Romney gets the job done in Michigan and Arizona

Thomas Lifson
It cost him millions of dollars and intense focus of his well oiled machine, but Mitt Romney won a plurality of the Michigan primary vote tally, a test much-hyped by the media as a critical test of campaign momentum. The fact that statewide majority or plurality means nothing in Michigan, which allocates delegates by congressional district, was irrelevant to the media narrative.  Romney's victory speech almost acknowledged the artificiality:

"We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough. And that's all that counts."

In Michigan, Romney won 41% of the vote, to Santorum's 38%, Ron Paul's 12, and Newt's 7. In Arizona, where one out of seven GOP primary voters was Mormon, Mitt won 47% to Santorum's 27, Newt's 16, and Ron Paul's 8.

The race got a little bit ugly, with Romney charging that the Santorum campaign's robo calls to Democrats were out of bounds, though Romney himself has admitted crossover voting in Democrat primaries in Massachusetts.  No doubt Santorum picked up a few votes from Democrats in Michigan, but there may also have been GOP voters who were incensed that mischief-making Democrats like Michael Moore were similarly urging a vote for Santorum, perceived to be easily beatable in a general election.

Sound and fury, but as dirty politics goes, this is chicken feed.

Santorum did badly with women voters. Patricia Murphy in the Daily Beast:

The former Pennsylvania senator lost the Michigan primary to Mitt Romney by 3 points due in large part to his weakness among Michigan women. Although Santorum lost among Michigan men by just 1 point, he lost the women's vote by a full 6-point margin, leaving him well behind Romney and unable to close the gap with male voters in any way. (snip)

Santorum lost every category of women polled Tuesday night, including working women, single women, and married women. He lost working women by 4 points, single women by 7 points, and married women by 3 points.

In Michigan, Santorum also lost Catholics to Romney, by a 37 to 43 percent margin, according to exit polling.

In his speech last night, Santorum put a brave face on a near miss in the Michigan statewide vote, but  he clearly missed his chance to grab the big mo. Jonathan Tobin in Commentary:

Romney's Michigan win combined with a big victory in Arizona denied his rival the chance to alter the dynamics of the race. A Santorum win in Michigan would have permanently demolished the idea that Romney was the inevitable nominee. Slim though Romney's margin was, two more states in his column makes it highly unlikely that anyone else can take the nomination fromhim.

The Romney win was in no small measure due to Santorum's gaffes on John F. Kennedy and college attendance as well as the unfortunate focus on contraception that highlighted the Pennsylvania's unpopular views on the subject.  These unforced errors demonstrated Santorum's poor political judgment and his predilection for outlandish ideology-driven statements. The Super Tuesday primaries and in particular Ohio represents one more big chance for Santorum. But he'll never have a better chance to derail Romney than the one he has just blown in Michigan.

The race is far from over, but Romney has shown, again, an ability to get it done. His gaffes -- really just a matter of him talking like the rich man he is -- did not harm him too much. Quite clearly, as when he mentioned he knows owners of NASCAR teams but doesn't follow the sport, the man is incapable of self-censoring himself. In a strange way, it is a badge of genuineness. Mitt's rich, and got that way by being a diligent and intelligent businessman. He has nothing to be ashamed of about being rich. His blue jeans strategy, and his attempts to appear like an ordinary joe ring false anyhow.  Donald Trump has a large blue collar following because he doesn't apologize for being rich, but rather celebrates the opportunity of America. Mitt could pick up a clue or two from the Donald.

It cost him millions of dollars and intense focus of his well oiled machine, but Mitt Romney won a plurality of the Michigan primary vote tally, a test much-hyped by the media as a critical test of campaign momentum. The fact that statewide majority or plurality means nothing in Michigan, which allocates delegates by congressional district, was irrelevant to the media narrative.  Romney's victory speech almost acknowledged the artificiality:

"We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough. And that's all that counts."

In Michigan, Romney won 41% of the vote, to Santorum's 38%, Ron Paul's 12, and Newt's 7. In Arizona, where one out of seven GOP primary voters was Mormon, Mitt won 47% to Santorum's 27, Newt's 16, and Ron Paul's 8.

The race got a little bit ugly, with Romney charging that the Santorum campaign's robo calls to Democrats were out of bounds, though Romney himself has admitted crossover voting in Democrat primaries in Massachusetts.  No doubt Santorum picked up a few votes from Democrats in Michigan, but there may also have been GOP voters who were incensed that mischief-making Democrats like Michael Moore were similarly urging a vote for Santorum, perceived to be easily beatable in a general election.

Sound and fury, but as dirty politics goes, this is chicken feed.

Santorum did badly with women voters. Patricia Murphy in the Daily Beast:

The former Pennsylvania senator lost the Michigan primary to Mitt Romney by 3 points due in large part to his weakness among Michigan women. Although Santorum lost among Michigan men by just 1 point, he lost the women's vote by a full 6-point margin, leaving him well behind Romney and unable to close the gap with male voters in any way. (snip)

Santorum lost every category of women polled Tuesday night, including working women, single women, and married women. He lost working women by 4 points, single women by 7 points, and married women by 3 points.

In Michigan, Santorum also lost Catholics to Romney, by a 37 to 43 percent margin, according to exit polling.

In his speech last night, Santorum put a brave face on a near miss in the Michigan statewide vote, but  he clearly missed his chance to grab the big mo. Jonathan Tobin in Commentary:

Romney's Michigan win combined with a big victory in Arizona denied his rival the chance to alter the dynamics of the race. A Santorum win in Michigan would have permanently demolished the idea that Romney was the inevitable nominee. Slim though Romney's margin was, two more states in his column makes it highly unlikely that anyone else can take the nomination fromhim.

The Romney win was in no small measure due to Santorum's gaffes on John F. Kennedy and college attendance as well as the unfortunate focus on contraception that highlighted the Pennsylvania's unpopular views on the subject.  These unforced errors demonstrated Santorum's poor political judgment and his predilection for outlandish ideology-driven statements. The Super Tuesday primaries and in particular Ohio represents one more big chance for Santorum. But he'll never have a better chance to derail Romney than the one he has just blown in Michigan.

The race is far from over, but Romney has shown, again, an ability to get it done. His gaffes -- really just a matter of him talking like the rich man he is -- did not harm him too much. Quite clearly, as when he mentioned he knows owners of NASCAR teams but doesn't follow the sport, the man is incapable of self-censoring himself. In a strange way, it is a badge of genuineness. Mitt's rich, and got that way by being a diligent and intelligent businessman. He has nothing to be ashamed of about being rich. His blue jeans strategy, and his attempts to appear like an ordinary joe ring false anyhow.  Donald Trump has a large blue collar following because he doesn't apologize for being rich, but rather celebrates the opportunity of America. Mitt could pick up a clue or two from the Donald.