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.

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  1. Objectively speaking, a candidate’s winning a majority of the states is a good night.  But when you’re talking about the so-called knight in shining armor, who’s supposed to be the banner frontrunner of the Republican Party, it was decidedly underwhelming.  Even though Romney outspent Santorum in OH by something like 12:1, running slanderous ads, he could barely even hold him off.  In terms of expectations, Santorum was the real winner, I think.  In fact, Clinton and McCain each beat their rivals by at least a dozen points in OH in 2008.  So, if anything, all Romney did was leave the door open again, and he got beaten convincingly in 4 states.  His victories in several other states were smaller than expected as well.  It’s like a team that’s leading the World Series 3-1, and then they let the other team get back in it.  The longer this race goes on, the less likely it becomes that Romney is the inevitable nominee IMO.    

    After Tuesday, at least most rational folks can see that Newt Gingrich has almost no chance at the nomination, not to mention Ron Paul.  I believe  Santorum would have easily won OH if Gingrich were gone.  He might also have won VA if he’d been on the ballot.  Hopefully Newt will have to get out soon–if he can’t do well in AL and MS, he’s basically done.  The next week may well add to Santorum’s momentum, as he’ll be facing kinder territory.  I don’t know what will happen, but it’s obvious that Romney isn’t going to waltz away with the nomination by a long shot, and may not even cross the finish line.  God will pick whomever He wants, and if that isn’t Mitt Romney, then hasta la vista, you big baby!!!  LOL.

  2. I agree.  The rest of this month could be a shut-out for Romney.  He doesn’t have a strong advantage until the race turns back to the Northeast on Apr. 3.  I’d like to see some polling for Illinois, though.  Chicago may favor Romney, but the rest of the state is truly Midwestern – and should favor Santorum.  By April, momentum should be on the side of Santorum.

  3. Good stuff, Shane. I am befuddled that the Gringrich crowd still tries to argue any reason for him to stay in. He has no momentum, and showed poorly everywhere last night, even garnering less than 50% in his home state.

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