Mormons make up one-quarter of Nevada caucus voters. Take them out of picture and Romney still wins the state decisively.— Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) February 5, 2012
A tweet from Eric Fehrnstrom, top adviser to the Romney campaign argues that Mitt would win Nevada “decisively” even if no Mormons voted in the caucuses. Would he really?
With 71% reporting, Mitt’s margin of victory is actually just a little under Fehrnstrom’s 25% figure.
Of 24,813 total votes reported so far, 11,822 are for Romney. Subtract 25% of the total (6,203 votes) from Romney’s vote count, and he’s left with 5,619 votes — four votes behind Newt Gingrich. So does that mean Fehrnstrom is wrong?
Not quite. The above assumes that Romney got all the votes cast by Mormons. CNN’s entrance polling indicates that an overstatement of Romney’s Mormon support. Romney does very well among Mormons (88% support him), but he hasn’t yet achieved unanimity.
Adjusting the numbers to exclude Mormon votes in proportion with the entrance polling actually cuts Romney’s 25% landslide down to a 5% win with a weak plurality:
Caucus Results without the Mormon vote:
Romney: 6,363 (34%)
Gingrich: 5,499 (29%)
Paul: 4,309 (23%)
Santorum: 2,501 (13%)
It’s still a healthy win, but is it decisive?