Is the Mitt Romney campaign breathing a sigh of relief after winning their first major primary? Or do they not have time to bask in the victory before pivoting to the Battle Royale that will be South Carolina?
One thing’s for sure: The Republican primary race is now wide open with no clear frontrunner. Lewis Black might call it a cluster****.
Romney needed to run up the margins in Michigan, and sure enough he trumped John McCain 39-30%. Romney won the old industrial areas, the mature GOP suburbs northwest of Detroit and around Grand Rapids and the wealthy resort towns in the North. McCain won the Christian conservatives counties in the West and Upper Peninsula.
Maybe Romney’s success in Detroit’s sphere of influence stems from his father’s role as CEO of American Motor Company (the predecessor to Jeep) and later governor. As for McCain’s big wins in the West, despite the Arizona senator’s maverick label, he still does have a pretty strong rating on abortion and other issues important to social conservatives.
McCain ended up winning 42 counties but Romney won 41 of the more populous counties. Mike Huckabee, who was expected to perform well in the western part of the state, did not win a single county.’
UPDATE: It’s no surprise, but the Detroit News has exit polls showing that voters’ No. 1 concerns were the economy and jobs. Romney’s appeal on these issues may have led to his success in the Rust Belt part of the state.
Michigan Republican Electoral Map (Google Maps)
The New York Times is also up with their maps, including one for the Democratic contest between Hillary Clinton and Uncommitted. It turns out that two counties choose Uncommitted over Clinton. One was Emmet County up near Mackinack, and the second was Washtenaw County, home to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan.