Instead of using the easily manipulated popular vote to determine the strength of a candidate in North Carolina, the media would offer a better indication of the strength of candidates by downplaying the less relevant popular vote and focusing on the North Carolina Republican convention.
On Tuesday, North Carolina held a Republican Party primary, and media sweetheart Mitt Romney won the popular vote handily with 66% of the vote. This might be significant if either the GOP nomination or the presidency were decided by popular vote totals. They aren't. They are instead decided by delegates and in the case of the GOP nomination especially, delegates are hard to predict. When a brokered convention takes place, as may happen this year, those delegates become even harder to predict.
From June 1-3, North Carolina will have a Republican convention, which, if many other state conventions predict a trend, will be dominated by Ron Paul supporters and anti-Romney factions who threaten to figure out some method for unbinding the popular vote totals, seemingly in contradiction with state law. North Carolina Republicans will meet at that convention to decide who the delegates will be.
In the setting of a brokered convention, it's not who the delegates are bound to that matters, it's who or what the delegates have allegiance to that matters. Repeatedly, Ron Paul delegates have openly refused to play by the honor system of being bound to the dishonorable Romney. In state after state, while the media reports Romney victories in the popular vote, Paul quietly amasses delegates to the RNC, in an event that may be a memorable primetime moment of truth in the nomination process.
Realizing that the media delegate totals are far from accurate, the Romney campaign has been franticly attempting to change its own party rules to limit the influence of Republican voters. When that has failed, the Romney camp settles for manipulation.
In an attempt to protect a fragile Romney from the indomitable Paul supporters, Republican National Convention chief counsel John R. Phillippe, Jr., made the audaciously silly claim that an entire state – Nevada – would not be welcome to the national convention this year if it showed support for Ron Paul. Phillippe's threatening letter was dealt with appropriately by Nevada Republicans – they laughed at it. After all, it was nothing more than an empty threat from a D.C. attorney and Romney supporter in an attempt to save face for Romney's lagging campaign.
Only by ignoring the details of the nomination process could anyone say there is currently a clear front runner. Only by ignoring the meager posturing of Romney's campaign and allies could Romney be construed as that front runner, and only by ignoring North Carolina's electoral procedure could anyone say that today's easy-to-comprehend vote totals are more important than the very complicated and difficult to report North Carolina Republican Convention and the 52 national delegates scheduled to be chosen there the weekend of June 1.
Who won North Carolina? Ask me again on Sunday, June 3 and I can give you a more accurate answer. Ask me again on August 30 after the RNC has decided on a Republican nominee and I'll be able to give you a complete answer. Until then, it's all conjecture from pundits and journalists who evidently have some stake in making you believe in a story that doesn't exist.