere else, and that is spend a ton of money tearing down his opponents, refusing to talk about his own record, and pennsylvania is no different.
>> hogan, thank you from the santorum campaign, making time for us this morning. we appreciate t
>>> with voting already under way in wisconsin , it's time to take a closer look at how the primary will shake out with the man who knows better than anybody else. nbc political director chuck todd is the host of the daily rundown on msnbc. chuck, we've seen these trends from nearby states. the rural areas supporting rick santorum . suburban republicans being a stronghold gop rich for mitt romney . where are they going to get their votes today?
>> the question is right. demographics, destiny here. geographically, let's look here. milwaukee is hung out in the media market . that's down here. that's where some half of the congressional district delegates are going to be available. he'll do well here tonight. dane county is madison. this could be more competitive than people think. usually in a more progressive, liberal college town , you actually have a lot more hard-core conservative voters as well, sort of as, quote, the anecdote or whatever. santorum could do well there. the biggest place he'll do well, santorum , is green bay . that's brown county . and then, of course, all of this area. and this is where he could win three or four congressional districts . the vote is going to be about what are romney 's margins in these media markets? the question is, of course, demographics. is it destiny? let's talk about illinois , michigan , and ohio , and where does wisconsin fit on this scale? according to our marist numbers, 35% of wisconsin republicans are college garage the watts. that's lower than illinois , michigan , and ohio . looks more like those deep south states. on this demographic, you would say advantage santorum . he has done well with non-college graduates. let's look at two other places we go. religion. wherever evangelicals have made up less than 50% of the republican vote, mitt romney has run won. according to our polling, 39% of the vote is evangelical. compare that to illinois , where romney won by 12, 43%. michigan , where romney won by 3%, 3.5%. 42% in ohio . that one-point victory, 49%. so here, advantage romney . let's go to income. we made the cut at 75,000. lower income is 65%. higher income 35% split. 100,000 is the exit poll split. look where wisconsin slots in, in between illinois and michigan again, not quite as low income as ohio . what does that mean? here are the margins. romney won by a point, most evangelical, lower income, less college educated. illinois , a lot higher income, a lot less evangelical. romney won by double digits. what's the wisconsin number going to be? if you were to do this like spreads, thomas , you would make romney a five-point favorite, and you would say, i wouldn't be surprised if it's somewhere in this range, five to ten points, if demographics are destiny. but turnout is a whole other story.
>> nbc political director chuck todd . always a reminder, you can catch chuck every morning on the "the daily rundown" at 9:00 a.m . on msnbc.