Mitt Romney's narrow win in Michigan suggests soft support

Mitt Romney's narrow win in Michigan suggests soft support

March 1st, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Mitt Romney's victory in the Arizona primary Tuesday was expected, in part because of the considerable population of Arizona voters who share Romney's Mormon faith.

But his narrow win in Michigan, where he beat former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by only 3 percentage points, highlights the lack of intensity in Romney's support.

Romney, who was born and raised in Michigan and whose father was governor there, got 41 percent of the vote, compared with Santorum's 38 percent, Texas Congressman Ron Paul's 12 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's 7 percent.

Still, a win is a win, and the former Massachusetts governor surely hopes the Arizona and Michigan victories salvage momentum he lost when Santorum roared past him for wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

All four candidates are now looking with eagerness -- or dread -- toward Super Tuesday, just five days from today. Tennessee, Georgia and eight other states will hold primaries or caucuses that day, with hundreds of delegates up for grabs.

If Romney wins a vast majority of those states, it could make it hard for Santorum to stage a comeback. But a knockout punch is unlikely. Complicating things is the fact that Gingrich leads in polls in the most delegate-rich Super Tuesday state: Georgia. Among the other major states in play, conservative Santorum is well ahead in Tennessee, Ohio and Oklahoma. Moderate Romney is almost certain to win Massachusetts and Virginia.

So if you're hoping one candidate will leave Super Tuesday with a virtual lock on the GOP nomination, don't bet on it. The way things are going, none of them may have even clear momentum come Wednesday morning.