Super Tuesday Wasn't Very Super
By any objective measure, Mitt Romney "won" Super Tuesday. Ten states held primaries or caucuses, and Romney won six of them, including the big prize: Ohio. We don't yet know exactly how many delegates he won, but he now has somewhere over 400, with rivals Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum at about 100 each (1,144 are needed to win an outright majority at the convention). Without further ado, here are your results:
Virginia: Romney 59%, Paul 40%. Romney takes 43 delegates, Paul 3
Gingrich and Santorum failed to get on the ballot, so Romney won by default. Ron Paul was lucky to be the only possible anti-Romney protest vote- this was his best primary showing ever. The Santorum and Gingrich campaigns looked like amateurs- not for the first time, and probably not the last.
Tennessee: Santorum 34%, Romney 27%, Gingrich 27%, Paul 9%. Delegate count is not yet available, but Santorum will take a majority of the 55.
The pollsters dropped the ball on this one. Every survey from Tennessee showed a small Santorum lead, with Romney gaining on him in recent days. Southerners and evangelicals continue to be a problem for Romney.
Alaska: Romney 32%, Santorum 29%, Paul 24%, Gingrich 14%, Romney takes 8 delegates, Santorum 7, Paul 6 and Gingrich 3
It seems downright cruel that Alaska held its caucuses this time of year, and it's not surprising that only about 12,000 people in the whole state showed up. The national media didn't show up either- no national outlet sent a reporter, or even bothered to run a poll. Sarah Palin was telling anyone who would listen that she voted for Newt Gingrich, and is very happy that you paid attention to her while reading this sentence.
Georgia: Gingrich 48%, Romney 23%, Santorum 21%, Paul 6%. Gingrich will take the vast majority of 76 delegates
Gingrich has done well in the South, and Georgia is his home state. A loss in here, or even a less-than-convincing victory, would've been embarrassing, and Newt vowed to drop out if he made a weak showing. In this case, at least, he's proved a man of his word. The only suspense here was whether Gingrich could hold Romney or Santorum to under 20% of the vote, which would have made them ineligible for any delegates.
Idaho: Romney 61%, Santorum 18%, Paul 18%, Gingrich 2%. Romney takes all 32 delegates.
The campaigns and the media have been treating this one like a default Romney state since the race started, probably due to Idaho's huge Mormon population. Ron Paul supporters might be upset their man didn't do better in a state with such a strong libertarian streak.
Massachusetts: Romney 72%, Santorum 12%, Paul 9%, Gingrich 4%. Romney takes all 41 delegates
Another state went for Romney by default. His time as governor isn't remembered fondly by all Massachusetts Republicans, but the alternatives were all ultra-conservatives from the South and Midwest who hold no appeal for moderate New England Yankees.
North Dakota: Santorum 39%, Paul 28%, Romney 23%, Gingrich 8%. Santorum takes 11 delegates, Paul 8, Romney 7, Gingrich 2
There wasn't much polling going into this race, and only around 10,000 people came out, so no one knew what to expect. Still, it's a convincing victory for Santorum, and it's a black eye for the Romney campaign to fall to third place behind Ron Paul.
Vermont: Romney 39%, Paul 25%, Santorum 23%, Gingrich 8%. Romney takes 9 delegates, Paul and Santorum 4 each.
Apparently, there are Republicans in Vermont. Once again, Romney's support proves strongest in the Northeast. It's perhaps surprising he only won 39% on such friendly ground- I suspect Ron Paul's surprisingly strong finish has something to do with that.
Oklahoma: Santorum 34%, Romney 27%, Gingrich 27%, Paul 10%. Santorum will take a slight majority of 43 delegates, Romney and Gingrich will split the rest
By some measures, this is the most conservative state in the union, so it's no surprise they went for the most conservative candidate in recent memory. The real weirdness happened at the Democratic primary, where radical anti-abortion activist Randall Terry won one delegate, who will doubtlessly be a very lonely man at the Democratic Convention.
Ohio: Romney 38%, Santorum 37%, Gingrich 14%, Paul 9%. Romney will take around 35 delegates, Santorum will take around 20
Ohio hogs all the election night drama. The state has 66 delegates and will be one of the most important swing states in the general election. Santorum and Romney were neck-and-neck for weeks. A loss here would have raised some very uncomfortable questions about Romney's viability in November. This was another example of amateur hour at the Santorum campaign- his paperwork wasn't complete, and as a result, Santorum may not get all the delegates he's entitled to.
...and that's all ten states. Whew.
To sum up: Romney won a clear majority of the delegates up for grabs, but, as the pundits are saying, he didn't deliver any knockout blows. Romney has a unique talent for winning so ugly that he comes off his "victories" somehow looking more battered and weak. His wins last night came by default, or in tight races against weak opponents. Romney outspends his rivals by margins as big as 5-1, wins the endorsements of newspapers, party officials, and elected leaders, and still has trouble beating Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. The longer this process goes on, the worse Romney looks, and it doesn't look like it's ending any time soon.