Mitt Romney has already qualified for the GOP primary ballot through signature gatherers. Will Republican delegates force him into a primary election at Saturday's convention?

Our "Political Insiders" think he will be able to get 60% of the delegate vote at the convention to avoid a primary, but our readers think he will end up in a June primary election.

While Mitt Romney is the overwhelming front-runner to be the next U.S. Senator from Utah, there are 11 other Republicans challenging him for the GOP nomination. Romney gathered enough signatures to secure a spot on the June primary ballot, so he can't be eliminated at Saturday's GOP convention. But, if he gets 60% of the delegate vote that day, he will win the Republican nomination outright and will avoid a primary. But, if one or two candidates can get at least 40% of the vote, they would advance to a primary election against Romney.

Our "Political Insiders" think he will be able to hit that 60% threshold on Saturday, putting him directly on the November general election ballot. However, our readers say he'll have to get past one or more other Republicans in June to advance to the November election.

  • 51% of the Republicans who responded to our survey say Romney will not have to compete in a primary.

  • 56% of the Democrats on our panel said Romney would win the nomination outright at the convention.

  • 64% of our readers say Romney will not be able to convince 60% of GOP delegates to vote for him on Saturday and will have to be in a primary election.

 

Selected anonymous comments: 

Never underestimate the delegates when it comes to making the wrong choice or further demonstrating how out of touch they have become. Herbert turned a ten-point convention loss into a 44-point primary win; Romney will likely do even better.

Romney's challenger will likely be a libertarian psychopath.

The caucus crowd will be sure to push another far-right candidate to appeal to "true conservatives" (whatever that is anymore).

If Romney's challengers really wanted to force him into a primary, they'd all throw their support behind one person. Splitting the anti-Romney vote a dozen ways ensures the coronation they are all decrying.

Republican delegates are crazy, but I think 60% isn't too much for choosing the obvious choice. 

The threshold for avoiding a primary from a contender at the convention is remarkably high, and convention attendees aren't as supportive of Romney as the voting public.

Much to the consternation of a vocal, crazy minority of delegates, Mitt is popular enough that he will earn the nomination at the convention. Then watch those crazy delegates seek a higher threshold for earning the nomination in the future. The only thing predictable about the right wing of the GOP is that they will seek whatever they feel will give them the most control within the party.

A primary challenger is the least of his worries. Mitt needs to hope the Central Committee doesn't find a way to ban him from being a Republican for committing the unpardonable (thought legal) sin of gathering signatures. Oh, my!!!

Too many far-right wingnuts will force a primary, which Romney will win.

John Curtis came in last at the special election with the delegates. I don't think Romney will be the delegate choice at the convention.

I think that there are enough of the Bateman Caucus who automatically fear anyone smarter than themselves to keep enough votes from Romney to allow a primary challenger. As we have seen several times in Utah politics recently, the normals of the state will reject whatever crazy Abe Lincoln impersonator that the crazy delegates put forward. Thank goodness!

He needs to be primaried. However, Mike Kennedy and Larry Meyers will split the vote and Romney will win at the convention.

It is not difficult for a competitive candidate to get 40% of the vote which is what is needed to qualify for the primary at convention.

I don't think it will be for the reason everyone thinks, extreme delegates. I think it will be because Romney is running a bad campaign. He has been stiff at events, and he refers to Massachusetts a lot. Romney is also spending a lot of time trying to explain his record as Governor, and at times he seems to be lecturing Utah.

The Utah GOP Convention may end up being an "Over-the-Top Battle Royal" for a lot of reasons, but in the case of the open Senate seat, it might be a slugfest. With the number of candidates, balloting will take a while. I hope that some withdraw to alleviate the logjam in the balloting. Jonathan Johnson (the GOP right's failed attempt to unseat a good Governor) is backing one candidate to placate his far-right cronies, and that may constitute the head of the blockage. After it is all said and done, Mitt will be on top.

Because the far right in the GOP do not like Mitt Romney since he gathered signatures. Anyone that gathers signatures is considered NOT PURE!!! But look at their record of candidates and how well they do in a general election with the voters in the state. Mitt will win, but he will have to fight for it.

It wouldn't surprise me if the whack-job delegates send out two of their own candidates and there is a three-way race.

I think there are enough delegates who will vote against Romney at convention to force a primary

Romney will sweep to 72% at convention and squash the Dem in the general.

Romney will simply walk into Hatch's Senate seat.

Romney may get 60% in round one even with the number of candidates running against him. He is that popular in Utah.

The nuts in charge of the asylum are loud, but aren't many.

Mike Kennedy will force Mitt into a primary election.

He (Romney) doesn't deserve the seat more than anyone else. He needs to work to persuade voters and delegates that he's the best candidate for the job.

Many delegates are looking for an alternative to Romney. I don't believe as many would be looking if he didn't already have that signature-route option.

Carpetbagger Romney is on his way to an effectual coronation with or without the delegates.

Mitt should be in a primary. Rep. Mike Kennedy actually has legislative experience and has a very good conservative voting record.

If he is forced into a primary, the Republicans are crazier than I’ve ever thought. And if Democrats could get their act together, it would be a great opportunity for them to make significant progress as a normal/centrist party.

I think a lot of anti-Romney crazies got themselves elected state delegates.