Super Tuesday: From the Massachusetts Polls

The economy.

That pretty much sums up the mindset for voters on Super Tuesday in Boston. This morning, I visited the Boston Public Library polling location in Copley Square and Boston University’s polling locations to find out what’s on voter’s minds during the Republican primary election.

“If Newt or Santorum wins, I will have to move to Canada,” said Jane Wiseman, an Independent, who voted for Mitt Romney.

Wiseman said she finds Newt Gingrich’s and Rick Santorum’s policies too extreme, and that she finds Romney was the candidate who could fix the economy.

Sixty-four percent of Republican and Independent Massachusetts residents are projected to vote for our former governor, according to a recent YouGov survey. And Romney could certainly benefit from the boost of Massachusetts’ 41 delegates, 38 of which are proportionally assigned to candidates who gain at least 15 percent of the vote. This system allows Rick Santorum to clean up the last few delegates himself.

Santorum, who strongly identifies with social issues and the religious population, doesn’t seem to have a lot of support in Boston, even though about 58 percent of Massachusetts residents are Christian, according to the 2000 census. But, as we all know, Massachusetts has never identified as extremely socially conservative — not to mention that many voters said the economy is the driving factor in this election, and social issues don’t matter as much to them.

“I question Santorum’s sincerity with those issues,” said Kimberly Raynor, a moderate Republican, who voted for Romney. “I think he just wants to get elected. I believe he’s a good, God-fearing Catholic, but I don’t want religion running my life.”

Mike Benedetti, a Republican who voted for Romney, agreed, and said he doesn’t think social issues would have as great of a weight in determining the next president. “It’s social pandering to the Republican base,” said Benedetti. “If they campaign more for that in the November election, it could hurt them.”

It seems as if Romney’s win in Massachusetts is close to a sure thing, but every election has its surprises.

One voter questioned Republican unity, despite seemingly widespread Massachusetts support for Romney. “There’s a lot of reservation on the Republican side,” said Greg Timilty, a Democrat who voted in the local primary at the BPL. “It seems to me they are picking the best out of a bad crop, as opposed to being fired up.”

But maybe it all comes down to this: In Michigan on February 28, Romney accused Santorum of being “in league” with the Democrats, who got to vote in the primary. There was even speculation that Democrats were voting for Santorum, just so Barack Obama would have a much more conservative opponent in the November election.

Of course, Massachusetts is above all this scheming, right?