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Republicans have already decided to hand their 2012 presidential nomination to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney … much to the chagrin of this website.

But did are they counting their chickens … or delegates … before they hatch?

According to most media reports Romney has secured 658 delegates – giving him a substantial lead over Rick Santorum (281), Newt Gingrich (135) and Ron Paul (51).

No so, says Santorum’s campaign … according to a strategy memo circulated last week by a Santorum strategist, Romney can only count on 571 delegates at this point compared to 342 for Santorum. ABC News has looked into the calculations coming from the Santorum camp – and generally agreed with the assumptions.

Does this mean Santorum (an equally unacceptable “Republican” alternative to Barack Obama) has a chance to catch Romney?

No … nor it does it mean that the GOP is headed toward a dreaded brokered convention (i.e. when no candidate is able to muster the required 1,144 delegates on the first vote).

It is worth noting, however, that more than halfway through the “Republican” primary calendar the proclaimed GOP nominee has only managed to secure 50.9 percent of the available delegates – and that’s according to his own best case scenario. Even more problematic for Romney? He’s won just 40.7 percent of the GOP popular vote so far.

Again … that sort of tepid support doesn’t strike us as very “electable.”

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