It Wasn't a "Split Decision." Romney Won.

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 7 2012 9:08 AM

It Wasn't a "Split Decision." Romney Won.

ATLANTA -- Has the rest of the media contracted a nasty case of #slatepitches? I purchase the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the way out of this fine city, and I see this front page:

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First of all: Poor Newt Gingrich, unable to make it above the fold the night his state's Republican voters given him their presidential primary. Second: Super Tuesday was technically a split decision, insofar as one candidate did not win everything. But Mitt Romney won most things. He picked up 6 of the 10 state primaries and caucuses. That's only a little bit impressive until you burrow down.

- In Virginia, buoyed by the failure of Gingrich and Santorum to make the ballot, Romney won 43 of 46 pledged delegates. (Three more delegates are unpledged but usually just go in a bloc to the nominee.)

- In Massachusetts, Romney's landslide earned him at least 36 of 38 pledged delegates; the other two are pending some math in the western part of the state to see if Santorum crossed the 15 percent threshold.

- In Idaho, which was totally winner-take-all by state and district, Romney won all 32 available delegates.

That's 111 delegates, around one-third of Romney's overall total. It's more than Santorum won overall, because he failed to crack 40 percent in any state. In Tennessee, his biggest upset, he's won 25 of 55 delegates; that will increase, but not by too much. In Oklahoma, where Santorum once looked like he could win a majority, he won only 14 of 43 delegates. In North Dakota, he won 11 of 18 delegates. Put another way: In his big three wins, Santorum won only a few more delegates than Romney won in Virginia. The question for the rest of March is whether Romney can keep this up, scoring delegates in the states he loses, and finish up with wins in Puerto Rico and Illinois that put him more than 200 or 250 delegates ahead. (Louisiana's another story.)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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