Half-time Vote Cost Score

Ron Paul is running the least cost-effective Republican presidential campaign, according to an analysis by Major Garrett published at the National Journal.  

The Paul official campaign staffers like to keep repeating the mantra that “it’s all about the delegates,” but how is Paul doing in that contest?  According to the latest Federal Election Campaign reports, votes cast and Republican national convention delegate projections (yes, grain of salt there), we know where we stand about half-way through the presidential campaign.

Money spent by the Republican presidential campaigns:  

Paul has spent $32,766,465.

Mitt Romney spent $66,793,395.

Newt Gingrich spent $19,716,106, and 

Rick Santorum spent $13,023,588.

Total popular votes won (and cost per vote):

Paul: 1,079,753 votes for a cost-per-vote total of $30.35.

Romney: 4,127,917 votes for a CPV of $16.18.

Gingrich: 2,212,001 votes for a CPV is $8.91.

Santorum: 2,850,546 votes for “an amazing” CPV of $4.56.

Of course, as the official Paul campaign staffers like to remind us, it’s not about the popular vote (that Paul is losing so badly) but the national convention delegate vote.  That’s certainly true, and delegate projections vary (though clear-cut in straight primary states, multi-stage caucus states are not), but how cost effective is the Paul campaign on that score?

Total national convention delegates won (and cost per delegate):

Paul: won 66 delegates for a cost-per-delegate total of $496,461.

Romney: 565 delegates for a CPD of $118,218.

Gingrich: 141 delegates for a CPD of $139,830.

Santorum: 256 delegates for a CPD of $50,873.

Factor in some of the Super PAC money, and you get a more complete picture of the cost per vote and cost per delegate:

Paul: Super PAC spending of $3.97 million + campaign spending = a CPV of $34.02 and a CPD of $556,576.

Romney: Super PAC spending of $39.98 million + campaign spending = a CPV of $25.87 and a CPD of $188,984.

Gingrich: Super PAC spending of $19.1 million + campaign spending = a CPV of $17.58 and a CPD of $275,831.

Santorum: Super PAC spending of $7.4 million + campaign spending = a CPV of $7.15 and a CPD of $79,620.

I suspect that this analysis undercounts the unaffiliated spending on the part of the Ron Paul PACs and certainly the grassroots’ independent spending relative to the other campaigns.  I’m not even sure how one could quantify the grassroots’ campaign energy and volunteering which has to be disproportionately higher for the Paul campaign than for his competitors.

Are Paul supporters getting their money’s worth?  Most other analyses don’t give Paul as many delegates.  Let’s be generous and say that he has even more.  At a half a million dollars spent per delegate rate, the Paul supporters would have to chip in $572 million to win enough national convention delegates to secure the nomination.

Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is a definition of insanity.  Perhaps saner minds will bring some changes.  

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