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Mitt Romney's Uninspiring 'Win' in Michigan

Mitt Romney looked more relieved than victorious on the stage in Michigan Tuesday night.

Yes, Romney won but this was a home game for him and he barely survived. To use a basketball analogy, it’s like the Lakers beating the Washington Wizards on their home court in Los Angeles by a three pointer at the buzzer. Sure it’s a victory but not very impressive at all (Let me apologize for comparing Santorum to the Wizards. No one should have that misfortune).

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It should be noted that Romney only won a couple more delegates than Santorum so it was nearly an even split as it relates to the all-important delegate race.

So now the question for the Romney campaign is can they win the important Rust Belt state of Ohio on Super Tuesday? Have you checked the polls? It doesn’t look great for him there (Maybe he can sell his Cadillac cars before the polls open next week?).

As a matter of fact, out of the ten states that will be voting, Santorum has a decent shot at winning Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Dakota, and Idaho (potentially Georgia, too, if Gingrich stumbles). Romney should win Virginia, Vermont, and Massachusetts. (As for Alaska, not much polling has been done up there. Is it too cold?)

The point here is that in one week’s time we could have a much different narrative. If the narrative Tuesday night is how Romney survived Michigan, the storyline after March 6 could be how Santorum thrived on Super Tuesday. This race has had more twists and turns than an episode of Days of Our Lives.

Santorum’s campaign will see Michigan as a moral victory just based on the fact that they forced Romney to compete hard and spend millions of dollars in a state where he grew up and where his father was governor.

But there is a big problem for Santorum. How exactly does he get over the hurdle of convincing voters that he’s the guy that can beat Obama? Look at the exit poll numbers from Michigan. The most important factor for voters was who can beat the president. Romney won 61 percent of those people (Santorum just 24 percent). That’s a problem any way you slice it. Santorum did win among people who are looking for a true conservative with strong moral character but those attributes were further down the list for voters.

Another challenge for Santorum is whether or not he can break the stereotype of the social conservative candidate? He’s going to have to figure out a way to weave his faith message into his campaign narrative without getting sidetracked on social issues. If reporters start asking him about them, he’s going to have to find his pivot foot and use it.

Waxing poetic and engaging on every social issue may be admirable and authentic but it’s politically stupid. It’s one thing to give a 20 second answer on a social issue but it’s quite another to go on a two-minute rift on a cause you feel so passionately about it. Can he let it go without abandoning his overriding principle of faith, family, and societal change? It’s an open question and an important one.

Let’s also make one other point perfectly clear. Organization, money and being seen as the frontrunner definitely matter. All three of those characteristics helped Romney out tremendously in Michigan. Why? First of all, Romney had a great ground game so as to capitalize on early voting in the state. Many folks voted for Romney BEFORE Santorum really started making a serious move this month.

Plus, the exit polls show that 32 percent of people actually made up their mind in 2011! Of those, 50 percent went to Romney and just 17 percent to Santorum. It shows that Romney defining himself as the frontrunner early helped him. Romney closed the deal with many voters even before coming to Michigan.

So is Romney the frontrunner? Of course. Is he the presumed nominee? It looks that way. But we also know that he hasn’t cemented anything yet and you get the distinct impression that this wildly unpredictable Republican race for president has a couple more crazy turns left.

Other Exit Poll Stats:

White evangelical vote:
- Made up 39% of the electorate in Michigan.
- 50% went for Santorum: 35% for Romney

Tea Party Vote:
- Santorum wins 46% to 36% over Romney among strong supporters of the movement.
- However it was a 41% tie with overall supporters of the movement.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 11:59 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Mitt Romney's Uninspiring "Win" in Michigan

Santorum 2012!!!!

(Sponsored by the 2012 committee to reelect Barack Obama.)
But it'll never Rmoney locked it up today. In the end Republicans will hold their noses and go into the booth and vote for Rmoney. Even Rush and Sarah.
Left by shabach on Feb 29, 2012 2:34 AM

# RE: Mitt Romney's Uninspiring "Win" in Michigan

This has got to be the worst GOP candidates in the history of this country. I am sure President Reagan would have been embarrassed. I know I am,and I'm with the other party!
Left by shabach on Feb 29, 2012 9:29 AM

# RE: Mitt Romney's Uninspiring 'Win' in Michigan

In retrospect, while maybe not inspiring, it was remarkable. He got over 70,000 more votes than in 2008. He not only beat Santorum, but the Obama machine. Obama called on the unions to fight for him yesterday, Michael Moore also tried to rally crossover voters and the UAW and teacher unions gave a significant vote to Santorum. Almost surprisingly Catholics gave a larger vote to Romney than the two Catholics in the race. Then you have to remember that Romney fought for Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts to not have to let gay couples adopt against their belief. Politicians like Gingrich and Santorum did not give the issue the time of day then. o wonder that the last five US Ambassadors to the Vatican (it is a country) all endorsed the one who fought for their religious liberty before.
Lastly Santorum did himself no favor by attacking Kennedy's religion speech. I don't want the Pope or any religion running the country. Uninspiring, but truly remarkable.
Left by MissouriConservative on Feb 29, 2012 8:19 PM

# RE: Mitt Romney's Uninspiring 'Win' in Michigan

Romney's win over Santorum on Tuesday night would have been more than double had the democrats, as instructed by Mr. Santorum, not tried to sway the race.Read about how much the dems contributed to Santorum's win and decide for yourself.

Michigan Dems Power Santorum on Dick Morris .com.

" the primary was invaded by Democrats who largely voted for Santorum. Had the Democrats not done so, Romney would not have won a narrow 3 point victory in Michigan but would be celebrating a 7 point comfortable victory." " 9 percent of the 1.1 million votes cast in the primary were by Democrats who voted for Santorum over Romney by 53-18. 17 percent of these would-be spoilers voted for Paul and 3 percent backed Gingrich. The remainder voted for Obama or an uncommitted slate in the Democratic primary where they belonged.
Left by tc297 on Feb 29, 2012 11:57 PM

# RE: Mitt Romney's Uninspiring 'Win' in Michigan

Can we really end the wars and have peace in the Middle East. Tried many times, we have failed and we keep on sending more warnings and threat to Syria and Iran. They are not interested in our way of talking. The new international mediator for Syria has demanded an end to the killing amid reported warnings of an escalation in violence and the closure of the country's UK embassy. This is one point that we see on Thursday, 01 March 2012, 2 Calling names is another we never can things done our way. A senior US judge has apologized after sending an email containing a racist joke about President Barack Obama that equated African Americans with dogs, a newspaper reported. If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, -- quieter, warmer. -Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations, Nobel laureate (1905-1961) I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA
Left by Mullar on Mar 01, 2012 8:26 AM