- Romney remains the frontrunner, but barely. He won enough to not be mortally wounded, but lost enough to show just how many doubts remain. Wins: MA, VT, ID, VA (the latter without Newt and Santorum on the ballot). And he took Ohio by the slimmest of slim margins (let’s see if that holds up in the final talley…).
- Santorum won enough to keep going: ND, OK, TN
- Gingrich won in Georgia, and had strong showings in other Southern states, which was all he was looking for. Going forward, this means he could go on to do well in Alabama and Mississippi. So he can stay in the race and continue to be relevant, racking up delegates (and possibly winning points with the party honchos who appreciate that he continues to suck up Not Mitt support that might otherwise be going to Santorum).
- Paul was always in this to the finish, because his small base of support will continue to turn out and vote for him… but look at those numbers in Virginia, and his strong showings in ND and VT…
This is the big enchilada tonight, with the most delegates at stake and the most influence. The big auto industry presence is going to hurt Mitt “let the industry fail” Romney… The polls have showed this all tied up, so it should be a VERY long night.
9:30 PST: With 99.4% reporting, Romney keeps a slim lead of 12,000 votes (about 0.3% of the 1.2 million cast). That’s the unofficial result, of course… it’ll be interesting to see how much of that holds up (in Iowa a much slimmer Romney lead turned into a Santorum victory). Either way, with Romney having carpet-bombed the airwaves, outspending Santorum 7 to 1, this showing is hardly going to help Mitt clean up his “Inevitability” meme.
8:20 PST: And Romney lurches into the lead, with a strong showing in Cincinnati and its suburbs. Now with 89.1% reporting:
- Romney 37.6% …411,605
- Santorum 37.3% …407.798
8:10 PST: Now with 84.7% reporting, there’s less than 900 votes between the two:
- Santorum 37.5% …390, 815
- Romney 37.3% …388,975
7:45 PST: With 78.5% reporting, it’s tightened up considerably. This is going to be fun, but it’s mostly urban counties that are still out, and they’ve been going more for Romney. He could still squeak through:
- Santorum 37.5% …365,098
- Romney 37.3% …362.826
- Gingrich 14.7% …142,918
- Paul 9.3% …90.246
6:45 PST: with 33% reporting, Santorum is pulling into a pretty solid lead:
- Santorum 39%
- Romney 36%
- Gingrich 15%
- Paul 9%
6:00 PST: Right now it remains neck and neck: with 14 percent reporting, it’s Santorum 38, Mitt with 37.
Tennessee & Oklahoma
This is Santorum country, and should give him his first big win of the evening. Just winning TN and Oklahoma will be enough to dampen Mittmentum and keep him in the race…
6:00 PST: With 18% reporting, Rick is romping in TN. Even more interesting: Gingrich is almost as strong as Romney, validating the theory that Newt will continue to do well in the South.
- Santorum 41%
- Romney 28%
- Gingrich 21%
- Paul 8%
Massachusetts & Vermont
What’s interesting here isn’t just that Romney is winning with a massive 72% of the vote in his second home state. It’s that, just as in Michigan, he has ZERO chance of carrying the state in the November election. Latest polling: Rasmussen has Obama beating Romney 55-38; Western New England College has Obama stomping. Romney 60-36.
- Romney 40%
- Paul 25%
- Santorum 24%
- Gingrich 8%
In Vermont, Romney continues his New England sweep… but look at those numbers for Ron Paul!
- Romney 72%
- Santorum 12%
- Paul 10%
- Gingrich 5%
And speaking of how much Romney is disliked… Virginia inadvertently became an up/down referendum on Romney’s likability, after Santorum and Gingrich failed to even get on the ballot here.
Polling showed Romney leading massively over the only other candidate, Ron Paul… but that’s not how things turned out:
- Romney 59%
- Paul 41%
Wow! Even when the only Not Mitt is Ron Paul – who normally barely polls in double digits – the voters just would not come home to Mitt….
Newt stays alive….
- Gingrich 48%
- Romney 24%
- Santorum 20%
- Paul 6%
More “Not Mitt” madness… seriously, this is the guy that is the “inevitable nominee of the Republican Party”?
- Santorum 40%
- Paul 27%
- Romney 25%
- Gingrich 8%
Tiny, heavily-Mormon Idaho comes out in a big way for Romney. With 77% reporting:
- Romney 69%
- Paul 17%
- Santorum 12%
- Gingrich 3%
Still to come…
(Image Creative Commons by DonkeyHotey)