Mitt Romney had a good night, but it wasn’t a deal closing night. He won five states: his home state of Massachusetts, Idaho, Vermont and Virginia. He then eked out a win in Ohio beating Rick Santorum by one percentage point. 38% to 37%. Santorum won three states: North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Newt Gingrich won his home state of Georgia. Alaska is still pending, but as of this writing with 174 out of 183 caucuses reporting in it looks like it will go to Romney, but there are only 463 votes separating him from Santorum so its really too close to call until all the votes are in.
You can see the updated heat maps and results here.
Some quick thoughts:
1. Romney won the states he was expected to. In Ohio he dumped a ton of money into that race and still only won by one percent. This doesn’t bode well for him in the general election should he be the nominee. He simply doesn’t appeal to the base. He loses the base in every exit poll done. What will he do when he doesn’t hold an advantage in organization and money? He won’t be able to outspend President Obama, and campaign organization is the one thing he does do well. It’s also interesting that in Massachusetts 51% of voters in Fox News’ exit poll said that RomneyCare went too far. Interesting.
2. In Ohio exit polling shows Santorum winning every age category except 65 and older. He won among men, those without a college degree, those who made under $100K, independents, conservatives, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, Tea Party supporters, evangelicals, those looking for a true conservative and those who looked for a candidate with strong moral character. So basically he won the base. If you look at the Ohio heat map you’ll also see a familiar pattern. Romney wins the urban areas, Santorum wins the rural vote.
3. Santorum is poised to sweep the Midwest. Next contest is Kansas and he is the favorite there. With the victory in Tennessee Santorum demonstrates an ability to compete in the South as well.
4. If Newt Gingrich didn’t win Georgia that would have been, well, pathetic. It certainly isn’t a mandate that he continues. In the rest of the contests he’s been a distant third or fourth. I still believe he should drop out.
5. Ron Paul still has yet to win one state. He’s come in second in four. He didn’t win North Dakota and he’s not going to win Alaska, actually it looks like he’ll finish third in Alaska behind Santorum. I know his supporters believe he’s going to have all of these delegates that could make a difference come convention. I still have my doubts. They may have garnered a few in the Caucus process, like what we saw in Iowa, but I just don’t see him having enough to play king maker.
6. I am beginning to become convinced the nomination will likely be decided at convention.
- Candidates split Super Tuesday states – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Romney, Gingrich and Santorum score early Super Tuesday victories (nypost.com)
- Romney falls short of Super Tuesday knockout (jpost.com)
- Romney to win Ohio, CBS News projects (cbsnews.com)